The global community, with Kigali Amendment to Montreal Protocol, made another important step towards reduction of CO2 emissions due to human activities, in order to preserve our planet for future generations. The global phase-down of HFCs in refrigeration sector is representing an important contribution to the international mitigation efforts.
Recent EU F-Gas regulation is considering ban of high GWP refrigerants in next few years in several categories of commercial applications and will considerably limit the available quantities of those refrigerants on the market. A number of alternative synthetic refrigerants were offered by chemical industry and more are coming. For this reason, there has been a number of activities to assess their potential to replace high GWP refrigerants presently in use.
EU F-Gas Regulation
European Union with F-Gas Regulation (517/2014) will limit use of refrigerants with high GWP values (GWP – Global Warming Potential). The EU deadlines for use of refrigerant substances for different refrigeration segments are:
1. From January 1st, 2020 - Refrigerators and freezers for storage, display or distribution of products in retail and food service (commercial use) hermetically sealed systems that contains HFC with GWP of 2500 or more, will be banned
(e.g. R404A, R507A)
2. From January 1st, 2022 - Refrigerators and freezers for storage, display or distribution of products in retail and food service (commercial use) hermetically sealed systems that contains HFC with GWP of 150 or more, will be banned
(e.g. R134a, R407F, R407C, R410A)
3. From January 1st, 2020 - Stationary refrigeration equipment, that contains, or that relies upon for its functioning HFCs with GWP of 2500 or more except equipment intended for application design to cool products to temperatures below -50°C will be banned
Ahead of its time, Embraco has promoted use of natural refrigerants, such as R290 and R600a, as the best alternative to reduce the negative direct effects to the atmosphere as well as to improve the equipment’s energy efficiency to reduce the indirect effect. Believing that the use of natural refrigerants is the ideal solution for the future of refrigeration, the company directs efforts on developing innovative products that have a lower impact to the environment.
In April 2016, Embraco issued a Position Paper with recommendations for long term as well as for the transition period based on extended testing of various low GWP solutions with the objective of determining suitable transition, not flammable, synthetic alternatives to R404A and R134a. One of the company's goals is to offer the best refrigeration solutions for its customers and educate the market to their use.
Hydrocarbons (isobutane-R600a and propane-R290), represent the best, long term solution for light commercial applications both in low and medium pressure. The next future expected legislation changes will remove part of existing road blocks related to charge limits.
Based on preliminary testing, R407F, R407A, R448A, and R449A cannot be considered as a drop-in substitution for systems using some R404A compressors. Usage of above mentioned refrigerants may require system changes, such as system condensing temperature reduction (larger condenser, improved ventilation) or return gas temperature reduction in order to achieve a similar thermal profile as with refrigerant R404A.
To maintain warranty, final application needs to be validated by technical support teams case by case. Usage in systems operating under high compression ratio conditions in particular should be avoided.
Therefore, for the transition period, Embraco confirms in this stage R452A as an only alternative for systems using Embraco R404A models, due to same or lower thermal profile when compared with R404A, and also approves R513A as an alternative refrigerant for all Embraco R134a compressor series, authorizing its use, both in LBP and HBP applications. Both R452A and R513A refrigerants maintain same operating envelope respectively of R404A and R134a refrigerants and other Embraco application guidelines as for example the system charge limitations defined for each compressor family.
Both refrigerants R452A and R513A, according to the calorimetric evaluation are showing limited impact on cooling capacity, when tested at calorimeter. Actual impact on performances has to be verified on specific application. Embraco R134a compressors, using R513A and R404A models using R452A, are maintaining the same electrical components and are showing the same reliability as with original refrigerants.
Downaload HERE the full version of the Position Paper.