Concrete steps towards a more sustainable Arctic

The depletion of the ozone layer is a global problem that has a direct impact on sustainable development and the Arctic environment. The ongoing Arctic Council project in Murmansk region, Russia, is the first to facilitate a solution to this problem on a regional level.

Customer: Companies of the Fishing industry, Murmansk region, Russia
Time of project: 2017- ongoing
Sector: Climate change mitigation
Geographical area: Arctic, Russia
Total investment: EUR 4 million
Type of financing: Grant
Financed by: The Arctic Council’s Project Support Instrument (PSI)

The depletion of the ozone layer is a global problem that has a direct impact on sustainable development and the Arctic environment. The ongoing Arctic Council project ‘Phase-out of fluorinated greenhouse gases and ozone-depleting substances (ODS) at fish and seafood processing enterprises of the Murmansk Oblast, Russia’ is the first to facilitate a solution to this problem on a regional level.

Initiated by the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE), the project was approved for grant financing by the Arctic Council’s Project Support Instrument (PSI) administered by Nefco in 2017. Once the feasibility phase was completed in early 2020, the practical implementation of the project started, led by the International Centre for Scientific and Technical Information (ICSTI) based in Moscow.

Addressing depletion of the ozone layer

The project addresses the global problem of depletion of the ozone layer and supports activities related to phasing-out hydrofluorocarbons and hydrochlorofluorocarbons, short-lived climate pollutants that are used as refrigerants for cooling equipment. Emissions of these pollutants happen as a result of wear, faulty maintenance or leakage from end-of-life equipment. The most effective way to control emissions is by phasing out production and consumption of fluorinated greenhouse gases. One aim of the project is to facilitate the replacement of old equipment, conversion to environmentally safe refrigerants and introduction of new energy efficient technologies at several fish and seafood processing enterprises in the Murmansk region, Russia.

Within five years, the project is expected to result in the phasing-out of about 18.65 ODP (ozone-depleting potential) tons of ozone-depleting substances through diminishing consumption of ODS and fluorinated greenhouse gases.

The adoption of new energy-efficient technologies and substances will also lead to the reduction of approximately 308,000 t CO2-eq of greenhouse gas emissions.

The above-mentioned environmental benefits are expected to result from the direct phase-out of substances and conversion of enterprises to ozone- and climate-safe alternatives and technologies, reduced leakages, fuel savings and improvements in energy efficiency at onshore enterprises and fishing vessels of the Murmansk region.

Following energy-efficiency improvements at onshore enterprises and the introduction of new equipment, it is expected that energy consumption will be reduced by 8% and leakage of refrigerants by 15% within five years of project completion.

The biggest PSI project yet

This is the most extensive project financed by PSI to date. The list of project activities includes eight components:

  1. development of the draft regional programme for phasing out ODS and fluorinated greenhouse gases
  2. conversion of two large enterprises into ozone- and climate-safe technologies and substances
  3. small grants programme
  4. establishment of an ODS and fluorinated greenhouse gas recycling and disposal system
  5. establishment of a training centre at the premises of the Murmansk State Technical University
  6. increasing public awareness
  7. survey of ODS and fluorinated greenhouse gas consumption
  8. dissemination of the lessons learned in other sectors and regions of Russia

The total budget for the project amounts to approximately EUR 11 million, of which EUR 4 million has been allocated through PSI. In November 2021, the two largest contracts within the project in the amounts of EUR 2,297,000 and EUR 683,600 were signed by project partners FC Polar Sea+ LLC and MurmanStroy LLC. The contracts will finance the second phase of the project, the conversion of two large enterprises into ozone- and climate-safe technologies and substances.

EUR 640,000 has already been disbursed for other ongoing project activities for the establishment of an ODS and fluorinated greenhouse gas recycling and disposal system, the establishment of a training centre, a small grants programme and increasing public awareness. The small grants programme has been partly completed regarding support to the service sector of the Murmansk region, while the others are at different stages of implementation.

Small grants programme facilitates the use of environmentally safe equipment

The small grants programme was the first component of the project to be successfully completed in 2021-2022. In September 2021, a number of service companies in the Murmansk fishing industry received tools for working with alternative refrigerants and environmentally safe installation, repair and maintenance of refrigeration systems, including express analysers and refrigerant evacuation stations, portable thermal imagers, leak detectors and other similar devices.

In addition, training on safe handling of alternative refrigerants (ammonia, carbon dioxide, hydrocarbon refrigerants and others) will be arranged for service companies at the premises of the Murmansk State Technical University, where a training centre is also being established within the project. The first training session is scheduled for February 2022.

Increasing public awareness through an informative website

To increase public awareness about the issue and stimulate a shift to ozone-safe technologies, a website has been developed and launched at www.ozoneprogram.ru.

The website offers information about the project and its stakeholders, Russian and international legislation on protection of the ozone layer and climate, environmentally safe refrigeration technologies for the fishing industry, recommendations for energy-efficiency improvements, related activities and outcomes, an electronic library, a digital reporting system, etc. ICSTI is expected to support this website for five years after the completion of the project.

To increase public awareness about depletion of the ozone layer and stimulate a shift to ozone-safe technologies, a website has been developed and launched at www.ozoneprogram.ru.

Overall social and economic impact of the project

The project will result in the creation of new jobs, increased productivity, professional training for key staff and the reduction of negative impacts on the environment and human health, all of which contribute to solving the many economic, social and environmental problems in the Arctic. In addition, the project could serve as inspiration and a demonstration for other regions and industry branches in Russia.

“Overall, the project has good potential for replication, as it envisages implementing both environmentally safe and economically viable technologies,” concludes Henrik G. Forsström, Senior Adviser at Nefco.

“We promote ozone- and climate-safe technologies and substances with low global warming potential and facilitate the transition to a more sustainable Arctic by studying lessons learned and disseminating successful project results among other enterprises of the fishing industry and the general public. It is important to draw attention to the issue and support a cleaner Arctic environment.”

ODS project - Murmansk fishing industry service companies receive equipment
Service companies of the Murmansk fishing industry receive tools for working with environmentally safe equipment, September 2021. Photo by Marina Tarnovskaya, ICSTI.