ACR Journal

REFRIGERANTS and A3 refrigerants are in Fluid Group 1 under PE(S)R. Despite being an A2L safety class refrigerant, under PE(S)R R-1234ze is in fluid group 2 with all the A1 safety class refrigerants, as PE(S)R only considers flammability at 20°C and R 1234ze is non-flammable at 20°C. PE(S)R classifies pressure equipment into 5 categories depending on the refrigerant used, application/system design, pressure vessel volume, pipe size and ambient conditions. The first two categories, sound engineering practice (SEP) and Category I, only require industry standard brazing qualifications and can be self-certified, although Cat I pressure equipment does require a UKCA mark. Cat II pressure equipment requires notified body approved brazing qualification and a notified body is required to certify as well as witness a proportion of pressure tests. As the PE(S)R category increases more safety checks involving a notified body are required. Refrigerant Safety Class Fluid Group Vessel Volume (L) boundaries for each PE(S)R Category SEP Cat I Cat II Cat III Cat IV R-449A A1 2 <2 2.0 8.0 39.8 119.3 R-448A A1 2 <2 2.0 7.8 39.2 117.6 R-134a A1 2 <3.6 3.6 14.4 71.9 215.8 R-513A A1 2 <3.4 3. 4 13.8 68.9 206.7 R-515B A1 2 <4.9 4.9 19.6 97.8 293.4 R-744 A1 2 <0.4 0.4 1.7 8.4 25.2 R-1234ze A2L 2 <4.9 4.9 19.4 97. 2 291.5 R-1234yf A2L 1 <1.8 1.8 3.7 14.7 73.3 R-454C A2L 1 <1.1 1.1 2.2 8.7 43.3 R-455A A2L 1 <1 1.0 1.9 7.7 38.4 Table 2. – Examples of pressure vessel volumes and PE(S)R categories for various refrigerants in a systemwith an air-cooled condenser at a maximum 32°C ambient. The management of health and safety at work and dangerous substances and explosive atmospheres (DSEAR) regulations require thorough risk assessments need to be performed. As with the previous standards and regulations already mentioned, this is not a specific requirement for flammable or high-pressure refrigerants, it applies to all refrigerants but introducing toxicity, explosive pressures or a degree of flammability may add some further elements to the risk assessment. In summary Whether you like it or not, legislation and standards are driving the industry towards lower GWP refrigerants and no matter which route you decide to take, all the options will require a better understanding of regulations and may require further training and qualifications. So, as you consider your refrigerant strategy for 2022 and beyond, why not commit to getting ahead of the curve and be ready for the next generation of refrigerants. Companies such as Climalife are here to help you on that journey and can provide you with information directly and provide contacts for training institutions to upgrade your skills. Climalife

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