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 !