Why do we need new refrigerants?

With the process of removing contaminants refrigerants, air conditioning sector and refrigeration has the task of adapting to refrigerants that will replace the old fashioned way.

by Gildardo Yanez *

It is only recently that this question circulates between those who are dedicated to the industry of refrigeration and air conditioning. It is common knowledge that the systems are leaking coolant, either to provide a service in which the refrigerant is not recovered, by malpractices by making facilities, vibration, etc. A reality is that synthetic refrigerants are greenhouse gases (GHGs), and are also short-lived climate pollutants. These pollutants are substances like methane, black carbon and hydrofluorocarbons refrigerants (HFC) that although his life is relatively short in the atmosphere, have a significant impact on it.

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HFCs are potent greenhouse gases have an atmospheric life of up to 15 years. In atmospheric measurements it shows that the volumes of HFCs account for less than 1%, however, their presence increases at an estimated rate of between 10% to 15% annually rapidly. The reason for the increase is because we are using them as alternative refrigerants to replace refrigerants classified as substances that deplete the ozone layer as: Chlorofluorocarbons CFCs and HCFCs. currently being eliminated or elimination under the mandate of the Montreal Protocol.

It is also expected significant growth in the use of HFCs in developing countries due to population growth, rapid urbanization, electrification and changes in consumption patterns. The increased use of coolants also result in an increase in emissions from energy consumption and greenhouse gases. If measures are not taken, it is estimated that HFCs will represent 19.9% of the total emissions of CO2 equivalent for the year 2050.

In the Conference of the COP21 Parties event that took in Paris France in December 2015, which was attended Coalition Climate and Clean Air (CCAC) to discuss actions to reduce air pollution in the world. He said the report on the phasing out refrigerants hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). It was agreed that HFCs will have to reduce their production and use of a 30 to 50% over the next 10 years, especially in applications maintenance and service, so you will have to use alternative refrigerants in systems so required.

The first of January 2015, the European Union began its process of elimination of HFC refrigerants with the implementation of the regulation "F-Gas 517 / 2014" where the schedule is set 10 years. This is to stop using synthetic refrigerants HFC High Global Warming Potential (GWP). In this calendar "F-Gas", accompanies an inspection to locate leaks mandatory character. Additionally refrigerants are subject to payment of a tax that applies when the refrigerant is to be used for service systems, this is known as the "tax leakage".

Elimination Schedule "F-Gas 517 / 2014"
Refrigerants with a GWP ≥ 2500
Prohibited its use in new equipment:
Domestic refrigerators and freezers: 1 / 01 / 2015
affected Refrigerants: R-134a R-404A R-507 or R-507A

Refrigerators and freezers for commercial use (hermetically sealed) and stationary refrigeration: 1 / 01 / 2020
affected Refrigerants: R-507, R-404A, R-428A, R-434A, R-422, R-422D

Refrigerants with a GWP ≥ 2500
Prohibited its use in new equipment:
Refrigeration plants for commercial use ≥ TR 11.37 from 01 / 01 / 2022
affected Refrigerants: R-407A, R-407F, R-134a, R-442A,
Exception: Central cascade where they can be used for primary coolant circuit PCG <1500 R-134a, R-449A, R-448A

Service and maintenance:
Teams with 40 ton of CO2EQ: 1 / 01 / 2020
In the case of using recycled or reclaimed refrigerants for equipment with tons of CO40EQ 2: 1 / 01 / 2030

PCG ≥ coolants can not be used 750 from 01 / 01 / 2025
Splits / Divided with a load <3 kg and ≥ PCG 750
affected Refrigerants: R-410A, R-407C

In July 2016 US also they joined the process to stop using the HCF High Global Warming Potential. This phase-out schedule is based on the application of use that has a given refrigerant, unlike the European referred to GWP refrigerant system. In the USA. you have several regulations or standards that prevent the use of new refrigerants A2L1 and A32 be immediate. It has been necessary to modify several of them to release their use, since it requires four major steps are taken.

Graphic 1. US approval process

Standard 15, is currently under review and approval by the members of ASHRAE, to include the use of refrigerants R-290, R-441A and R-32 in air conditioning equipment, pumps heat and refrigeration equipment. (Mentioning note ACR Latin America). UL laboratories already have published the Safety standards:

  • UL-484 - room air conditioner
  • UL-60335-2-40 - Electrical requirements of domestic air conditioning, heat pump and dehumidifiers
  • UL-1995 - Heating and cooling

These specify the characteristics to be met by the air conditioner or heat pump that can operate with the aforementioned refrigerants. For cooling applications the UL laboratories have also already published safety standards which are:

  • UL 250 Household Refrigerators
  • UL 60335-2-24 ice cream machines, ice cubicadoras
  • UL 399 water coolers botelleros
  • UL 427 self-contained cooling units
  • UL 471 Commercial Refrigerators
  • UL 541 Refrigerators for vending machines
  • Flake ice 563 UL

When the Standard 15 is approved, it undergoes the process of approval of use of the ICC (International Code Council), and IPAM (International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials) to integrate the regulations or building codes state, municipal and local for the use of refrigerants A2 A3L and widespread. This review and approval cycle culminates in the 2021.

US phase-out schedule
HFC refrigerants begin their process of removing the July 20 2016 for use in cooling systems.
R-404A, R-407B, R-421B, R-422A, R-422C, R-422D, R-428A, 434A R-R-R-507A 507 or for use in supermarkets:
1. You can not use equipment to retrofit initiating July 20 2016
2. It can not be used in new installations starting the January 1 2017
R-404A, R-407B, R-421B, R-422A, R-422C, R-422D, R-428A, 434A R-R-R-507A 507 or for use in condensing units:
1. You can not use equipment to retrofit initiating July 20 2016
2. It can not be used in new installations starting the January 1 2018
R-134a for use in self-contained teams:
1. You can not use compressor in new equipment which is less than the 2,200 BTU / hour non-flooded evaporator January 1 2019
to. can not be used in new equipment whose compressor is greater than or equal to 2,200 BTU / hour 1 2020 January
b. You can not use in new equipment evaporator flooded the 1 2020 January
R-404A, R-407B, R-421B, R-422A, R-422C, R-422D, R-428A, 434A R-R-R-507A 507 or for use in self-contained devices:
1. You can not use equipment to retrofit initiating July 20 2016
2. You can not use compressor in new equipment which is less than the 2,200 BTU / hour non-flooded evaporator January 1 2019
3. can not be used in new equipment whose compressor is greater than or equal to 2,200 BTU / hour 1 2020 January
4. You can not use in new equipment evaporator flooded the 1 2020 January
5. can not be used in new installations low temperature starting the January 1 2020

Please note: It does not include refrigerants for air conditioning applications.

The new low-GWP refrigerants and natural refrigerants have characteristics that do not have the sintéticos3 refrigerants. However, in the new generation of the smaller refrigerant it is the PCG refrigerants up its flammability. Others are more toxic as it is ammonia, or have a very high operating pressure as carbon dioxide.

Currently in first world countries is being phased out the use of HCFC refrigerants and now begin the removal of high-GWP HFCs refrigerants. In emerging or developing economies you have the opportunity to choose whether to migrate to alternative refrigerants high GWP HFC or migrate directly to the new low-GWP refrigerant technology natural and synthetic refrigerants, we choose.

Footnote:
Slightly flammable refrigerant 1 A2L
Flammable Refrigerant 2 A3
3 Synthetic refrigerants were invented in 1930

References
Coalition to reduce short-lived climate pollutants - Initiative HFC http://newsroom.unfccc.int/
EPA United States Environmental Protection Agency - Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP)
http://www.epa.gov/snap/refrigeration-and-air-conditioning
European Commission Climate Action
http://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/f-gas/index_en.htm
Alliance for Responsible Atmospheric Policy
http://www.alliancepolicy.org/

* Gildardo thematic expert Yañez is cooling. You can contact him through his website: www.gildardoyanez.com your e-mail: ingeniero@gildardoyanez.com

 

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