On 9 March, the Thailand Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (RAC NAMA) project held a seminar on the safe handling of hydrocarbon refrigerants in Bangkok. The event was mainly attended by Thai RAC manufacturers, training institutions under the vocational education system and those geared towards already practicing technicians, and experts from GIZ.
Following a series of consultations and visits to training centres and factories, Dennis Huehren, the project’s expert in safety training, led an introductory session on the proper handling of hydrocarbons. This introductory session aimed to engage with the relevant stakeholders prior to the seminar and to receive their feedback on their training needs.
Hydrocarbons, like propane and butane, which are at present natural and the most viable environmentally friendly choice of refrigerants, require prudent safety measures throughout their manufacturing and maintenance as they are also flammable.
To familiarize the various stakeholders in the Thai cooling sector with the safety practices of natural refrigerants, the RAC NAMA project organized a preliminary workshop during which Dennis Huehren explained the fundamentals and directly engaged with the persons directly involved.
Training and certification is also a large component of the RAC NAMA project, as qualified personnel are needed to ensure the successful adoption of natural refrigerant-based, energy-efficient cooling technologies in Thailand. For this component, the project engages directly with manufacturers and technicians to assess their standard work practice, as well as plan to cooperate with Thailand’s Department of Skill Development and Office of Vocational Education Committee to advise on the international safety standards and the training necessary to achieve a satisfactory level for such certification.
As one of the Thai manufacturer attendees astutely observed, “Identifying the problem is just one of the engineering tasks. Solving problems is not only another engineering task, but we celebrate it as human progress. Solving the safety issue of hydrocarbons in air-conditioners will soon be the engineering solution, not an engineering problem.”