Update on New Refrigerants
March 1, 2018
By Chuck White, Vice President of Regulatory Affairs
The industry has been abuzz with talks of new refrigerants and dangers that may be lurking around the corner. In an effort to reduce Global Warming Potential (GWP), research has led to new refrigerants that are classed mildly flammable (A2L) and flammable (A3). The “A” classification reflects the low toxicity of the refrigerant. The number “2” indicates “lower flammability,” “3” indicates higher flammability.
The addition of “L” in A2L indicates a low propagation rate meaning the flame is likely to self extinguish. It is of concern that these products have some level of flammability but it has been pointed out that typical refrigerants mixed with mineral oil have somewhat similar flammability issues.
There are numerous refrigerants in the market in these categories and are currently more prevalent in Europe. The United States is evaluating the applicability of these products. At this time, small refrigeration products like reach-in store displays and vending machine products are allowed limited quantities of these refrigerants.
Research has been ongoing to demonstrate the safe usage and handling of these products to widen their application in the refrigeration and air conditioning market. Research from AHRI on the risk assessment of A2L’s can be found here.
PHCC is working with other industry stakeholders to provide information about the development and implementation of systems using A2L refrigerants to keep members on the forefront of this technology.