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Ozone hole has shrunk by more than four million square kilometers

In the period from 2000-2015, the hole in the ozone layer shrank by more than 4 million square kilometers - nearly a billion acres - according to a new report in the journal Science. During the 1980s and into the 1990s, news of a massive hole in the ozone layer caused worldwide panic, stoked by everything from rumors of sheep being blinded by increased atmospheric radiation to the fear of a skin cancer pandemic and even comparisons to “AIDS from the sky.” Now scientists at MIT along with others have found that since 2000 the ozone hole has actually shrunk by an area half the size of the contiguous United States, although the process is also heavily affected by variables such as volcanic eruptions from year to year. Bryan Johnson, a research chemist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, has noted attention shifting over the years from one environmental concern to another.

“There are three phases to atmospheric concerns,” Johnson says. “First there was acid rain. Then it was the ozone hole. Now it’s greenhouse gases like CO2.” In reaction to fears over the ozone hole, most of the nations in the world agreed to the Montreal Protocol in 1987, which banned the use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which had been tied to the creation of the ozone hole. The lead author of the recent study on the ozone layer believes that the reversal of the hole’s expansion is in large part a result of the Protocol. “We can now be confident that the things we’ve done have put the planet on a path to heal,” said Susan Solomon, Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry and Climate Science at MIT. “We got rid of them, and now we’re seeing the planet respond.” Just three years ago, scientists were predicting that the ozone hole would start shrinking “in about a decade,” but it turned out that the hole had already gotten considerably smaller than they realized. In 2015, the ozone hole reached a record size, but Solomon and her colleagues discovered that the spike in ozone depletion was due primarily to the eruption of the Chilean volcano Calbuco.

Source: Ozone Action

 

Beware of the dangers of black market refrigerants

Counterfeits - imitations of branded products from reputable, original manufacturers - exist in both consumer and industry environments, but the negative implications of the latter are much more dangerous.

A good example to start with is that of designer handbags, and how it may be tempting to purchase what appears to be a bargain in an online auction rather than from an authorised retailer.  However, if the product turns out to be counterfeit and of poor quality, the buyer may well be disappointed and have little or no comeback.

When buyers don’t realise the bargain is in fact a counterfeit, they are left to assume that the brand owner has supplied a poor quality product which in turn damages brand value and reputation, both hard-won prizes.

Unlike consumer environments, in the refrigerant sector the damage done by counterfeit products can go far beyond harm to the brand. Opting for an inauthentic refrigerant can have serious negative consequences for the staff, equipment and environment. Despite this, there has been a rise in the volume of counterfeit products on the market.

The rise of counterfeit refrigerants

Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) and hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) refrigerants have historically been used in refrigeration and air conditioning systems. However, when their ozone depleting potential came to light, the Montreal Protocol was established to limit environmental impact.

The phase down of these popular refrigerants led to the development and introduction of a new generation of substances, the hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). Whilst HFCs have zero ozone depleting potential, many are perceived to have high global warming potential (GWP). Industry is now moving away from higher GWP refrigerants on a global basis with a new international agreement; the Kigali amendment to the Montreal Protocol, will now see an HFC phase down in some countries from 2019.  This agreement supplements measures already in place in both Europe, the US and Japan.

In the move away from higher GWP refrigerants, companies are looking to alternatives including; hydrofluorolefins (HFOs) and non-halogenated ‘natural’ refrigerants. Although the newly developed refrigerants can have a lower direct global warming impact and zero ozone depleting potential, they present other concerns to system operators in characteristics, cost and safety.

There have been numerous examples of fraudulent refrigerant identification across the globe. In 2013, as many as 3,500 cylinders of apparently branded refrigerant were seized in Saudi Arabia. More recently, in 2015, 900 cylinders of counterfeit refrigerant were seized in China.

Because counterfeit refrigerants are not made to the exacting specifications as the genuine branded products, they could be contaminated, diluted or even a completely different substance from what is advertised. Unlike when buying from a reputable supplier, such as Mexichem, there is no guarantee that the refrigerant will meet that specification or Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) standard 700, which details the acceptable purities and compositions of refrigerants. A refrigerant that does not match specification can negatively impact the equipment in the system and can become a health and safety hazard.

System damage and performance

The most common result of using a counterfeit refrigerant is decreased system performance. This can be either because the refrigerant is not compatible with the system or because it has different characteristics to the ones expected, for example, different operating pressure. However, contaminated refrigerants can cause a range of issues including; increased energy consumption, reduced equipment operating life, system failure and even dramatic incidents such as fires and explosions, which can result in injuries or death.

Introducing a refrigerant of poor quality or of an incompatible type to the system can also lead to equipment damage resulting in unwanted maintenance costs or downtime.

Safety

One major safety problem is that some counterfeit refrigerants have been found to contain a flammable compound, methyl chloride, which reacts with the aluminium in HVAC systems to generate reactive, toxic compounds which can burn violently when exposed to air.

An example of such an incident happened in 2011, where refrigerated shipping containers exploded in Vietnam and Brazil, subsequently killing three dockworkers. This was a result of methyl chloride contamination in the refrigerant, which was used in up to 8,000 containers.

Environmental implications

Counterfeit refrigerant is often smuggled between countries and operates outside the purview of environmental and other legislation. The reported incidents of methyl chloride contamination have been associated with counterfeit R134a refrigerant. However, R134a has also been contaminated with banned refrigerants such as R22. Not only can this have legal consequences such as severe fines, but buying refrigerant containing ozone-depleting substances is also undermining regulations designed to protect the environment.

Even when the identity of the refrigerant is the same as that of the branded  product, the supply of black market material also acts to undermine the environmental regulations; there is little point in having controls on what can be placed on the market by authorised suppliers when there is little or no control on the supply of under-the-counter products.  If the environmental regulations are to work in the way they were envisaged, refrigerant importers need to be licensed in the same way that they were to control use of CFCs and HCFCs. Policing of refrigerant import and placing on the market will help ensure that that the end-user will source refrigerant from reputable suppliers who abide by the rules.

As discussed, counterfeit or poor quality refrigerant can also lead to decreased system efficiency, which increases the power consumption. In addition to greater running costs, the majority of a refrigeration system’s carbon footprint comes from its power consumption and anything that acts to decrease efficiency is clearly bad news for the environment.

Detection methods

Fraudulent suppliers often plagiarise the packaging of reputable brands, which means the appearance of the packet is not enough to ensure the purchase of a genuine product. Although it’s not always possible to detect a counterfeit refrigerant from its packaging, it is possible to test a purchased product. One such refrigerant test is halide torch testing, which can be used to check for chlorinated compounds.

Equipment capable of detecting the unsafe refrigerant methyl chloride at low quantities has been available since 2012. This equipment can also be used to test for other contaminants including CFCs and hydrocarbons. Companies should use a combination of detection methods to safeguard the system from multiple contaminants. However, AHRI does not recommend pressure testing alone as a method of counterfeit detection, since  a contaminant refrigerant blend could have similar pressures to the in-specification products but still result in unsatisfactory performance.

Tackling the issue

One of the biggest challenges of tackling the counterfeit refrigerant problem is that imitation products are marketed and sold in copied packaging, meaning that an inexperienced purchaser may easily be fooled. To avoid this, buyers should work together with original refrigerant manufacturers to understand how to differentiate between reliable original refrigerants and potentially dangerous imitations.

AHRI has published a white paper that explains four steps to avoiding counterfeit refrigerants. These include knowing your supplier, verifying refrigerant in cylinder, checking refrigerant before repairing or servicing and isolating contaminated systems. Following these steps helps purchasers and system operators protect themselves from the problems associated with counterfeit refrigerants.

At the end of the day, the best way that end users can be certain that they are purchasing a genuine product is to buy from a reputable supplier. By purchasing from a trusted supplier, you can ensure you don’t unwittingly end up with the equivalent of a knock-off handbag.

Source: ACR

 

Air conditioning faces flammable future

USA: A search of more than 60 million chemicals to find a replacement for R410A in air conditioning systems has found just 27 suitably-efficient fluids – but all are at least slightly flammable.

The multi-year study was carried out by researchers at the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to identify the best candidates for future use as air conditioning refrigerants that will have the lowest impact on the climate.

The study found no ideal refrigerant that combined low GWP with other desirable performance and safety features such as being both non-flammable and non-toxic. All 27 fluids NIST identified as the best from a performance viewpoint are, at best, slightly flammable, which is not allowed under US safety codes for most end uses. And several fluids among the list of refrigerants are highly flammable.

The authors of the report, published in Nature Communications, maintains that the 27 fluids are the ‘best’ low-GWP fluids allowed by chemistry.

“It is highly unlikely that any better-performing fluids will be found, and unknown risks associated with the lesser-known fluids may further reduce the list,” the authors say.

“The takeaway is there is no perfect, easy replacement for current refrigerants,” NIST chemical engineer Mark McLinden said. “Going into the study, we thought surely there has to be something else. Turns out, not so much. So it was a bit surprising, a bit disappointing,” he said.

The recent global decision to phase-down HFCs under the Montreal Protocol, added to the pre-existing European F-gas phase-down has prompted regulations which will see the elimination of many of the highest GWP refrigerants from certain applications. These include common refrigerants like R404A and R134a where suitable alternatives are known to exist.

“It is highly unlikely that any better-performing fluids will be found, and unknown risks associated with the lesser-known fluids may further reduce the list”

R410A, a blend of R32 and R125, and currently the dominant refrigerant in small air conditioning systems, stands somewhat exposed with its relatively high GWP of around 2000 – 50% higher than R134a. Many feel that a replacement for R410A will need to be found if the global phase-down targets are to be achieved.

R32 has been introduced by Daikin and others for use in small splits and propane is also being considered in similar applications in some Far East markets. However, their flammability precludes their use under current national and international safety standards in all but the smaller systems.

“The path forward will involve tradeoffs,” said Mark McLinden. “Safety codes could be revised to allow the use of slightly flammable refrigerants. Blends of two or more fluids could yield a non-flammable refrigerant, but at a higher GWP. Carbon dioxide is nonflammable, but would require a complete redesign of AC equipment.”

Because all current refrigerants are small molecules, the NIST search was limited to molecules with 18 or fewer atoms and only eight elements that form compounds volatile enough to serve as refrigerants. This initial screen resulted in 184,000 molecules to be considered further.

Screening for energy properties corresponding to fluids usable in small AC systems and GWP of less than 1,000 yielded 138 fluids. This included the new low GWP HFOs R1234yf and 1234ze amongst an incredible number of 45 HFOs.

The researchers then simulated the performance of these 138 compounds in air conditioners. Further screening to rule out chemically unstable or very toxic compounds or those with low

The report focuses on single-component refrigerants (pure fluids) but recognises that refrigerant blends offer additional possibilities, although the trade-off to reducing flammability will be higher GWPs.

“We do not consider blends explicitly but, for the sake of completeness, do include several fluids that would not be suitable low-GWP fluids in their own right but that might be useful as a blend component,” the report says.

“Looking forward, the NIST study’s conclusions indicate the need to recognise and deal with trade-offs in planning for the future,” McLinden said.

“For example, how should safety codes be changed to ensure that flammable refrigerants can be used safely? Blends of different refrigerants may offer a compromise between safety and GWP. For example, a low GWP but flammable fluid blended with a nonflammable but high-GWP fluid could result in a nonflammable fluid with a moderate value of GWP, McLinden noted.

Source: Cool Post

 

Honeywell launches new low GWP refrigerants
to its range

Refrigerant and chemicals manufacturer, Honeywell has a new, low global warming potential refrigerant designed for medium and low temperature standalone applications.

Solstice L40X (R455A) is an A2L refrigeration which will have broad appeal in the heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration industry because of its suitability for use in small charge, plug-in type cabinets, condensing units, monoblocs for cold rooms and freezer rooms, small & large chillers  and heat pumps.

Honeywell's new product has a GWP of 146 (96% lower than R404A), which means it is below the F Gas regulations ban on refrigerants with a GWP of 150 in airtight container applications. Solstice L40X, Honeywell claims, provides up to 3% higher capacity, and up to 6% more efficiency at low temperature than R404A. On flammability, the refrigerant is lower risk than propane, for example.

These HFO (Hydrofluoroolefin) refrigerants will be around for decades, as stated by Honeywell who have invested $900 million in developing them. With that, Honeywell believes they are a good, long term investment for companies who to be both environmentally friendly and efficient.

Source: Cool Post

 

Chemours adds new low GWP refrigerants
to its range

Chemicals manufacturer, Chemours, is adding to its range of low global warming potential refrigerants in its Opteon XL portfolio.

The range is specific to the air conditioning and refrigeration industry. The A2L (mildly flammable) refrigerants allow for higher charge sizes than other refrigerants with a higher flammability. The refrigerants are based on hydrofluoro-olefin (HFO) technology, and have similar properties, and higher performance, in most cases, than the hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)  they replace.

There are five refrigerants in the Opteon XL range, namely Opteon XL10 (a R134a replacement), Opteon XL20 and XL40 (which replace R22 and R404A/507), and Opteon XL41 & XL55 (replacing R410A).

Opteon XL10 (R-1234yf) replaces R134a and has a GWP of less than 1. Chemours states it is a replacement for 'new equipment designs'. Engineers should use them in positive displacement, direct expansion medium temperature commercial and industrial applications.

Opteon XL20 (R-454C) replaces R404A and R407C refrigerants in new equipment designs. It has a GWP of 146. Chemours designed it for positive displacement, direct expansion low- and medium temperature commercial and industrial applications. Because it comes under the 150 threshold value in F-Gas legislation 517/2014 and Eco-design, the refrigerant is ideal for hermetically-sealed systems.

Opteon XL40 (R-454A) in an R404A replacement and has a GWP of 238. Engineers should use the refrigerant in positive displacement, direct expansion low- and medium temperature commercial and industrial applications.

Opteon XL41 (R-454B) has a GWP of 467 and replaces R410A in new systems. Its applications include positive displacement, direct expansion air conditioning, heat pump and chiller applications.

Finally, Opteon XL55 (R-452B) has a GWP of 676, and it replaces R410A, but has 'design compatibility with R410A equipment and lower 2L flammability properties'. The refrigerant can be used in positive displacement, direct expansion air conditioning, heat pump and chiller applications.

Source: Cool Post

 

Australian low GWP refrigerant switch

From January 2018 end-users in Australia will have to begin the switch to low GWP refrigerants. This includes changing to new equipment or retrofitting, something supermarkets in Europe are already doing as they move away from what was once the go-to refrigerant R404A.

It is in Australia’s favour that in this market there are already a sizeable number of CO2 installations in place. This trend followed the introduction of a carbon tax on HFCs in Australia – which drove up the price of refrigerants – and persuaded supermarkets that CO2 made a good alternative.

In the UK, supermarkets have opted for an alternative strategy. They are already trialling non-flammable HFO blends, R448A and R449A, in low and medium temperature applications. These next generation refrigerants combine optimum cooling with improved energy efficiency and lower GWP.

Small quantities of R22 are still used in Australia – although it is heavily regulated – with reclaimed gas filling the pipeline. Reductions in its use are planned year on year. In Europe and the UK Reclaimed R22 has been banned since January 2015. There is a raft of alternatives to R22 available in the UK, each designed to do a different job, but there are no doubt systems in the UK still running on R22 illegally.

Source: ACR

 

Four new refrigerants seek ASHRAE approval

USA: The number of potential new lower GWP refrigerants continues to rise with four more proposed for inclusion in ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 34-2013.

The new refrigerants are an Arkema blend R459A and three Mexichem blends R459B, R460A and R460B.

Standard 34-2013, Designation and Safety Classification of Refrigerants, describes a shorthand way
of naming refrigerants and assigns safety classifications based on toxicity and flammability data.

Both Arkema’s R459A and Mexichem’s R459B blends comprise differing amounts of R32, and the HFOs R1234yf and R1234ze(E). Their potential application is not revealed but similar blends have been developed as replacements for R410A. Both of the new blends are A2L “mildly flammables”.

Arkema’s R459A mixes R32, 1234yf and 1234ze(E) in proportions of 68%/ 26%/6%.

The Mexichem refrigerant R459B is a blend of the same refrigerants but in very different proportions: 21% R32, 69% R1234yf and 10% R1234ze.

The other two refrigerants, R460A and R460B, are both proposed by Mexichem and claim the A1, non-toxic, non flammable classification. Both comprise differing blends of R32, R125, R134a and 1234ze(E).

The R460B blend appears to be a very close match to the development refrigerant LTR4X which Mexichem has been promoting as a possible replacement for R404A and R22. Its blend of 28% R32, 25% 125, 20% 134a and 27% R1234ze(E) only differs from LTR4X by an extra 4% 134a at the expense of 1234ze.

The proportions of R460A are very different: 12% R-32, 52% R125, 14% R134a and 22% R1234ze(E).

Faced with a global phase-down of higher GWP HFCs, it has become a high stakes game to find safe alternatives. Earlier this year the Cooling Post revealed that at least 80 refrigerants were currently in use or under consideration to replace existing high GWP refrigerants, and there are more in the pipeline. Amazingly, ASHRAE records show that well over 200 applications for refrigerant classifications have been received since 1993. Not all have been successful or the application completed, and some have fallen into disuse, but the number still looks set to rise.

Source: Cool Post

 

30 Years of healing the ozone layer together

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer, an important milestone in the protection of the ozone layer.

As a result of concerted global efforts, the ozone layer is healing itself and is expected to recover by the middle of this century. In addition, up to 2 million cases of skin cancer may be prevented each year by 2030 and significant adverse effects on agriculture, wildlife, fisheries and materials have been avoided.

Source: Ozone Action

 

Ozone-depleting man Anil Jain in DRI net

A nearly three-month hunt by sleuths of the directorate of revenue intelligence for the brain behind importing ozone depleting gas from China as ozone layer friendly substance came to an end on Tuesday when they arrested T. Anil Jain, managing director, Refex Refrigerants, in Chennai. According to Egmore EOW court sources, the DRI remanded him in judicial custody on Tuesday.

He was allegedly importing banned and ozone depleting R-22 gas from China and selling it in India as ozone layer-friendly gas R134a.Anil Jain runs his factory in Tiruporur on OMR where he had been filling smaller cans with R-22 gas and selling it as R134a. The DRI, following the Montreal Protocol on environment protection, seized 80,000 kg of banned refrigerant gas, an ozone-depleting substance, worth over Rs 1 crore [around US $210,000], imported from China by him after declaring it as legally permitted substance, in January this year.

The seizure was the result of specific intelligence input and was done from the Madhavaram container freight station The businessman was importing dichlorodifluoromethane, commonly known as R-22 gas, which is an ozone-depleting substance.

He had declared the substance as R134a (tetrafluoroethane), which is costly, and ozone layer-friendly. At the time of the seizure, Anil Jain was not in Chennai and was arrested as soon as he returned from abroad.

Source: Ozone Action

 

UK manufacturer selects a new low GWP substitute for R-404A

In anticipation of the F-Gas Regulation 517 (2014) which will ban HFCs with a GWP higher than 2,500 by 2020 in stationary refrigeration equipment, new blends having a lower GWP alternative to R-404A (GWP of 3,922) continue to be introduced for specific applications.

In anticipation of the F-Gas Regulation 517 (2014) which will ban HFCs with a GWP higher than 2,500 by 2020 in stationary refrigeration equipment, new blends having a lower GWP alternative to R-404A (GWP of 3,922) continue to be introduced for specific applications.

R-448A (blend of HFC-32/HFC-125/HFC-134a/HFO-1234yf/HFO-1234zeE, 26/26/21/20/7 % weight - GWP of 1,386) has recently been selected by a British equipment manufacturer, for a range of freezer and blast chiller products, both delivering lower environmental impact and improved energy efficiency.

Source: RACplus

 

HFO-1336mzz(z) for high temperature heat pumps

Heat Pumps are favoured for their ability to deliver heat from low temperature sources at more useful temperature levels, with the advantage of contributing significantly to reduce primary energy and CO2 emissions.

Heat Pumps are favoured for their ability to deliver heat from low temperature sources at more useful temperature levels, with the advantage of contributing significantly to reduce primary energy and CO2 emissions.

The higher the temperature the greater the number of applications where the upgraded heat can be used. However, until recently there was no suitable working fluid that had a high enough critical temperature to be used in such applications.

A new HFO, HFO-1336mzzZ has been developed, which might be the solution, because of its boiling point of 33.4 °C and its relatively high critical temperature of 171.3 °C (101.1 °C for HFC-134a, or 154 °C for HFC-245fa). The product has a GWP of 2, is non-flammable and non-toxic, and is very stable at high temperatures.

Its high critical temperature can help to expand the range of heat pump use, delivering condensing temperatures up to 160 °C with attractive energy efficiency.

Source: KTH Department of Energy Technology

 

TEGA to blend climate-friendly, ASHRAE-listed hydrocarbon refrigerants HCR188C/R441A and HCR188C/R443A

Technische Gase und Gasetechnik (TEGA) GmbH, a subsidiary of The Linde Group, has signed an agreement with A. S. Trust & Holdings, Inc. to blend the climate-friendly, ASHRAE-listed hydrocarbon refrigerants HCR188C/R441A and HCR188C/R443A. TEGA, based in Würzburg, Germany, will have exclusive blending rights within the European Union. Work is underway for the TEGA blending facility to be ETL safety certified by Intertek Germany for this production; the company expects to go into production within 30 days.

HCR188C/R441A, a substitute for R134A refrigerant, and HCR188C/R443A, a substitute for R22 refrigerant, are both patented and trademarked zero-ozone-depleting/extremely low global-warming-potential (GWP) hydrocarbon blends. Their formulations were developed over the past fifteen years by Hawaii businessman and inventor, Richard Maruya, of A.S. Trust & Holdings.

HCR188C/R441A has been listed on the U.S. Federal Register for use in vending machines, household models of refrigerators, stand-alone freezers and window-air- conditioners, and commercial models of refrigerators, freezers and stand-alone refrigerated display cases. Applications have been submitted for additional uses, including motor-vehicle air-conditioning systems, refrigerated transport (refrigerated trucks and shipping containers), and residential models of heat-pumps, portable room air-conditioners and split-system air-conditioning units.

TEGA, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Linde Group, is ISO 9001:2008 certified, and is one of the main distributors for flammable and non-flammable refrigerants in Europe.

Source: Hydrocarbons 21

 

Fluorocarbon blends give the lowest LCCP as
R410A replacement

Comparing lower GWP alternatives for a 10 kW R-410A Heat pump, a study carried on by the IIR Working Group on LCCP Evaluation concluded that blends of HFC-32 with HFOs had a lower LCCP than HFC-32 or propane R-290.

Comparing lower GWP (Global Warming Potential) alternatives for a 10 kW R-410A Heat pump, a study carried on by the IIR (International Institute of Refrigeration) Working Group on LCCP (Life Cycle Climate Performance) Evaluation concluded that blends of HFC-32 with HFOs (GWP around 500) had a lower LCCP than HFC-32 or propane R-290.

Energy consumption was calculated using the AHRTI LCCP tool with the performance information from Alternative Refrigerants

Evaluation Program (AREP) Report #22, and average leakage rates were from UNEP Technical Options Committee 2002 report and ICCP Fourth assessment report (2007). It was noted that leakage rates have dropped over the last decade and continue to drop, and that the values used should be updated as new information becomes available.

The two refrigerant blends contained around 72 % HFC-32 and HFO-1234yf or HFO-1234zeE.

In case of the lower GWP alternatives, total lifetime GHG (Greenhouse Gases) emissions due to energy consumption represented from 95.5 % to 98.7% of total emissions. The authors noted that, for this reason, the most effective way to reduce emissions is to increase the energy efficiency of the unit.

Source: EFCTC

 

HFCS still contribute less than 0.8 % to atmospheric greenhouse gases

The US NOAA has released its 2014 update of the AGGI, intended to follow the evolution of the radiative forcing of greenhouse gases.

The US NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) has released its 2014 update of the AGGI (Annual Greenhouse Gas Index), intended to follow the evolution of the radiative forcing (ability of all greenhouse gases to trap heat) of greenhouse gases.

As in 2013, the HFC impact remains just below 0.8% of the total, a share that is unlikely to be higher in the future if the proposals for an international HFC phase-down are adopted.

By contrast, the contribution of the five more important greenhouse gases account for around 96 % of the total impact. CO2 , by far the largest contributor to the AGGI in terms of both amount and rate of increase, represent 65%, N2O 6.4 %, CH4 17%, CFC 11 and 12 7.7 % of all emissions.

The remaining 4% is contributed by the 15 minor halogenated gases, which, besides HFCs 134a, 152a, 23, 143a, and 125, and SF6 , are ODS (Ozone Depleting Substances) CFC-113, CCl4, CH3CCl3, HCFCs 22, 141b and 142b, and Halons 1211, 1301 and 2402.

Figure : Global average abundances of the major greenhouse gases – CO2 (in ppm), methane and N2O (in ppb), CFC-12, CFC-11, HCFC-22 and HFC-134a (in ppt).

 

In terms of CO2 equivalents, the atmosphere in 2014 contained 481 ppm, of which 397 was CO2 alone.

The total radiative forcing increased 36 % from 1990 to 2014 (by ~0.77 watts m-2), and CO2 has accounted for nearly 80% of this increase (~0.62 watts m-2). The CFC PHASE OUT, and the substitution of CFCs and HCFCs, notably by HFCs, avoided an additional 0.3 W m-2 of global radiative forcing. This has offset more than half of the increase in radiative forcing due to CO2 alone since 1990.

Figure : Share of the long-lived, well-mixed greenhouse gases. The impacts from PFCs and SF6 are too low to appear on this scale of graph.

Source : AGGI and Private Communication (for the 15 minor gases)

Note : The results reported here are based mainly on atmospheric measurements of long-lived, well mixed gases and have small uncertainties. They encompass all emissions of greenhouse gases, including those from countries that do not report under the Rio Convention.

Source: EFCTC

 

USA: DuPont is considering selling all or part of its Performance Chemicals division, a sector of the company which includes its refrigerants business. The division, which includes its Titanium Technologies and Chemicals & Fluoroproducts businesses, generated total sales of $7.2bn in 2012.

According to the company, it will consider strategic alternatives which may include a full or partial separation of each of these businesses from the company through a spin-off, sale or other transaction.

"We have been carefully weighing the strong cash generation of our Performance Chemicals businesses against their cyclicality and lower growth profile, as well as where the power of DuPont's integrated science can be differentiated," said chair and CEO Ellen Kullman. "We are evaluating options for our Performance Chemicals businesses as part of our ongoing plan to deliver higher growth and greater value creation for our shareholders."

Source: Cooling Post

 

USA: A new refrigerant blend based around HFO1234ze could be a viable, less flammable alternative to 1234yf in car air conditioning systems.

The new refrigerant is one of two being developed by Mexichem and the subject of extensive testing by SAE International. One of the new refrigerants in particular, AC6 (R445A), displayed lower flammability risks compared to R1234yf.

Although R1234yf has been cleared as safe by the SAE, controversy still exists amongst German car manufacturers, particularly Daimler, regarding the potential safety of this gas in the event of head-on vehicle collisions.

Mexichem’s AC6 is a mixture of 1234ze(E), 134a and CO2 (85%/9%/6%). Its sister product AC5 (R444A) is a blend of 1234ze(E), R32 and R152a (83%/12%/5%).

Both new refrigerants meet the requirements of the EU MAC Directive and exhibit risk profiles said to be equal to or better than R1234yf, the popular choice for the replacement of R134a in car air conditioning systems.

AC5 is said to closely match the performance of R134a whilst having similar flammability characteristics to R1234yf. AC6 has a slightly higher refrigeration capacity than R134a but with reduced flammability compared to R1234yf. In fact, according to the report, AC6 is not flammable at normal ambient temperature, unlike R1234yf and AC5.

Source: Cooling Post

 

RUSSIA: Customs officers at the port of Taganrog have intercepted over 4,000kg of R22 disguised
as R134a

During routine inspections earlier this month customs officers found 300 cylinders in boxes labelled as R134a. Further investigation revealed that the boxes actually contained cylinders marked as containing R22, a fact later confirmed in chemical tests. The import and export of R22 in Russia, although not yet completely banned, is restricted and subject to licensing.

Illegal imports of refrigerants from China via the bordering countries of Ukraine and Kazakhstan are a problem for Russia in its efforts to phase-out ozone-depleting substances.

Source: Cooling Post

 

CHINA:  Now the Chinese are hit by fakers. 
An established Chinese manufacturer of process refrigeration chillers has complained of having
his products copied.

Proving that it is not just well-known western brands that are targeted by counterfeiters, Chinese manufacturer Guangzhou Teyu Electromechanical, a company established in 2002 and producing around 50,000 process chillers per year, has complained of sub-standard fakes being passed off as its own S&A brand product. Guangzhou Teyu’s overseas sales manager Mia Fung told the Cooling Post that customers are easily deceived by the copies “because it looks quite like ours no matter from the chiller appearance, logo or packing. It’s difficult for customers to tell it at the beginning until the counterfeits have problems and customers ask us directly for after-sales service.” The problem has been around for some while and has affected products across the company’s range.

Source: Cooling Post

 

USA: Air-conditioner thief agrees to prison term for Freon leaks. For the first time in U.S. District Court
in Columbus, a man has pleaded guilty to violating federal clean-air regulations for releasing air-conditioning refrigerant into the air.

Martin C. Eldridge III, 35, formerly of 4680 Sullivant Ave. in Franklin Township, pleaded guilty yesterday to one count of violating the Clean Air Act.

He agreed to a 31-month prison term and 200 hours of community service as part of a plea deal.

A federal judge will determine at sentencing if the court will accept the deal. No sentencing date has been set.

According to court documents, Eldridge and others stole 49 air conditioners for parts in 2013. During the thefts, Eldridge cut tubing that ran from each unit to the building it serviced, and that released the refrigerant HCFC-22, also known as Freon, into the air.

HCFC-22 is a threat to the ozone layer and is regulated under the Clean Air Act.

The cost to replace or repair the units was $200,000, according to a bill of information charging Eldridge.

He has been in custody since October on state charges. He pleaded guilty in April in Franklin County Common Pleas Court to one count of theft, one count of failure to appear and two counts of aggravated possession of drugs.

He is expected to be sentenced on those charges in August.

Source: The Columbus Dispatch

 

BRUSSELS: Leaders at the G7 Summit have promised to push for a phase-down of HFCs and to promote the public procurement of HFC alternatives

Backing calls for concrete action to reduce emissions at the Climate Summit in September, the G7 leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and USA, pledged to promote the use of renewable energies, nuclear power and carbon capture and storage. Parties to the Summit agreed that urgent and concrete action was needed to address climate change and limit the increase in global temperature to less than 2°C above pre-industrial levels.

The G7 leaders also pledged to work together to promote the phase down of HFCs under the Montreal Protocol. “We will also continue to take action to promote the rapid deployment of climate-friendly and safe alternatives in motor vehicle air-conditioning and we will promote public procurement of climate-friendly HFC alternatives” they said.

Source: Cooling Post

 

HFOs have lower GWPs than CO2 - new report

USA: The new HFO alternative refrigerants have been found to have GWPs below that of carbon dioxide, according to a new study.

An independent peer-reviewed paper published in the latest issue of Reviews of Geophysics found both R1234yf and R1234ze to have GWPs less than the baseline of 1 for CO2 and substantially lower than previously thought. Until now, R1234yf had a published GWP of 4 and 1234ze 6.

The paper, Global warming potentials and radiative efficiencies of halocarbons and related compounds: A comprehensive review, found the radiative efficiencies (RE) of 49 compounds to be significantly different from those in the published in the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report (AR4). The report also presents new RE values for more than 100 gases which were not included in AR4.

The paper was produced by several leading chemists and environmental scientists from Europe and the US, is the first known study where the GWPs of all fluorocarbon-based refrigerants have been calculated consistently using all available atmospheric data, taking into account local atmospheric patterns.

Source: ACR News

 

February 17, 2014

ASHRAE publishes new editions of Refrigerant
Safety Standards

ASHRAE has announced that the 2013 editions of its refrigerant safety standards, incorporating 41 new addenda, have been published.

ASHRAE said requirements in ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 34-2013, Designation and Safety Classification of Refrigerants, and ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 15-2013, Safety Standard for Refrigeration Systems, complement each other in that Standard 34 describes a shorthand way of naming refrigerants and assigns safety classifications based on toxicity and flammability data. Standard 15 establishes rules for safe application in equipment and systems. ASHRAE sells the standards as a set.

Standard 34-2013 contains the 2010 standard and 36 published addenda. Key changes to the standard include:

• Assignment of designations and safety classifications for one new single compound refrigerant and 14 new refrigerant blends.

• Changed the refrigeration concentration limits (RCL) values of 19 refrigerants listed in the 2010 standard to comply with more current methodology.

• Changed the flammability safety classifications of four refrigerants from Class 2 to Subclass 2L, based on optional burning velocity measurement data.

• Added Toxicity Code Classification assignments for 18 refrigerants that had been unassigned in the 2010 standard.

• Clarified methodology for conducting flammability tests and for determination of fractionated compositions for flammability testing.

• Updated methodology by which the heat of combustion is calculated for refrigerant blends, and provided heat of combustion calculation examples for refrigerant blends.

• Defined requirements that applicants shall provide evidence of the existence of an azeotropic blend, if requesting an R-500 series designation.

• Modified sections of the standard to add bubble-point and dew-point definitions and test conditions, clarified applicant documentation requirements related to GLP compliance and added critical pressure data and specific volume calculation methodology for applicant submissions.

Standard 15 contains the 2010 standard plus five published addenda. Key changes to the standard include:

• Clarification of the location requirements for machinery room mechanical ventilation.

• Clarification that design pressure is expressed in terms of relative pressure or gauge pressure (not absolute pressure).

• Wording to ensure the standard more closely harmonizes with the 2012 International Mechanical Code (IMC) section 1101.10.

Standard 15-2013 and Standard 34-2013 are sold together. The cost is $107 ($89, ASHRAE members). To order, contact ASHRAE Customer Contact Center at 800-527-4723 (United States and Canada) or 404-636-8400 (worldwide), fax 678-539-2129, or visit www.ashrae.org/bookstore.

 

February 5, 2014

Chinese smash R134a counterfeiting ring

CHINA: Honeywell and DuPont have been victims of counterfeiters but it seems the Chinese are also quite prepared to fake their own.

At the end of last year officers broke up an operation producing fake Giant brand refrigerant for car air conditioners and confiscated equipment thought to be worth over CNY50m (£5M).

Eighteen people were arrested from four criminal gangs across a number of Chinese provinces. Police uncovered an operation involving five illegal production facilities, 11 storage warehouses and two sales offices. In all, 28,000 aerosol cans of fake Giant brand R134a and other refrigerant brands were confiscated along with thousands of empty counterfeit refrigerant cans, filling machines, fake packaging, packaging machines and other counterfeiting equipment and more than 20 tons of raw materials.

The Giant brand is well-known in China and is legally produced by a subsidiary of Zhejiang Quzhou Juhua Co, itself a producer of the refrigerant blend component HFC125 for Honeywell.

There are hundreds of indigenous R134a refrigerant brands in China of which nearly 80% are thought to be counterfeit. Many of these counterfeits are dangerous and potentially lethal. Some contain hydrocarbons or even liquified petroleum or other flammables which is said to have led to car fires, explosions and injuries. Some contain R134a plus R12 or R415A (a flammable mixture of R22 and R152a) or R406 (a mixture R142b, R22 and isobutane). There have also been well-reported incidents of R40 (methyl chloride) being used – the component which was blamed for explosions and three deaths in the reefer industry in 2011.

Other fakes are just of low quality, impure and moisture-laden which accelerate the wear of automobile compressors or cause components to leak or malfunction.

Source: ACR News

 

January 31, 2014

Mexichem, DuPont and Honeywell announced new HFO-based alternatives for R404A and R134a.

Refrigeration-sector news .

M. Cooper, sales manager for Mexichem, revealed in RAC the manufacturer’s offering for stationary refrigeration would be based on its AC5 refrigerant (R444A) which has been undergoing development as a mobile air-conditioning refrigerant.
AC5 has a GWP of 90 but is rated A2L (mildly flammable) by ASHRAE. So Mexichem has also developed AC5X, which is non-flammable but has a higher GWP of 620. Both are said equivalent to R134a in performance.
M. Cooper concluded that “optimizing performance is a trade-off between GWP, flammability and energy efficiency. There is no perfect refrigerant so you have to make a compromise”.
He also announced HFO-based replacement for R404A called LTR4X, which has a GWP of about 1300 and which could be described as an even lower version of R407A.

J. Gerstel, product manager for DuPont revealed its non-flammable HFO-based replacement for R404A, known as XP40 (GWP = 1400) was in advanced stages of development. He mentioned that DuPont’s tests for low and medium temperatures have shown that its energy efficiency was 8-12% better than R404A.

K. Takise, Asia Business Director for Honeywell, confirmed to JARN that Honeywell alternatives to R404A were N-40, a non-flammable refrigerant which has a GWP of around 1300 and L-40, a mildly flammable refrigerant with a GWP of less than 300.

Source: Refrigeration and Air Conditioning, December 2013ᅠ
JARN, November 25, 2013

 

January 30, 2014

Large ODS smuggling path closed in Russia. Three arrested, one under travel restrictions.

In January 2014, the Main Office for Combating Economic and Corruption Crimes and Investigative Department of the Russia’s Ministry of the Interior executed a major operation for detention and arrest of organizers and perpetrators of a large path for smuggling ozone-depleting substances into the territory of the Russian Federation.

The operation took place in 5 constituent entities of the country and ended with more than 20 searches, 3 organizers arrested by court order, and one perpetrator under travel restrictions.

The operation resulted in revealing and seizure of more than 1,500 cylinders of various size with R-11, R-12, R-22, R-141b, home-made reclamation and filling equipment, and documents, seals and such labelling devices as templates, stencils.

The seized refrigerants are of Chinese origin. Apprehended persons poured refrigerants from original cylinders into Russian ones labelled as containing ozone-safe refrigerants. Illegal refrigerants were mainly bought by pharmaceutical plants which receive official quotas for R-11 and R-12.

Article 226.1Smuggling superpotent, poisonous, toxic, explosive and radioactive substances, radiation sources, nuclear materials, firearms or basic parts thereof, explosive devices, munitions, mass destruction weapons, their delivery vehicles, other armaments and other military hardware, as well as the materials and equipment that can be used in the creation of mass destruction weapons, their delivery vehicles, other armaments and other military equipment, as well as strategic commodities and resources or cultural valuables.

The deeds provided for by Parts One and Two of this article made by an organized group, shall be punishable by deprivation of liberty for a term of seven to twelve years, with or without a fine in the amount of up to one million rubles or in the amount of the wage or salary, or any other income of the convicted person for a period of up to five years, or deprivation of liberty for a term of up to two years.

Source: Ozone Programme Russia

 

January 23, 2014

Honeywell partners with Japanese manufacturer to further increase supply for new, environmentally preferable automobile refrigerant.

Asahi Glass will produce HFO-1234yf for Honeywell to meet increased demand for the refrigerant

MORRIS TOWNSHIP, N.J., Jan. 23, 2014 – Honeywell (NYSE: HON) announced today that it has entered into a supply agreement with Asahi Glass Company Ltd. (AGC) to increase production for HFO-1234yf, a new refrigerant for automobiles with a global warming potential (GWP) of less than 1. This GWP is 99.9 percent lower than that of the current refrigerant in use, HFC-134a, and even lower than the GWP of carbon dioxide.

AGC will manufacture HFO-1234yf in Japan, and Honeywell will market the product to customers in the U.S, Europe and Asia. Under the agreement, AGC’s production is expected to begin in mid-2015.

“Honeywell’s supply agreement with AGC will help us meet immediate demand for HFO-1234yf, which is steadily increasing in response to concerns about greenhouse gas emissions and the need to comply with regulations,” said Ken Gayer, vice president and general manager of Honeywell Fluorine Products. “We continue to work with our customers to anticipate long-term demand, which will be met by a new high-volume manufacturing plant we will build in Geismar, Louisiana. Manufacturing locations in both the U.S. and Asia will provide automotive customers with improved supply chain reliability and security.”

Last month, Honeywell announced that the company and its suppliers would invest about $300 million to increase capacity for HFO-1234yf, including building a new manufacturing plant for the refrigerant at Honeywell’s existing Geismar location. The plant will use new process technology and is expected to be fully operational in 2016. The exact size of the plant will depend on supply agreements that Honeywell is putting in place with major customers.

HFO-1234yf is being implemented by automakers in part to meet the EU MAC Directive, a landmark piece of legislation that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions of air-conditioning systems in passenger cars and light commercial vehicles. The directive requires that refrigerants in all new vehicle types sold in Europe after Jan. 1, 2013, have a global-warming potential (GWP) below 150.

GWP is a relative measure of how much heat a greenhouse gas traps in the atmosphere, with carbon dioxide setting the comparison with a GWP of 1. HFO-1234yf offers a GWP that is less than 1, giving it even less of an environmental impact than carbon dioxide. (See “Comparison of Greenhouse Impact” table below.)

All cars sold in Europe after 2017 must meet the new GWP requirement of less than 150. HFO-1234yf, with a GWP below 1, not only meets this requirement but is more than 99 percent below the new, stricter regulation.

Automakers in the U.S. are also adopting HFO-1234yf to help comply with Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) and vehicle greenhouse gas standards, which aim to improve the average fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with cars and light trucks. Because HFO-1234yf has an extremely low environmental impact (a GWP of less than 1 compared with a GWP of 1,300 for the current refrigerant, HFC-134a), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) allows automakers to receive credits for using HFO-1234yf.

Nearly half a million cars are on the road today safely using HFO-1234yf, and by the end of 2014, the number of vehicles is expected to exceed 2 million. Third-party data shows that HFO-1234yf’s widespread adoption globally would have the greenhouse gas equivalent of permanently removing more than 30 million cars from the road worldwide, or about 3 percent of the total global fleet.

HFO-1234yf has the proven ability to perform as an effective automotive refrigerant in all regions of the world, and Honeywell continues to develop a global infrastructure to support its global customer base.

 

January 22, 2014

EU to warn UK, Belgium, Luxembourg over car refrigerant rules,  report says.

Automotive News Europe

BRUSSELS (Reuters) -- The European Commission is expected to threaten the UK, Belgium and Luxembourg on Thursday with potential legal action over sales of Daimler's Mercedes-Benz cars which the executive says are in breach of EU rules on air-conditioning refrigerants, an EU source said.

The source told Reuters that the Commission suspected the three countries circumvented EU rules that say new car models should use more environmentally-friendly refrigerant by approving new models as old ones.

The Commission will also launch legal proceedings against Germany over the German carmaker's refusal to remove the banned refrigerant, R134a, from new cars, the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Officials have for months been investigating the automaker's refusal, backed by Berlin, to follow an EU law banning the refrigerant from the start of last year.

The carmaker insists its refusal to phase out R134a, a global warming agent more than 1,000 times more potent than carbon dioxide, is justified by safety concerns.

The only available replacement, Honeywell's R1234yf has a global warming potential only four times more than carbon dioxide but Daimler says it can emit toxic hydrogen fluoride gas when it burns.

 

December 19, 2013  by Patrick Walter

Honeywell invests $300m in green refrigerant

US chemical company Honeywell is to make a $300 million (£184 million) investment in manufacturing capacity for a new type of refrigerant with impressive environmental credentials.

The focal point for the investment will be a new manufacturing plant at Geismar in Louisiana, US, which will be operational in 2016 and make HFO-1234yf. Honeywell says that HFO-1234yf has a global warming potential (GWP) that is 99% lower than HFC-134a, the current industry standard. GWP is measure of how much heat a gas traps in the atmosphere relative to carbon dioxide.

‘Demand for HFO-1234yf is increasing around the world in response to concerns about greenhouse gas emissions and the need to comply with the Mobile Air Conditioning (MAC) Directive in Europe and Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) regulations in the US,’ said Andreas Kramvis, head of the performance materials and technologies division at Honeywell.

Car makers are embracing HFO-1234yf for air-conditioning units as a result of EU legislation requiring all new vehicles sold in the EU after 1 January 2017 to use only refrigerants with GWPs below 150.

But the gas has a controversial history in the chemical industry. Honeywell and DuPont own most of the relevant patents, and in 2011 the EU opened an investigation focusing on whether the two companies were breaking competition rules by unfairly witholding manufacturing licences.

Source: AC&R Today

 

December 13, 2013

Industry support for 427A

Arkema statement

A series of technical bulletins were issued overnight supporting Forane 427A refrigerant to retrofit R-22 applications, including air conditioning and low- and medium-temperature refrigeration.

Forane 427A refrigerant is the closest match to R-22 in terms of performance and operating conditions and was developed to minimize the work necessary during an R-22 system retrofit, according to a statement from Arkema.

The statement follows a bulletin issued by Emerson Climate Technologies supporting Forane 427A.

Copeland brand compressors are some of the most widely used in supermarket refrigeration, and approval from Emerson Climate Technologies demonstrates Forane 427A's excellent performance as an R-22 retrofit solution, Arkema said.

 

July 7, 2013

Leakage reduction can benefit the environment greater than any other technology, large retail chain study shows.

A recent report presenting the energy performance and environmental impact of recently installed refrigeration systems in a large retail chain showed that...

A recent report presenting the energy performance and environmental impact of recently installed refrigeration systems in a large retail chain showed that embracing a gas loss strategy, - combined with the replacement of R404A by R407F

did improve the refrigeration systems global environmental impact more than any other technology, taking into account the better energy efficiency and the GWP reduction.

This was confirmed by the systems log-books, insofar as they showed that their gas loss levels continue to reduce year on year. These results are based on actual metered data and refrigeration gas loss records.

In the report, different solutions implemented by the chain, which owns more than 500 stores, in a number of different systems were compared, and showed the benefits of its refrigerants containment strategy, and the approach taken in evaluating alternative refrigeration system technology.

According to the authors of the paper, the real issue is refrigerant containment, and their paper proves that reducing refrigerant leakage is possible and that in doing so it provides tangible benefits.

They consider that accepting the paradigm that HFC refrigerants cannot be contained raises the question of how could a high pressure or flammable refrigerant be contained if traditional HFC refrigerants cannot be.

The paper was published by REAL-SKILLS-EUROPE an institution dedicated to achieving reductions in refrigerant leakage through improved awareness, education and training, all over Europe.

Source: SAE International

 

July 7, 2013

Japanese car manufacturer Toyota has announced that it is using R134a instead of R1234yf amid safety concerns raised by its customers

In a statement, the company said that it "believes that it is the mission of automotive companies to provide consumers with vehicles that they can feel secure with, but unfortunately there is currently no consensus on this issue within the European market. So we took the temporary measure of using 134a in order to alleviate the concerns of our customers and give the highest priority to their sense of safety and security. Once this situation has been settled and consensus reached, we will proceed in line with that result."

The company has also said that in conducting its own internal tests on 1234yf, it found no safety concerns, and was additionally in agreement with the conclusions of the Society of Automotive Engineers' Common Research Program.

Source: ACR News

 

July 5, 2013

AIRAH releases Flammable Refrigerants
Safety Guide

AIRAH, the Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heating, has released its Flammable Refrigerants Safety Guide. The guide – which was developed by independent organisations and stakeholders, and is thought to be the first of its kind in Australia – comprehensively covers the management of health and safety risks associated with flammable refrigerants.

AIRAH CEO Phil Wilkinson, M.AIRAH, says that the use of flammable low-global-warming-potential (low-GWP) synthetic and hydrocarbon refrigerants will grow due to increasing concerns around high-GWP synthetic greenhouse gases (SGGs).

Yet Wilkinson says that until now there has been little guidance around the safety risks associated with flammable refrigerants and the equipment that uses them.

Now more than ever, it is crucial that the HVAC&R industry has a clear outline of what is safe and unsafe practice when using flammable refrigerants,” Wilkinson says. “With the increased cost of HFCs, and growing interest in the use of low-GWP refrigerants, the use of alternative – and more flammable – refrigerants will be more common. This increased use of flammable refrigerants represents a significant change for the industry and its workers.

“Many HVAC&R workers are accustomed to working with the non-flammable, non-toxic refrigerants that were widely used in the past,” says Wilkinson. “We need to ensure that, as the use of alternative refrigerants picks up, our industry is properly equipped to work safely, efficiently and professionally with any refrigerant they encounter. And that’s where the Flammable Refrigerants Safety Guide has a crucial role to play.”

Wilkinson says AIRAH’s Flammable Refrigerants Safety Guide covers the health and safety risks involved in the design, manufacture, supply, installation, conversion, commissioning, operation, maintenance, decommissioning, dismantling and disposal of HVAC&R equipment and systems that contain a flammable refrigerant.

“All refrigerants are dangerous if misused or applied incorrectly,” Wilkinson says. “While having less impact on the environment, flammable refrigerants combust much more readily than the refrigerants traditionally used. Flammables are being used more and more in Australia, and our industry needs to know how to work safely with these refrigerants. The Flammable Refrigerants Safety Guide will provide guidance across a range of areas where workers or end-users come into contact with flammable refrigerant.”

In Australia, flammable refrigerants are already used in domestic refrigerators, small integral commercial cabinets, fluid chillers and industrial refrigeration. Their use is expected to continue to grow in commercial and industrial refrigeration applications, as well as in commercial and residential air conditioning.

Hydrocarbon refrigerants, a common flammable alternative to SGGs, are broadly available in Australia. Various flammable synthetic fluorocarbon refrigerants are also available, or are expected to be available in the near future.

The Flammable Refrigerants Safety Guide specifically applies to all stationary (while in use) refrigerating systems of all sizes, including air conditioners and heat pumps that are to be charged with flammable refrigerants with a refrigerant classification of A2 or A3, or any other refrigerant that meets the criteria to be classified as an A2 or A3 refrigerant.

The guide does not cover non-stationary (while in use) applications of flammable refrigerants such as in-vehicle air conditioning (cars, trucks, busses, trains, boats, aircraft) or transport refrigeration (road, rail, air, marine).

The Flammable Refrigerants Safety Guide is available to download FREE from the “Technical Resources” section of www.airah.org.au

AIRAH acknowledges support received from the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC) in developing the safety guide.

A taskforce of 25 individuals worked on the guide, led by taskforce chair Kevin Lee, M.AIRAH.

The following organisations were represented on the taskforce: AREMA, AIRAH, ARWA, AFAC, CCCA, Department of Natural Resources and Mines (Queensland), DSEWPaC, E-Oz Energy Skills Australia, ERAC, Fire and Rescue NSW, GTRC, IRHACE, QFRS, RWTA, Standards New Zealand, TAFE NSW, Workcover NSW, Work Health and Safety Queensland, WorkSafe Victoria.

 

May 5, 2013

US and China HFC agreement

According to the White House, President Obama and Chinese President Xi have agreed on working together and with other countries to use the expertise and institutions of the Montreal Protocol to phase down the consumption and production of HFCs.ᅠᅠᅠThe statement said phasing down HFCs globally has the potential to “reduce some 90 gigatons of CO2 equivalent by 2050, equal to roughly two years worth of current global greenhouse gas emissions.”

It is significant to note the new willingness of China to negotiate coverage of HFCs under the Montreal Protocol.ᅠThe breakthrough on this came with the establishment of the US-China bilateral working group on climate, which was initiated by Secretary of State John Kerry.ᅠ This working group covers a broad range of issues relating to greenhouse gas emissions.ᅠ The HFC issue was one of the most contentious because of the potential implications for developing country action on greenhouse gases since it was a break from the “common but differentiated responsibilities” requirements of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Current expectation is that reaching an agreement under the Montreal Protocol may still take considerable time.ᅠWhile there is a way to go on this issue, this is probably the most important development since the development of the Trilateral Proposal.

Source: Real Skills Europe (from www.arema.com.au)

 

April 4, 2013

International cooperative research project confirms that HFO-1234yf has a low fire risk

A new research initiated in 2012 by SAE International Cooperative Research Project (CRP1234-4) on HFO-1234yf Safety has concluded that the conclusions of CRP1234 (2009) are still valid, and that risks of occupant exposure to adverse events based on HFO-1234yf usage are still very small compared to the risks of a vehicle fire from all causes and well below risks that are commonly viewed as acceptable by the general public.

A new research initiated in 2012 by SAE International Cooperative Research Project (CRP1234-4) on HFO-1234yf Safety has concluded that the conclusions of CRP1234 (2009) are still valid, and that risks of occupant exposure to adverse events based on HFO-1234yf usage are still very small compared to the risks of a vehicle fire from all causes and well below risks that are commonly viewed as acceptable by the general public.

The new CRP was organized after the publication of new testing suggesting that HFO-1234yf would pose a greater risk of vehicle fire than what was estimated by the 2009 conclusions, and all OEMs were invited to attend. European, North American and Asian OEMs have agreed with these conclusions.

CRP 1234-4 added new fault tree scenarios, reviewed and analyzed extensive new OEM test data, examined average risks across the entire global fleet and used a number of conservative assumptions to ensure that the final risk estimate would be more likely to overestimate rather than underestimate actual risks.

Even with those assumptions, the CRP found that the estimated overall risk of vehicle fire exposure attributed to use of R-1234yf is conservatively estimated at 3 x 10-12 events per vehicle operating hour, nearly 100,000 times less than the current risk of vehicle fires due to all causes (approximately 1 x 10-6per vehicle operating hour).

Source: ACR News

 

January 30, 2013

IPCC publishes full report Climate Change 2013:
The Physical Science Basis

Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, human influence on the climate system is clear, and limiting climate change will require substantial and sustained reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.

These are the key conclusions from an assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that is released today in its full and finalized form.

The Summary for Policymakers of the IPCC Working Group I assessment report, Climate Change 2013: the Physical Science Basis, was approved in September 2013 by the member governments of the IPCC meeting in Stockholm, Sweden, who also accepted the underlying report, after which the Summary for Policymakers was immediately made public.

The full report released today1 is the basis for the key conclusions presented in the Summary for Policymakers. This Working Group I contribution to the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report offers a comprehensive understanding of the physical science basis of climate change. Policymakers, stakeholders and the scientific community are now able to use and apply the detailed information on which IPCC Working Group I bases its assessment. Additional material documents the IPCC assessment process with its multiple rounds of drafting and review.

“The Working Group I Fifth Assessment Report, which has over 1500 printed pages of text and includes more than 600 printed diagrams, provides a comprehensive assessment of the physical science basis of climate change, citing more than 9000 scientific publications. The report provides information about what has changed in the climate system, why it has changed, and how it will change in the future,” said Thomas Stocker, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group I.

WMO: 2013 Among Top Ten Warmest on Record

The year 2013 was among the top ten warmest years since modern records began in 1850, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). It tied with 2007 as the sixth warmest year, with a global land and ocean surface temperature that was 0.50°C (0.90°F) above the 1961–1990 average and 0.03°C (0.05°F) higher than the most recent 2001–2010 decadal average.

Thirteen of the 14 warmest years on record have all occurred in the 21st century. The warmest years on record are 2010 and 2005, with global temperatures about 0.55 °C above the long term average, followed by 1998, which also had an exceptionally strong El Niño event.

Warming El Niño events and cooling La Niña events are major drivers of the natural variability in our climate. Neither condition was present during 2013, which was warmer than 2011 or 2012, when La Niña had a cooling influence. 2013 was among the four warmest ENSO-neutral (neither El Niño nor La Niña) years on record.

“The global temperature for the year 2013 is consistent with the long term warming trend,” said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud. “The rate of warming is not uniform but the underlying trend is undeniable. Given the record amounts of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere, global temperatures will continue to rise for generations to come,” said Mr Jarraud.

“Our action – or inaction – to curb emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases will shape the state of our planet for our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren,” said Mr Jarraud.

Source: UN WMO

 

New HFO refrigerant blend successfully tested as r404a replacement

Proposed as a substitute for R404A (GWP of 3922) because of its lower GWP of 1300, a new HFO refrigerant blend has achieved a better refrigeration performance than R404A in a thoroughly tested commercial display unit.

Proposed as a substitute for R404A (GWP of 3922) because of its lower GWP of 1300, a new HFO refrigerant blend has achieved a better refrigeration performance than R404A in a thoroughly tested commercial display unit.

A number of similar trials have already been conducted in different stores, where R404A units have been converted to the new blend, achieving a lower energy consumption and a better overall performance.

Another blend has been envisaged with a GWP lower than 300 but its mildly flammable (ASHRAE Class A2L) classification is not yet recognized in Europe.

Further performance improvements are expected with adequate material adjustments.

Source: ACR News

 

USA: The new HFO alternative refrigerants have
been found to have GWPs below that of carbon dioxide, according to a new study.

An independent peer-reviewed paper published in the latest issue of Reviews of Geophysics found both R1234yf and R1234ze to have GWPs less than the baseline of 1 for CO2 and substantially lower than previously thought. Until now, R1234yf had a published GWP of 4 and 1234ze 6.

The paper, Global warming potentials and radiative efficiencies of halocarbons and related compounds: A comprehensive review, found the radiative efficiencies (RE) of 49 compounds to be significantly different from those in the published in the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report (AR4). The report also presents new RE values for more than 100 gases which were not included in AR4.

The paper was produced by several leading chemists and environmental scientists from Europe and the US, is the first known study where the GWPs of all fluorocarbon-based refrigerants have been calculated consistently using all available atmospheric data, taking into account local atmospheric patterns.

Source: ACR News

 

Mexichem Fluor's HFO-refrigerant blend AC6 has now joined AC5 in gaining recognition from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).

Following the official designation of AC5 as R-444A, AC6 has completed the ASHRAE peer review process and been awarded the refrigerant number R-445A.

This follows the publication of a recent SAE International report on the use of HFO-blend refrigerants AC5 and AC6 as low GWP alternatives to R-134a and R-1234yf for car air conditioning.

AC6 is non-flammable at room temperature, only becoming flammable above 50°C and requiring higher surface temperatures than R-1234yf before ignition. Like AC5 and R-1234yf, AC6 is classified as A2L with an Occupational Exposure Limit (OEL) set at 930ppm.

Both AC5 and AC6 are blends based on R-1234ze, AC6 having R-134a(9%) and CO2(6%) as the other components. Both AC5 and AC6 are fully compliant with the European MAC Directive.

Simon Gardner, business development manager, Mexichem Fluor said: "1234ze based blends look likely to offer a future competitive and high performance solution for low GWP mobile air conditioning. As well as low GWP, blends based on R-1234z offer the potential to meet the increasing volume demands from car manufacturers now seeking to meet the tight timescales of European regulation. Production of 1234ze is already proven at large scale and is already a commercial product in its own right.

"ASHRAE designation is the first step on the regulatory approval pathway for use in the United States. Preparations for the next stage, submission to the US Environmental Protection Agency's Significant New Alternatives Program (EPA SNAP) for AC6 are already well developed and submission is expected in Q3 2013."

Source: ACR News

 

USA: The latest SAE cooperative research project (CRP1234) into the safety of R1234yf in car air conditioning systems has confirmed that the risks
are still very small compared to the risks of a
vehicle fire from all causes and well below risks
that are commonly viewed as acceptable by the general public

The latest CRP was carried out in response to Daimler's tests last year which suggested that R1234yf posed a greater risk of vehicle fire than was estimated by the previous CRP1234 analysis.

The latest results are based on two new fault tree scenarios to consider the possibility of an individual being unable to exit the vehicle due to a collision or a non-collision event that involves a refrigerant/oil release, the refrigerant/oil being ignited and the fire propagating. The fault tree analysis is said to have examined average risks across the entire global fleet and used a number of conservative assumptions to ensure that the final risk estimate would be more likely to overestimate rather than underestimate actual risks.

Tests are said to have shown that dangers posed by R1234yf are nearly six times lower than the current risk of vehicle fires due to all causes and also well below other risks accepted by the general public. The current overall risk of occupant exposure to adverse events based on R1234yf usage is on the same order of magnitude as that estimated in the prior work of CRP1234. Therefore, the conclusions of the former CRP risk assessment are still valid: risks are still very small compared to the risks of a vehicle fire from all causes and well below risks that are commonly viewed as acceptable by the general public.

The OEMs involved in the new CRP - Chrysler/Fiat, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Mazda, PSA, Renault and Toyota - are all said to have agreed with the conclusions.

Significantly absent from the new CRP team were the German car manufacturers who continue to shun the use of 1234yf in favour of R134a. According to latest information Daimler has produced 46,817 cars filled with R134a since January, in direct contravention of the European MAC directive.

Source: ACR News

 

SAE International, the global association of more
than 128,000 engineers and related technical experts in the aerospace, automotive and commercial-vehicle industries, says that its Cooperative Research Project (CRP) team has confirmed that R-1234yf is safe to
use in automotive direct expansion air conditioning systems.

According to the association, as previously reported, the overall risk of vehicle fire exposure attributed to use of R-1234yf is conservatively estimated at 3 x 10-12 events per vehicle operating hour. This is nearly six orders of magnitude less than the current risk of vehicle fires due to all causes (approximately 1 x 10-6 per vehicle operating hour) and also well below other risks accepted by the general public.

All OEMs in the new CRP have indicated agreement with these conclusions. The members are European, North American and Asian OEMs: Chrysler/Fiat, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Mazda, PSA, Renault and Toyota.

To view the report go to: http://www.sae.org/standardsdev/tsb/cooperative/crp_1234-4_report.pdf

To access supporting documents, visit: http://www.sae.org/standardsdev/tsb/cooperative/crp_1234-4_attachments.pdf

Source: ACR News

 

Canadian refrigeration institute worried about risks from hydrocarbons refrigerants use at home and in the offices

Worried by the promotion of Do-It-Yourself hydrocarbon refrigerant kits, the Heating Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI) is approaching provincial Fire Marshal's to increase public awareness about the risks of using flammable refrigerants in home and office air conditioning systems.

Worried by the promotion of Do-It-Yourself hydrocarbon refrigerant kits, the Heating Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI) is approaching provincial Fire Marshal's to increase public awareness about the risks of using flammable refrigerants in home and office air conditioning systems.

Fire services could be at additional risk when responding to home or office fires if the building has highly flammable hydrocarbon refrigerant in the air conditioning system.

A leak in the refrigerant system could bring flammable vapours in contact with an ignition source, with potentially fatal consequences.

People need therefore to be aware that flammable refrigerants used in home or business air conditioning systems can create the potential for explosion and fire, which could result in injury or death

In addition to the potential for fire and explosion, hydrocarbons refrigerants are not approved for use in air conditioning systems already installed.

Source: ACR News

 

USA: The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has warned against the illegal use of hydrocarbon refrigerants in domestic air conditioning systems

The EPA warns that home air conditioning systems are not designed to handle propane or other similar flammable refrigerants.

"The use of these substances poses a potential fire or explosion hazard for homeowners and service technicians," it says.

The EPA is currently investigating instances where propane has been marketed and used as a substitute for R22.

"EPA is aware of incidents that have occurred both overseas and in the US where individuals have been injured as a result of the use of propane and other unapproved refrigerants in air conditioning systems. We are investigating and will take enforcement actions where appropriate."

The EPA points out that, as well as being sold as R290, these unapproved refrigerants are also sold as 22a, 22-A, R-22a, HC-22a, and CARE 40.

"At this time, EPA has not approved the use of propane refrigerant or other hydrocarbon refrigerants in any type of air conditioner," says a statement from the agency. "Homeowners and technicians are strongly recommended to limit use of propane or other hydrocarbons to only those appliances specifically designed for these substances and that are properly marked to alert technicians that the equipment contains a flammable substance."

In the US, propane has been approved as a substitute refrigerant for R22 in industrial process refrigeration systems and in new, stand-alone retail food refrigerators and freezers that are specifically designed to use flammable hydrocarbon refrigerants.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COLLECTIONS

Refrigerant Recovery is providing a regional collection point for used refrigerants. Please refer to the attached flyer for further details. The directors of Refrigerant Recovery would be grateful if you would forward this to contacts / customers so collections can be maximised. Refrigerant cylinders will be collected from Patton Limited / BOC Limited during the periods detailed in the attached flyer and transported to Auckland, Wellington, or Christchurch for decanting following which the empty cylinders will be returned to Patton Limited / BOC Limited for collection by the cylinder owners. Thanks for your attention to this and please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or would like any further information.