The refrigerant in your air conditioning is changing. Why?
The UK air conditioning market moved to R410A refrigerant in 2006 as it offered higher efficiencies, achieved by operating at higher pressures and the introduction on inverter technology in DX split systems. It also replaced R22 refrigerant which was banned because of its potential to damage the ozone layer and the HFC R407C.
This in turn led to the introduction in Europe of the F-Gas Regulations and at the start of January 2015, the next stage of the F-Gas laws was introduced which detailed the phase down of HFC refrigerant.
Each refrigerant has a Global Warming Potential (GWP) with carbon used as the base. Carbon has a GWP of 1. R410A has a GWP of 2,088 meaning that if one kilogram is released into the atmosphere it would have 2,088 times the harmful effect of one kilogram of carbon.
That is why we are now seeing a move to a new refrigerant – R32, which has a GWP of 675 (two thirds less than R410A). Each refrigerant has strong and weak points, which also vary depending on the type of target product. Many major air conditioning manufacturers have determined that R32 is the optimum choice for use in their products because it:
- Has a low GWP (675)
- Zero ozone depleting potential (ODP)
- Is ideal for the next generation of equipment
- Offers higher efficiency and longer pipe runs
- Is F-Gas phasedown compliant
- Requires less refrigerant volume per Kw
- Is affordable and readily available
And before you start to worry about R32 equipment being ‘untried’ and ‘new’, it is worth pointing out that it has been used in Japan now for more than four years and there are already over 10 million units installed and operating.
So, R32 will actually be good for the industry because it will allow companies to continue providing comfortable places for us all to work, shop and relax in, whilst complying with the latest legislation and being able to enhance their own CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) with equipment using a refrigerant that minimises the effect on climate change.
What’s not to like?