How a hospital in Costa Rica now cools its medicines and vaccines in a climate-friendly way
The National Children's Hospital (Hospital Nacional de Niños) is one of the most important public hospitals in Costa Rica. It specialises in the care of children and paediatric care in all areas, including psychological and psychiatric. In order to be able to care for its little patients even better, the German Government has now donated a walk-in cold room to the hospital. What's special about it? The cold room is operated with the refrigerant propane (R290), which has particularly good energy efficiency properties and is environmentally friendly. Most standard cold rooms operate on synthetic refrigerants, which have an enormously high greenhouse potential.
For example, the commonly used synthetic refrigerant R404A is 3,922 times more harmful to the environment than CO2 when released into the atmosphere. The natural refrigerant propane, on the other hand, has a GWP > 3.
"We hope that this donation is an important first step for the introduction of this innovative technology in Costa Rica and the region."
The new units will make better use of operational space and optimise inventory processes by allowing storage in a single location. It will also allow the Clinical Laboratory to store reagents and materials in large quantities, safeguarding their conservation, which is of utmost importance to provide a quality service to patients with multiple pathologies, including support for Covid-19 care.
"The clinical laboratory has a large number of items that need to be kept at temperatures between 2 and 8°C. These have a high economic value, so it is important to ensure their safekeeping, both in terms of storage temperatures and restricted access in order to prevent loss or theft," says Cendry Alfaro, Director of the Laboratory.
A total of four R290 monoblocks (positive or negative temperature range) were purchased as part of the GIZ projects "Cool Contributions fighting Climate Change (opens in a new window) (C4)" and "4E". On behalf of the German Federal Government, they are engaged in the worldwide dissemination of climate-friendly cooling technologies that do not harm the ozone layer or the climate, so-called “Green Cooling”. Two units were installed at the hospital and two units were donated to two RAC training centres for training purposes. This is the first time R290 monoblocks have been installed in Central America. Currently, there are three retailers in Costa Rica offering two different brands of R290 monoblocks.
"We hope that this donation is an important first step for the introduction of this innovative technology in Costa Rica and the region. From GIZ, we will continue to work on improving the environmental performance of the refrigeration and air conditioning sector in the future with other similar projects. In this way we will succeed in establishing awareness, 'green' thinking in relation to the cooling sector and action throughout the country," says Andreas Villar, Director of the GIZ Regional Climate and Biodiversity Cluster.