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If you work with air conditioning in any way, you may have heard about the new R32 refrigerant. You may also wonder to yourself ‘why the new change? And why now?

Sep 28, 2018 By ACI Reports | Category: F GAS R22 HFCs

The UK air conditioning market moved to R410A refrigerant in 2006 as it offered higher efficiencies, achieved by operating at higher pressures and the introduction on inverter technology in DX split systems. It also replaced R22 refrigerant which was banned because of its potential to damage the ozone layer and the HFC R407C.

R410A though is a hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) and partly responsible for the greenhouse effect on the Earth. In 1999 the Kyoto Protocol on global warming listed HFC refrigerants that were contributing to global warming.

This in turn led to the introduction in Europe of the F-Gas Regulations and at the start of January 2015, the next stage of the F-Gas laws was introduced which detailed the phase down of HFC refrigerant

It’s important to note here that this is a ‘phase down’ and not a ‘phase out’ – with the regulations now based on the tonnes of C02 equivalent of all refrigerants sold or traded in Europe.

Each refrigerant has a Global Warming Potential (GWP) with carbon used as the base. Carbon has a GWP of 1.

R410A has a GWP of 2,088 meaning that if one kilogram is released into the atmosphere it would have 2,088 times the harmful effect of one kilogram of carbon.

That is why we are now seeing a move to a new refrigerant – R32, which has a GWP of 675 (two thirds less than R410A). That is also why we have introduced new Mr Slim Power Inverter models at the same price as R410A ones, so that we can make the adoption of R32 as easy and as seamless as possible.

The decision by air conditioner manufacturers to transition to a new refrigerant is driven by many factors such as impact on the environment, energy efficiency, safety and cost effectiveness.

Introduction of R32 Air Conditioning Equipment .

There is currently a diversity of low GWP refrigerants available to select from. These include HFC 32 (or R32), HFO 1234yf and HFO (hydrofluoro olefin) blends, Ammonia (R717), Propane (R290) and C02 (R744). Unfortunately, none of these candidates is a perfect refrigerant when assessed across the 4 key criteria of

• Environment
• Energy
• Efficiency
• Safety and Economy
• Each refrigerant has strong and weak points, which also vary depending on the type of target product.

Many major air conditioning manufacturers have determined that R32 is the optimum choice for use in their products because it:

• Has a low GWP (675)
• Zero ozone depleting potential (ODP)
• Is ideal for the next generation of equipment
• Offers higher efficiency and longer pipe runs
• Is F-Gas phasedown compliant
• Requires less refrigerant volume per Kw
• Is affordable and readily available
• R32 is a single component refrigerant, meaning it is easier to reuse and to recycle.

It is also relatively inexpensive to produce, is easier to handle because it doesn’t separate and utilises familiar technology, keeping costs similar.

So, we are now seeing more air conditioning units introduced which use R32 as this will allow the industry to transition smoothly to a situation where we still get the performance and efficiencies needed for our buildings, using refrigerants and equipment that delivers a much lower GWP overall.

R32 equipment is not ‘untried’ and ‘new’, it has been used in Japan now for more than five years and there are already over 10 million units installed and operating.

R32 will actually be good for the industry (although there is the cost of new equipment) because it will allow companies to continue providing comfortable places for us all to work, shop and relax in, whilst complying with the latest legislation and being able to enhance their own CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) with equipment using a refrigerant that minimises the effect on climate change.

These ongoing changes are a reflection of the UK Government commitment to climate change and continuance of TM44 Reporting. A

September 2018
ACI Reports Ltd
www.acireports.co.uk

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