GODREJ APPLIANCES LIMITED (GAL) has begun producing India’s first refrigerator that uses hydrocarbons (HCs). The company carried out research for four years in coordination with the ministry of environment and forests and two companies based in Switzerland and Germany before launching their new product. The product was launched on January 22, 2000. “The refrigerators are chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) free. Stratospheric ozone depleting substances are not used. HFC-134a, the gas commonly used in refrigeration gas, is ozone depleting,” says Vijay Crishna, managing director of GAL. “We have started using A blend of isobutene, propane 600a and propane 290, all of them hydrocarbons, as a refrigerants for the frost-free ‘Pentacool’ range of refrigerators and have used cyclopentane as an alternative blowing agent for polyurethane (PU) foam insulation. GAL proposes to manufacture five lakh refrigerators and plans to invest around Rs 30 crores to start with. In accordance with the Montreal Protocol, India is required to phase out the production and consumption of man-made ozone depleting substances (ODS) including CFCs, some of which are commonly used as refrigerants. The developing countries are committed to phase out CFCs by 2010. The Indian “ODS rules (regulation & control) 2000” prohibit the use of CFCs as refrigerants after January 1, 2003. Some manufacturers of refrigerators use HFC-134a, a greenhouse gas, in the compressor. But this gas too will have to be phased out under the Kyoto Protocol. Electrolux, GAL’s competitor in the domestic market and a multinational company, uses hydrocarbons for refrigerators built in Europe but continues to use HFC-134a in India. Godrej is the first to take the laudable initiative.
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