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Hydrocarbon refrigerant R441a gets first roll out in the USA

ComStar, a US producer of chemical products for the HVACR industries will offer compressors that with the newly approved blended-hydrocarbon refrigerant, R441a.

Following the US decision to allow the use of hydrocarbons in refrigeration and air conditioning systems last year, this new development will allow hydrocarbon refrigerant to be used in domestic household refrigerators, freezers and window air-conditioners in the USA.

R441a, also known as HCR188C, was the first hydrocarbon refrigerant to be approved for sale in the United States by the Environmental Protection Agency. The refrigerant is a patented blend of ethane, propane, butane and isobutane which has ASHRAE certification as being non-toxic. R441a was designed to replace hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) R-134, which has been commonly used in refrigeration applications since the 1990s.

The new compressors, marketed under the Silekan brand name, will allow appliances and air-conditioners to take advantage of R441a's Zero ratings for Global Warming Potential and Ozone Depletion Potential.

ComStar International Inc., a leader in the development and marketing of industrial strength, environmentally safe chemical products for the HVACR, Indoor Air Quality and plumbing industries, and its China JV company, will begin offering appliance and air conditioning compressors in the U.S. and overseas markets for R441a. The compressors are made in China by Hangzhou Maidi Heating & Refrigerating Equipment Co. Ltd under the Silekan brand name. Each compressor will be ETL approved to OEM specifications. Residential refrigerator Energy Star testing with R441a will take place this March. ComStar is licensed as the exclusive U.S. manufacturer and distributor of R441a by A.S Trust & Holding, Inc. and Richard Maruya, the refrigerant inventor.

Domestic refrigerator energy-draw tests with R441a are said to have shown a 48 per cent decrease in power consumption when compared to refrigerators operating with 134a. R441a is an extremely energy-efficient blended-hydrocarbon refrigerant that operates on approximately 25 per cent of what a normal charge of 134a would be in an appliance or automotive cooling system and at 40 per cent of an R22-charged appliance. Electrical power consumption tests in air conditioners and other appliances are also said to have shown similar energy savings. As an added benefit, R441a has zero global warming potential and is non-ozone depleting.

Steven P. Mella, ComStar's CEO said: 'While ComStar offers the RS series of HFC-alternative refrigerants for in-place R22 systems, it is inevitable that hydrocarbon refrigerants are on the verge of coming into the U.S. market. As a result, ComStar has entered into agreements with Mr. Richard Maruya, the creator of R441a, to manufacture and distribute his blended-hydrocarbon refrigerant.'

It operates with mineral oil and can be used in appliances and automotive cooling systems designed for 134a and R22. While R441a is flammable, the very small amount of this climate-friendly refrigerant required in appliances or automotive cooling systems makes the risk assessment a non-factor. A.S.Trust & Holding also has a patent on a Refrigerant Safety Service Port Valve that could be used on larger systems. This unique valve was invented by Richard Maruya and George Whitmyre and operates by shutting down the system when there is a drop in operating pressure.

ComStar is now producing limited quantities of R441a at its certified refrigerant production facility in south Texas.

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