Ozone Depleting Substances Alternative Survey in KSA

Project information:

Small Scale Funding Agreement (SSFA)

Project title: Saudi Arabia – Survey of ODS Alternatives

Project number: UNEP/SSFA/ROWA/2016/02, (SAU/SEV/75/TAS/26)

Designated institution:

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Secretariat of the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol.

and the General Authority of Meteorology and Environment Protection (GAMEA) of Saudi Arabia, National Ozone Unit (NOU).

Project starting Date: 26 March 2016

Project Completion date: 30 June 2017



The General Authority of Meteorology and Environmental Protection in Saudi Arabia would like to thank all public and private stakeholders who involved in the planning, data collection and analysis, preparation and finalization of this ODS Alternatives Survey Report.

The General Authority of Meteorology and Environmental Protection also would like to thank all staff and local consultants of the National Ozone Unit for their dedication and efforts during the project implementation.

This survey report was prepared with assistance received from the Multilateral fund for the implementation of the Montreal Protocol through the UN Environment as implementing agency with the aim to provide a picture about the historic uptake of ODS alternatives in the Saudi market and future trends of use in all sectors taking into consideration all relevant factors being technical or financiall nature. Worth mentioning that this report should not constitute by any means an official reporting of the imports or consumption of the ODS alternatives and that the figures included in the report are based on best available data and estimations by the survey team. 

The General Authority of Meteorology and Environmental Protection also would like to express sincere appreciation to the Compliance Assistance Programme of the United Nations Environment and the team in West Asia Office through Mr. Khaled Klaly and the international consultant Dr. Yousef Meslmani for their very useful advice and guidance from the beginning until the completion of this survey.  

Executive summary

Ozone layer depletion is one of the most serious problems faced by our planet earth. It is also one of the prime reasons leading to global warming. The management of substances that have an impact on the environment, in particular those that deplete the ozone layer (ODS) or contribute to global warming, remains an issue for mankind.

Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) are classified as “controlled substances” under Annex-C Group-I of the Montreal Protocol therefore, their use has to be reduced and eventually phased out. Article 5 countries to the MP, will need to achieve the targets under Stage-I of HCFC phase-out management plan (HPMP), which includes a freeze on HCFC consumption level to baseline level in 2013, followed by 10 per cent reduction in consumption below the baseline by 2015. To be followed by a 35 per cent reduction by 2020, and a reduction of 67.5% by 2025, followed by a reduction of 97.5 per cent by 2030 to to finally achieve a full phase-out by 2040.

Typically HCFCs have been in use in refrigeration & air-conditioning (RAC) and foam sectors. Transitioning to non-ozone depleting (non-ODS) alternatives in these sectors will make a significant contribution to the recovery of the ozone layer. A number of HCFC alternatives are now available for use in RAC and foam sectors globally. These alternatives include Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), low global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants (e.g., carbon dioxide, ammonia and hydrocarbons). Although HFCs do not contribute to ozone depletion (ODP value is zero), they do have significant GWP.

Parties to the Montreal Protocol decided at the 26th Meeting to assess alternatives to ozone-depleting substances (Decision XXVI/9).

Under this framework, Parties have been encouraged to continue providing the Ozone Secretariat, on a voluntary basis, with information on data, policies and initiatives pertaining to the promotion of technologies that minimize environmental impact wherever available. The same MOP decision requested the Executive Committee of the Multilateral Fund to consider financial support to conduct inventories or surveys on alternatives to ODS in Article 5 parties who request to do so. The key objective of surveys on ODS alternatives is to assist Article 5 countries, who submit requests for funding, to better understand their historical and predicted consumption trends for ODS alternatives, including medium, low and high global warming potential (GWP) alternatives, and their distribution by sector and subsector.

In response to this decision, at its 75th Meeting, the Executive Committee agreed to consider requests for funding surveys of ODS alternatives submitted by countries. Accordingly, Saudi Arabia’s funding for the preparation of its national ODS alternatives survey was approved.

According to this decision, small scale funding agreement (UNEP/SSFA/ROWA/2016/02) signed on 27 Mach 2016 between UNEP and the General Authority of Meteorology and Environmental Protection (GAMEP) in Saudi Arabia on Conducting National HFC Survey of ODS Alternatives in Saudi Arabia. Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) are classified as controlled substances under Annex-C Group-I of the Montreal Protocol and therefore their use has to be reduced and eventually phased out. As an Article 5 country to the MP, the country has already achieved the targets under the Stage-I of HCFC phase-out management plan (HPMP), which includes a freeze on HCFC consumption level to baseline level in 2013 followed by a 10 per cent reduction in consumption below the baseline by 2015 and to reach 35 percent  by 2020.

This survey study analyzed the historical and projected trends in consumption of ODS alternatives and the data was correlated with an ongoing monitoring of consumption of Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), taking into account the adoption of low GWP technologies. The main objective is to highlight the current status of ODS use and the alternatives to these ODS in Saudi Arabia and to contribute to the widespread achievement evident by climate benefits observed due to HCFC phase-out through promotion and use of improved technologies.

This has involved the conducting three main activities – data collection, data validation and data assessment. Two approaches are used for the data collection – survey i.e. “Top-down” which covered the data on import of ODS alternatives collected from National Ozone Unit (NOU), saudi customs authority and licensed importers and “Bottom-up” which covered the data on actual consumption of ODS alternative collected through questionnaires direct from users, manufacturers,  distributors and retailers.

Saudi Arabia is the world’s third largest market for Indoor climate and refrigeration, and one of the largest importers of ODS and alternatives in the world, it does not produce these substances at all, all are imported.

The total consumption of ODS alternatives in Saudi Arabia has increased from 16689 mt in 2012 to 63515 mt in 2015. The following bar charts summarises the estimated consumption of ODS alternatives in Saudi Arabia for each of the years between 2012 and 2015.

The figure above clearly shows that the consumption of HFCs is mainly dominated by the consumption of R-410A, which is used as a replacement for HCFC-22 in the unitary air-conditioning and water chiller sector. This increase in the use of HFCs can be attributed to the growth of construction sector and the expansion in the construction of cities and commercial centers in the Kingdom. The consumption value of R-410A in 2013 was 13199 mt, this consumption has increased to 47581 mt in 2015 (an increase of about 3.6 times over two years), this was followed by consumption of HFC-134a which was 2967 mt in 2013 to become doubled (6183 mt) by 2015. The increase in consumption of other HFC blends is almost equally dominated by R-404A and R-407C, the consumption value of R-407C in 2013 was 410 mt, which increased to 5343 mt in 2015 (an increase of about thirteen times over two years), R-407C is being used in refrigeration and air-conditioning sector (primarly in water chillers), while R-404A in the commercial refrigeration sector.

HFC-152a, dimethyl ether (DME), mixture of HFC-134a, HFC-152a, are consumed in the XPS foam manufacturing sector. Some enterprises are considering purchasing a new extruder line based on CO2 blowing technology. The figure above shows that the consumption value of HFC-152a in 2013 was 240 mt, this consumption has increased to 754 mt in 2015, this was followed by the consumption ratio of DME which was 72 mt in 2013 to become 251 mT by 2015 (That means an increase of consumption of about three times over two years). Some Foam manufacturing enterprises are beginning to use Pentane technology, namely HESCO, Saptex, and SPF which have already started using Pentane after the year 2015.

HFC-227ea and Novec-1230 has been used in Fire Protection applications sector. The figure above shows that the consumption value of HFC-227ea in 2013 was 213 mt, this consumption has increased to 739 mt in 2015 (an increase of consumption of about 3.4 times over two years), whereas the consumption value of Novec-1230 was 814 mt in 2013 to become 349 mT by 2014, this consumption has decreased to 126 mt in 2015 (a decrease of about 6.5 times over two years).

The major consumption of ODS alternatives in Saudi Arabia has been observed in the manufacturing of refrigeration and air-conditioning sector(RAC-manufacturing) including their servicing (RAC-services), followed by Foam manufacturing and Fire fighting applications. Under the RAC sector, it is used in unitary air-conditioning, water chillers, domestic refrigeration (refrigerators and plug-in-freezers), commercial refrigeration (stand-alone system, centralized system), industrial refrigeration (small, medium and large sized cold rooms), mobile air-conditioning, and transport refrigeration (road vehicles such as vans, trucks and trailers).

The consumption of ODS and ODS alternatives in Saudi Arabia is mainly in RAC (services, manufacturing), Foam sectors and Firefighting applications. Over the past few years, Saudi’s RAC and Foam market have witnessed a significant growth in demand across sectors. There are several factors driving growth in RAC and foam sector in Saudi Arabia and they are expected to continue to play into the sector’s expansion over the remainder of the decade and beyond. Some of these factors are population growth; Increase in income levels; Increase in the number of construction activities in the residential sector; Expansion in the commercial and institutional (World Trade Centers,  educational institutes, office spaces) sector; and Expansion in transportation (construction of Metro lines), hospitality and tourism industry (Hajj and Umrah).

The following bar chart represents the sectoral consumption trend of ODS alternatives for each sector from the year 2012 to 2030:

Hydrofluorocarbons (HFC) and HFC blends are the most common amongst all the ODS alternatives, with various applications in RAC sector and foam manufacturing. The table below provides the ODS alternatives that are introduced or likely to be introduced as a replacement of HCFC in Saudi Arabia:

Sectors ODS being replaced ODS alternatives introduced
RAC-serving HCFC-22, HCFC-123 HFC-134a, R-410A, R-407C, R-404A, R-717, HFC‑32, HFC‑161, R‑507A
PU foam HCFC-141b Water blown technology, HC
XPS foam HCFC-142b HFC-152a, HFC-134a, DME, R-744, Pentane, HC-600a
Fire fighting Halons HFC‑227ea, Novec 1230

The economic diversification efforts have started showing results as indicated by the increasing share of the non-oil sectors to the national gross domestic product. Few of the major policy initiatives taken in this direction are making power and desalination plants more energy efficient, development and deployment of technologies relating to Renewable Energy Resources (RES) especially solar energy and Rationale Use of Energy (RUE). The government is also encouraging the reuse of the treated wastewater to reduce dependence on the energy intensive desalination plants and to conserve a valuable resource.

The Kingdom has made substantial progress in the field of Energy Efficiency by developing and enforcing regulations and guidelines for buildings, transportation, industry and urban planning and district cooling for efficient use and conservation of energy. Energy intensive industries are also improving their energy intensity to reduce energy demand.

Additionally, in order to cope with extremely high temperatures, rise in power consumption by air conditioners is being compensated for the use of energy efficient air conditioners. District cooling technology offers central cooling for multiple buildings and mandatory thermal insulation for all new buildings (Saudi Building Code) , while bringing electricity cost savings to about 25%.


Growing focus on sustainability across the Kingdom has resulted in adoption of various energy conservation measures through the National Energy Efficiency Program (NEEP). One of the main objectives of the Saudi Energy Efficiency Center (SEEC) is to reduce 30% in electricity intensity in Saudi Arabia between 2005 and 2030 (SEEC, 2013).

The impact of the use of ODS and ODS alternatives in Saudi Arabia on global warming was assessed between 2012 and 2030 as shown in the figure below, based on hydrofluorocarbons category and their impact on global warming, the impact on global warming of HFC blends is much greater than the HFC and other categories..

As shown in the figure below the expected global warming impact of HFC blends will be much higher than all other categories, for example, it is expected in the year 2020 that the impact of HFC blends will become 88.6 percent of the total global warming impact in Saudi Arabia, while the HFC will become 11.4 percent and the other alternatives will become less than one percent and almost no more significantly effect of HCFCs (Section 5, Table 35).

In this regards the future key area the Kingdom is working on is Carbon Capture, Storage and Utilization (CCSU). The Kingdom has been engaged in a cooperative research initiatives with other countries to explore the potential of large scale commercialization and deployment of CCSU technologies. The Kingdom has planned to build the world’s largest carbon capture and utilization plant and few other projects are under way.

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