Refrigerants


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 !

Markets : Industry, Housing, Apartment buildings & service sector, Commercial
Apr 17, 2020

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A2L fluids available on the market

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

 

How fast are you going to be moving away from HFC refrigerants and how many A2L's are we going to have? (thinking new equipment)
Today, the speed of the switch to low greenhouse effect refrigerants is directly linked to the regulations (quota) and the availability of equipment for A2L refrigerants. We have 2 pure HFOs with GWP < 1 and some blends with GWP < 150 to meet the market needs. Ultimately we will end up with 4 or 5 refrigerants, as we do today, which will allow us to run chilled and frozen cooling, and air conditioning systems.

 

A glance in the crystal ball: until which year will A2L refs continue being used in manufacturing of AC equipment globally?
There are transitional A2L fluids, especially those for use at high pressure such as R-32 or R-452B, which we know will have a life span of only a few years due to their fairly high GWP in view of the future reductions in F-Gas quotas.
All mixtures or pure molecules of HFO with a GWP of less than 150 are long-term solutions under all international regulations.

Will A2L refrigerants be available in all European countries in order to fulfil the demand from contractors?
Our European distribution network has access to HFOs and the entire supply chain is organised to meet the demand of all our customers in Europe and the rest of the World.

 

Is R-1234yf likely to be replaced for something else in the near future? Specifically for Automotive applications.
R-1234yf is used in all automotive air conditioning systems in the world today. It has a GWP <1 and is therefore a long-term solution for this application.
In Refrigeration we can measure very high efficiencies in condensing units, low risk and similar system cost structure vs R134a, so a change would need to evidence significant benefits in efficiency/cost that are not envisioned today.

 

What is A2L refrigerant? What does it mean? Is it Safe to Environment?
Let’s look at each individual character: A 2 and L.
The letter defines toxicity : The A defines a non-toxic
The number defines the flammability class : 2L is mildly flammable
The 2L category is defined by the lower flammability limit (need concentration ≥ 3.5% in the air), by the burning velocity (≤ 10cm/s), and the heat of combustion (≥ 19000 kJ/kg). The refrigerants (HFC/HFO blends) with a lower GWP and good efficiency are more environmentally friendly than refrigerants with a high GWP. The pure HFOs with a GWP <1 and high efficiency are environmental friendly.

 

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

Markets : Industry, Housing, Apartment buildings & service sector, Commercial
Apr 16, 2020

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Using A2L refrigerants

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

 

Has the refrigerant approval of all the major filter drier manufacturer?
Our portfolio of refrigerants have been approved by all major component OEMs, including Filter Driers.
I recommend that you contact either your distributor or wholesaler for a list of available filters.

 

Do you have any Risk Assessment guidance?
Risk assessment guidance is well described in the EN378:2016 version which includes flammable or mildly flammable refrigerants.
More generally as the risk assessment depends on the site where the refrigeration system is applied, the designer or the contractor is responsible to conduct this risk assessment analysis.
This analysis will impose criteria to be considered, depending on whether you are, a designer, an installer, an operator or a maintainer.
This study is used to identify and rate a potential hazard based on some criteria:
•    its nature;
•    the hazard situation;
•    the cause of the hazardous situation;
•    the effect of the hazardous situation;
•    the frequency of risk;
•    the severity to people, to property and to the environment;
- That gives us, an initial hazard rating;
•    Consideration will be given, to putting in place preventive measures, where necessary.
- This brings us, to the final, hazard rating.

More and more, trade associations have developed tools to support the risk assessment process.

 

What kind of measures A2L refrigerants require for safety? Acc. to EN 378, there may not be a positive distinction for A2L vs A2.
The notable difference between A2 and A2L refrigerants is the burning velocity, which is < 10 cm/s for A2L while it is > 10 cm/s for A2. This difference allows a higher charge of A2L refrigerants because the risks are considerably reduced (10 cm/s). For example: R-1234ze, R-1234yf or R-455A refrigerants have speeds < 1.5 cm/sec.

 

What kinds of testing can we expect as OEMs begin to adopt A2L refrigerants?
Compliance with the IEC 60335 series is the Standard for this product family dealing with the safety of equipment and takes precedence over horizontal and generic standards on the same subject. Most of the testing led by manufacturers and test results show that performance with A2L refrigerant in their system perform as well or even better than their appliance running with HFC refrigerant.

Which are the additional security measures in condensing units working with A2L refrigerants? Are AC fans OK?
Conformity with safety standards and current regulations in place drive the compliance with safety measures that are required. Selection of components used into the manufacturing of the condensing unit have to conform with these standards “ad minima” Generally speaking no additional measures have to be taken.

 

Do we need specialised tools or bottle connectors for A2L gasses?
Yes you will need specific vacuum pump, recovery machine, and bottles with a left hand thread. Plus leak detection equipment designed for A2L refrigerants.

 

Can we use A2L refrigerants in low temperature applications?
Yes, our refrigerants can be used at low temperatures, for example, R-455A, which can even go below -50°C, or pure HFOs in cascade with CO2.

Why is R-455A not in the Bitzer selection software?
It has now been released (on May 12th) in Bitzer’s selection software 6.14.0

What types of compressors does the R-32, R-1234yf and R-1234ze work well with?

R-32 is not a refrigerant used in refrigeration, but it usually fits well with rotary and scroll compressors due to its high pressure. R-455A, R-1234yf or R-1234ze can run any traditional compression technology used in refrigeration (pistons, scrolls, screws). Check out qualified models with your preferred compressor brands.

 

What are the specific requirements for the evacuation of these refrigerants and disposal?
The permissible refrigerant content in a room is calculated according to the recommendations of EN 378 according to its toxicity (ATEL / ODL) * or flammability (LFL*).
The safety instructions must be observed and any risk of a flammable zone must be avoided.
As is the case with all refrigerants, do not work in a room saturated with refrigerant.
The area of intervention must be ventilated so as not to create flammable concentrations (including in the zone towards which ventilation is provided) and to prevent the formation or presence of any source of ignition.

 

Can the lubricant oil selected for the compressor of the system have an affect on the flammability classification/temperature glide etc at all?

The answer is no, the oil selection is part of the qualification process of the compressor manufacturer, oil being a component of the compressor. Our A2L are used with traditional types of oils (POE) that do not impact any properties of the refrigerant fluids.

 

What about EPI and more specific about explosimeter? and how it works? how it detect the LFL %?

This equipment is not required for A1 and A2L refrigerants. It is required for A3.

A2L refrigerants are not explosive.

The majority of explosimeters operate by catalytic oxidation for measurements of gas concentrations in the air.

 

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

Markets : Industry, Housing, Apartment buildings & service sector, Commercial
Apr 15, 2020

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R-404A, R-134a replacement with an A2L refrigerant

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

 

 

 

Can we retrofit R-410A Systems to A2L? If so, what is procedure that you would recommend?
It is not possible to retrofit an installation of a refrigerant classified A1 with a refrigerant classified A2L without penalty of losing PED conformity and CE marking .
There is currently no drop-in solution for R-410A. R-452B which has the same performance as R-410A is not in the same PED category. It is an A2L fluid which must be used in an installation designed and compliant for fluids in category.

Are A2L refrigerants can be used on the system using the existing refrigerants like R-404, R-510A  and R-22 ?
There are low GWP solutions to replace all these refrigerants. But beware, you cannot convert an A1 system with an A2L fluid, otherwise you will lose the PED conformity and CE marking of the installation. This is to be avoided!

What about VRF systems? 
For the replacement of R-410A in air conditioning, the very low GWP solution is currently being validated. To date, we have some transition solutions with intermediate GWPs around 600. These solutions are all solutions for new equipment only.

 

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

Markets : Industry, Housing, Apartment buildings & service sector, Commercial
Apr 15, 2020

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A2L refrigerant glide

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

 

For the blends like R-455A: what happens if there is a leak? At which % of leaks do i need to replace the entire refrigerant content of the installation due to a too high change in the composition?
This question has been addressed by a French public research institute (CNAM) who have carried out an extremely extensive test campaign on R455A combined with measuring circulating composition by infrared spectrometry.
The aim was to generate a 30% calibrated leak in the middle of the condenser of a condensing unit. There was a measurement of the COP and the cooling capacity before / after as well as the circulating composition. Then the unit was topped-up with new R-455A and the same procedure was applied 6 times in a row.
The conclusion is clear: the unit must be topped-up with new fluid until at least 30% leakage. The performance of the system is unchanged and the composition in circulation is still within the specifications of the original product.
Therefore, there must be a much greater leakage than 30% before thinking of changing the fluid. In this case other issues such as oil leakage and the condition of the compressor would have to be considered.


L40X-mixtures of gases, what is taken care while charging in system ?
As with all refrigerants with temperature glide, the charge must be carried out in the liquid phase. Never charge in gaseous phase.

 

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

Markets : Industry, Housing, Apartment buildings & service sector, Commercial
Apr 15, 2020

See the file