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Global Training Center Course Addresses MENA Refrigerant Challenges

By Mary Kate McGowan, Associate Editor, News
From eSociety, April 2018

The Middle East and North Africa region is facing challenges during the industry’s transition to low global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants.

To help the region’s engineers better understand the transition, Karim Amrane, Ph.D., Member ASHRAE, and Omar Abdelaziz, Ph.D., Member ASHRAE, are teaching a new course at ASHRAE’s Global Training Center in Dubai, “The Future of Refrigerants: Challenges and Opportunities (MENA).”

The course will address region-specific concerns to help people understand the background of the transition to lower GWP refrigerants, the challenges that come with these new refrigerants and tools to ease the transition.

“We are in a transition period, and it’s important for engineers and designers to know what’s going on, to be prepared to transition to the new refrigerants,” said Amrane, a former senior vice president at the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI).

The course will help engineers, especially those who design HVAC equipment, and those who work with governments to better “understand what’s going on and what has happened and then to go into the opportunities and the challenges as well,” said Amrane.

“I think it’s going to give a very interesting global view of what’s going on the policy side because of the international negotiations and also on the technical side with the opportunities to design for the new refrigerants,” he said.

The course is scheduled for May 9.


The United States and other parts of the world have been phasing out chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) for a while, but some parts of the MENA region are still using HCFC refrigerants, said Amrane. The MENA region has the opportunity to transition differently to the newer low GWP refrigerants, said Amrane.

“...It’s not going to be easy to do that but at the same time there’s an opportunity,” he said.

Because the MENA has a high ambient temperature (HAT) environment, the course will address the current research activities in the field of alternative, lower GWP refrigerants in that region, Abdelaziz said.

Flammability and compatibility are universal concerns regarding the new refrigerants, which will also be addressed in the class, said Abdelaziz.

The workshop will end with a discussion on the system’s perspective and how to best understand the opportunities for energy efficiency improvements along with hands-on experience with free software such as the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) Life Cycle Climate Performance web application and the ORNL Heat Pump Design Model.

Abdelaziz, who used to work for ORNL, said the tools’ main benefits are they “provide open source, open access high accuracy modeling platforms for simulating the performance of vapor compression systems and the associated life cycle climate performance.”

ORNL’s work on evaluating alternative refrigerants in HAT environments and the proper flammable refrigerant charge evaluation will be discussed, he said.

To register for the course, visit.