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10 October 2019 - Dawn Brissenden

IOR Cool Talks thoughts for the future

The Cool Talks breakfast briefing in Basingstoke was held at the Trane sales offices on 09 October. Run by the Institute of refrigeration (IOR), presentations were made by three speakers and the event revolved around refrigerants and reaching Net Zero as restrictions increase.

The Cool Talks breakfast briefing in Basingstoke.

The morning began with a warm welcome from Damian Wiszniewsk, the business development manager for Samsung, who introduced the IOR to the audience for the benefit of those who were not already members.

Mr Wiszniewsk highlighted the importance the IOR places on encouraging young people into the industry. He said: “The industry is struggling to find young people who want to begin careers in engineering.”

The main talk was led by Dewi Garcia of Harp Refrigerants. Mr Garcia’s main focus was to address the changes that need to be made regarding refrigerants in order to meet the Net Zero targets of the future.

To give context he provided the audience with some history and development of Harp Refrigerants, as well as its analytical services which can test refrigerants before they can be reclaimed. From there he proceeded to discuss the F-Gas regulations and the phase down and restricted use of legacy refrigerants.

This phase down should see the use of high Global Warming Potential (GWP) refrigerants go from 100 percent in 2015 to 21 percent by 2030. During this phase down the prices of refrigerants are likely to fluctuate, as was evidenced by R404a in 2018. This ‘pinch-point’ will change which refrigerants will be used, as well as the way they are used as a supply and demand dilemma comes into play.

He spoke about the fact that there is not enough refrigerant to keep going as we are due to quota restrictions – and that refrigerants with a lower GWP will be supported for longer as legacy products are left behind. This is where a key element of Harp Refrigeration’s business comes into play. The reclamation and recycling of refrigerants will be essential within the future of the industry in order to meet F-Gas regulations.

The reclamation of refrigerants involves the processing of used refrigerant gas to a standard that meets the specifications of new refrigerant equivalents. Mr Garcia noted that the benefit of this is that these reclaimed refrigerants are still of good quality as well as being exempt from F-Gas quota restrictions.

With the reduction of legacy refrigerants comes the increase of the low GWP products. However, these more environmentally friendly refrigerants have their own risks; the lower the GWP the higher the flammability. In new systems low GWP alternatives such as ammonia (R717), CO2 (R744) and propane (R290) are more favourable, but are not all suitable for every application. It is at this point that Mr Garcia referenced the A2L range of refrigerants, which are only mildly flammable whilst still maintaining a reasonably low GWP.

He also made it clear that the ASHRAE A2L classification referred only to the application of the refrigerant and not such aspects as transport and storage which fall under standard HSE regulations.

Whilst these will not be practical in the long-term, they are an initial step working towards the F-Gas regulations. In conclusion Mr Garcia added: “GWP will drive change.”

In a presentation from Trane, refrigeration consultant engineer Chris Burton discussed the future of heating, claiming that going forward, electric heating would be the top choice.

He went on to talk about Trane’s combined heating and cooling range including the RTSF G which uses the refrigerant R1234ze, CMAC, CXAF and the new CMAF. He noted that the CMAF product acted as a combination of the CMAC and CXAF.

Following this, the audience received a presentation from Mr Wiszniewsk regarding wind-free cooling. He talked about Samsung’s range of products, including the wall-mounted AR9500, which can provide wind-free cooling that allows air to be dispensed evenly throughout a room. He suggested that this would address the issue within offices surrounding disagreements of temperature between colleagues, therefore increasing productivity.

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