Current regulations relating to A2L fluids

Source: Answers to the questions asked during the A2L webinar on May 7 organised by Climalife in partnership with Tecumseh and Honeywell


Pierre-Emmanuel Danet, Technical Support Manager at Climalife
Alain Lelièvre-Damit, Purchase & Quota Manager at Climalife
Regis Leportier, Technical Programs Director at Tecumseh Europe
Jean De Bernardi, Technical Team Lead at Honeywell Refrigerants


What does A2L mean?
A2L is a new category defined by the ISO 817 standard which means low flammability. This category is characterised by the need to have a high concentration (large amount of gas phase refrigerant present in the air) to present a possibility of ignition. In case of burning, the flame velocity is very slow (less than 10cm/s), and the last criteria is the heat of combustion which is lower than 19 000 kJ/Kg.


HFO's still contain Fluorine which is what the F-Gas regulations is fighting against. What is the end of life date for HFO's?
The objective of F-Gas is not to fight, as such, against fluorinated products but to fight against global warming by lowering the average GWP of refrigerants used for all thermodynamic applications.
HFOs being today the molecules with the lowest GWP, having even a GWP lower than CO2 (GWP<1) are therefore solutions without an end of life date.

Please explain the "slight flammability issue" about A2L refrigerants and meet ASHRAE 15-2019 guidelines on safety
There is no issue with A2L, but the 2019 version of ASHRAE-15 defines the precautions to be taken when using this type of fluid. The specifics of A2L refrigerants are detailed later in the Q&A.

Is the A2L refrigerant environment friendly?
Under the F-Gas directive, the environmental impact of a refrigerant is not defined by its flammability or toxicity classification, but by its GWP in case of a leakage.
However, leakage only accounts for around 30% of the potential impact of a system on the environment: the most important is energy efficiency, which will account for around 70% of a refrigerant’s environmental impact over its lifetime. As such, HFOs offer the highest energy efficiency on the market associated with minimal risk and toxicity, and are therefore the most interesting refrigerants to date.

What is the very important to know, and what is A2L?
What is important to remember is that HFOs will have a minimal impact on global warming in the event of a leak and they will bring maximum energy efficiency. So today, they are the best technological solution for air conditioning and refrigeration applications.


What are the prevention to take regarding safety ? R-32 seems to be often used but in France it has been prohibited in hotels, ...
Calculations of permissible charges are to be carried out in accordance with the recommendations of EN 378-1. The calculations should be done according to the area where the equipment is installed, the access category, the height of the device in the room, the surface of the room and the flammability limit of the fluid. The permissible charges for A2L refrigerants are higher than for A3 fluids.

In France, there are specific regulations concerning establishments open to the public, including hotels. The use of R-32 in this context is possible by respecting the criteria for implementation
There is no pre-defined maximum quantity. The permissible charge is related to the ERP* category (function of the capacity in number of persons), and the category of the refrigerant.
In France, it is managed by the CH 35, which concerns installations with direct or indirect exchange systems, air conditioning, air conditioning, heating and DHW (domestic hot water).
This does not apply to commercial or industrial refrigeration or hermetically sealed equipment according to IEC 60335-2-40.
For non-flammable Cat.1 fluids, the charges limits are defined by EN 378.
For flammable (Cat.2L-Cat.2-Cat.3), the charge calculation is identical and is based on the height of the connection to the unit located in the ERP*. The safety distances to be observed are less stringent with A2L.


You mention competencies and F-Gas but the F-Gas qualification generally across Europe does not properly address competency. Do you agree that formal training in handling flammable refrigerants should be a priority in the next F-Gas Regulation review starting at the end of this year?
Holding a recognised qualification or professional experience probably remains one of the keys to environmental protection.


Watch the webinar replay: Be part of eco responsible refrigeration !