INDIA: The Indian government has pledged to train 100,000 refrigeration and air conditioning service engineers on good practices and knowledge of alternative refrigerants.
India’s Ministries of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and Skill Development and Entrepreneurship have agreed to jointly undertake upskilling and certification of the 100,000 RAC engineers in a project to be funded under the Skill India Mission.
It is estimated that, at present, there are around 200,000 refrigeration and air conditioning service engineers in the country, with a large number of them being in the private sector. Training of these technicians is an ongoing activity under the UN’s HCFC Phase-out Management Plan (HPMP) Stage-I being implemented by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. Nearly 11,000 engineers were trained under Stage-I of HPMP, and around 17,000 technicians will be trained under Stage-II.
The project will also include train-the-trainer programmes, updating of national occupational standards, and certification. The project is expected to be completed within sixteen months.
A mobile application has also been developed for the trainees which will provide access to training material and instruction videos for the service technicians. In addition, instructional videos have been developed to promote various aspects of good servicing practices prepared in four regional languages and Hindi.
Demand for air conditioners in India is expected to grow by 8.2 million units per year by 2020 and 20 million per year by 2030. The country is currently phasing out ozone depleting refrigerants and in many cases sidestepping high global warming refrigerants like R410A. The alternative refrigerants have issues like flammability and toxicity concerns. As a result, skill training for engineers is seen as being of paramount importance in teaching them about safety, energy efficiency and refrigerant leak minimisation.