Refrigerants: opinions of the experts in the face of changes to regulations

Interview with Jean-Pierre BOHER, manager since 2002 of CETEFF, the technical design office for energy, refrigeration and fluids installed in south-west France (31). Expert at the Toulouse Court of Appeal.


Mr Boher, our customers are wondering about the current plans for changes to the regulations. As a technical design office specalising in commercial refrigeration applications, what do you think about these changes?

JP. B: I am currently very aware of what is happening about technical fluids and future solutions. Initially, I was in favour of a wait-andsee approach regarding CO2. I waited for Bitzer to bring out its range. I then started to study it like everyone at the request of some of the supermarket and hypermarket chains who used this fluid for its below zero refrigeration output. However, I recommend moderation because it is a delicate fluid that has its own constraints and risks. "I do not look at a CO2 installation in the same way as I look at a R-404 one. I am more fearful around CO2 and in view of the very high pressure levels, how can safety be developed as these devices age?". I therefore use it at the customer's request or when it is part of a global logic that assures me that there is a refrigeration engineer who knows what to do near the point of sale...


Does the F-Gas proposal have a direct impact on your work?

JP. B: Yes. After7 or 8 years of hearing about the tax on R-404A, this is the first time that texts have actually been presented. We therefore had to react immediately. In November 2012, when the F-Gas proposal came out, we were in the middle of negotiations for two export agreements planned with R-404A. Following comparisons and thermodynamic studies, we made the decision to install PerformaxTM LT to meet tomorrow's requirements today. I was surprised to see a 5 to 6% gain in overall energy compared to R-404A on booster.


How did you find out about PerformaxTM LT?
JP. B: I got to know about PerformaxTM LT through the first installation that was carried out in France in 2010, at the Super U near Périgueux. I knew the refrigeration engineer who carried out the installation and I therefore found out about this fluid from this refrigeration engineer and then secondly from Climalife to obtain the thermodynamic characteristics.


You mention the energy saving from PerformaxTM LT, more specifically, what are its advantages in your opinion?
JP. B: I am optimistic about this new fluid because PerformaxTM LT does not require any change of equipment and yet meets the requirements of the forthcoming regulation. Furthermore, in the installations that I have already been able to carry out, I have found improved performance in above zero refrigeration and a reduction of electrical power in below zero refrigeration.


What arguments would you put forward to your clients?
JP. B: I would first of all mention its GWP, which is similar to R-134a. Then the simplicity of its implementation compared to R-404A, without the need to increase the duty of the  compressors. In addition, I would emphasise how easy it is to use for refrigeration engineers. And finally, I would explain to my customers that with PerformaxTM LT, the heat diffusors are reduced thanks to the higher temperature levels in heat recovery.


What will your recommendations be for the future?

JP. B: The purpose of our firm is to provide technical support for all stakeholders, users and project managers of refrigeration stations. In view of these developments, we will adapt "What we can do today is something that we couldn't do yesterday." We should recommend suitable solutions for controlling electricity consumption as we did in the past with the booster system (energy saving, increased output, doubling the life of a below zero refrigeration compressor,...) but always with the aim of simplicity.


Regarding HFO, have you any questions yet?
JP. B: I have already heard about HFO and I am very interested in this new generation. Nonetheless, I wonder about its flammability, which risks delaying it being put into application...