ACR Journal

April 2022 | May 2022 REFRIGERANTS 18 A-Gas managing director John Ormerod explains why non-flammable gases will not be the right choice for all installers. Horses for courses Volume 8 No.3 The development of a new non-flammable refrigerant for medium temperature commercial refrigeration applications with a GWP of more than 150 should be welcomed by the market. The arrival of R471A, which Honeywell has branded Solstice N71, and is seen as an R404A alternative, will help end users struggling to comply with new standards that restrict refrigerants with a GWP greater than 150 in new systems. This aspect of the F-Gas regulations has been law since the beginning of the year. The regulation has banned the installation of new commercial refrigeration and freezing systems larger than 40kW capacity, using gases with a GWP of 150 or more. This new medium temperature non- flammable gas will have a role to play in centralised supermarket systems and other areas of the food processing industry. End users can continue using higher GWP gases in existing equipment – there is no ban in that area. I have no doubt that as we move slowly away from the restrictions forced upon us by the pandemic, the food processing and supermarket industries will begin to accelerate plans to update equipment and look for more low carbon alternatives but in reality R471A is a low pressure refrigerant suitable only for medium temperature or chilled food applications. Reaching the limit On the plus side it is likely to show some energy efficiency gains over naturals like CO 2 and higher GWP R404A. There is a role for non-flammable refrigerants but I do not view them as the complete answer to meet the low GWP challenge in all areas of our industry. They are not suitable for low temperature applications and in this instance it will be a fence too far for some end users. It will also be very difficult to create non-flammable refrigerants offering a very low GWP. I believe we have reached a limit here because most of the HFOs are mildly flammable to some degree. R1234ze is an interesting example in this respect. It is non-flammable for transport John Ormerod Getting refrigerants ready for transport

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