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IOR Real Zero investigates refrigerant leaks

THE Institute of Refrigeration has received funding from the Carbon Trust to launch its Real Zero Project, aimed at assessing types of acr equipment in order to recommend how systems can best deal with leaks.
Consultants will visit 30 acr equipment sites including those owned by retailers. Small commercial and industrial food processing sites are among those being visited.

The results of investigations will be analysed to identify the main sources of refrigerant leakage and how these can be reduced.

The Real Zero project is due to finish March 2009 but its investigations and report findings are due to be published by the end of 2008.

The IOR and Carbon Trust will give owners of refrigeration equipment practical, independent guidance on how to reduce carbon emissions through improved system design, maintenance and servicing.

Mainly as a result of poor maintenance, it is believed that some refrigeration systems may leak between 20% to 40% of their charge to atmosphere per year. Refrigerants such as R404A are powerful global warming gases, more than 3,000 more damaging than carbon dioxide.

Although the F-Gas Regulation requires equipment owners to address leakage issues, it does not offer technical advice on how to prevent leakage in existing or future systems.

The investigation results will be analysed to identify key issues for action, such as:

•the gains of optimum system refrigerant charge; •reasons for current leakage problems (design issues, service and maintenance practice etc); •barriers to reducing leakage; •and recommendations for actions to reduce leakage, and the associated cost-benefit.

The IOR is contributing to costs from its Presidents Fund, which industry has supported in the past as a means of undertaking projects to raise the standing of the institute.

Equipment users and refrigeration specialists will have access to the results of the field investigations through a new series of guidance notes, training packages and advice services developed by IOR.

The Institute will publish a new series of guidance notes for equipment owners on:-
•why leakage matters and what it costs; •common leak points; •how to identify leakage risk points in cooling equipment; •key issues for specifying design and installation of new leak-free systems; •how to prevent and remedy leaks as part of regular maintenance; •case studies of major leakage issues and reduction measures in various types of systems.

Equipment owners who would like to offer their sites for surveys, and anyone who would like to register their interest in the project outputs, should contact Miriam Rodway at the IOR at miriam@ior.org.uk

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