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The journey to sustainability: 30 years of initiatives to phase-out hydrofluorocarbons to fight climate change

30 years ago, AGRAMKOW started the development one of the world’s first hydrocarbon refrigerant charging station. It was one of our first steps towards our ambition to reduce environmental impact on the planet and the carbon footprint of our products.

The charging station was sold to Foron Haushaltsgeräte GmbH, a leading Eastern German household appliance manufacturer, and through cooperation with Greenpeace, they developed the world’s first CFC- and HFC- free refrigerator called “GreenFreeze”.


GreenFreeze, the world’s first CFC-free refrigerator

Before 1992 all refrigerator manufacturers used chemical refrigerants that had bad impact on the environment and depleted the Ozone layer. Greenpeace was determined to find an alternative solution, so they pulled together a team of engineers in Germany that developed a refrigerator prototype that was efficient and used an environmentally friendly refrigerant.

Greenpeace teamed up with AGRAMKOW and Foron to start designing and producing refrigerators, called GreenFreeze. AGRAMKOW’s role was to deliver a charging station for hydrocarbon refrigerants that was used to safely charge the refrigerators with the revolutionary, eco-friendly refrigerants.

In 1993, the GreenFreeze refrigerator was ready to launch and within four weeks, about 70,000 pre-orders were received, this was also due to a massive advertising campaign that Greenpeace ran to secure the capital investment needed for the new GreenFreeze production.

The response to this environmental-friendly refrigerator was overwhelming and within a year, almost all European refrigerator manufacturers started using hydrocarbons in their own production and today, millions of CFC-free refrigerators have been produced worldwide, or about 75% of the global production.


The benefits of using environmentally friendly refrigerants

Hydrocarbons such as propane (R290) and isobutane (R600a) have the advantage that they are climate friendly, do not release greenhouse gasses and do not deplete the ozone layer. Hydrocarbons are used as a modern refrigerant and are an eco­friendly alternative to the CFC/HCFC/HFC fluorocarbons linked to ozone damage. In addition to their environmental benefits, hydrocarbons are energy efficient and cost-saving option for heating/cooling and for freezing.

The Kigali Amendment, that was entered in force in 2019, aims for the phase-down of HFCs by cutting their production and consumption, the goal is to achieve over 80% reduction in HFC consumption by 2047. The impact of the amendment will avoid up to 0.5 °C increase in global temperature by the end of the century.


AGRAMKOW’s development and ambition towards environmental sustainability

Since the first hydrocarbon charging station, AGRAMKOW has developed range of innovative solutions for all types of environmental friendly refrigerants. We follow the industries continuous development trends to guarantee that we have the right solutions serving our customers’ needs.

As part of our ambition to reduce environmental impact, we focus on developing energy efficient solutions to reduce energy consumption but still maintain the highest level of security. All our products and solutions are developed in close cooperation with TÜV (Technical Inspection Agency) ensuring that the safety and health of factory workers is the highest priority.

Our product portfolio is extensive, we also offer solutions for non-flammable refrigerants both charging and recovery solutions where you can recover and regenerate refrigerant fluids in an environmentally friendly way. This solution is typically used for older types of refrigerators where the refrigerants can be cleaned and reused.

In collaboration with UNIDO and UNDP, we aim towards more sustainable industry development with focus on safeguarding the environment. These organizations aim to promote and accelerate inclusive and sustainable industrial development and offer programs that support factory conversions so manufacturers can produce products that are more environmentally friendly with refrigerants that are less harmful for the environment.

Learn more about our environmental policy here

 

References

https://www.maz-online.de/Nachrichten/Wirtschaft/Erster-Kuehlschrank-ohne-FCKW-war-ein-Foron 

https://www.greenpeace.org/international/story/15323/how-greenpeace-changed-an-industry-25-years-of-greenfreeze-to-cool-the-planet/