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Home » New IIR informatory note. Low-GWP refrigerants: status and outlook

New IIR informatory note. Low-GWP refrigerants: status and outlook

The latest IIR Informatory Note outlines the options available for low-GWP refrigerants and their respective performance. It provides a series of recommendations on refrigerant selection criteria, research priorities and personnel training.

The IIR has just published a new Informatory Note: “Low-GWP Refrigerants: Status and Outlook“ prepared by Piotr A. Domanski (former President of the IIR Science and Technology Council) and Samuel F. Yana Motta (ORNL Building Technologies Deputy Program Manager).

At the outset of mechanical refrigeration, refrigerant selection was based on satisfying two main requirements: performance and material compatibility. Then, safety – including flammability and toxicity – as well as environmental protection became essential selection criteria, to which must be added the cost of the refrigerant.

This Informatory Note outlines the requirements and options available for low Global Warming Potential (GWP) refrigerants for eight refrigeration applications. It also presents performance simulation results obtained using an advanced simulation model with the latest known refrigerant properties.

In addition, a series of recommendations in terms of refrigerant selection criteria, research to be carried out and training of personnel in handling flammable refrigerants are presented. Finally, the methods for estimating the performance of refrigerants and the discussed refrigerant blends and their compositions are detailed in two annexes.

With growing market penetration of refrigeration equipment and occurring accidents, safety became an essential selection requirement encompassing flammability and toxicity. The advent of regulations controlling ozone depletion substances (Montreal Protocol) and high-Global Warming Potential (GWP) refrigerants (Kyoto Protocol and Kigali Amendment) added environment protection to the list of main requirements. Refrigerant cost has always played a role in refrigerant selection but is typically considered after the first four criteria have been already applied. The IIR Informatory Note discusses refrigerant requirements and available options for eight refrigeration applications. It also presents performance simulation results obtained using an advanced simulation model with the latest refrigerant properties.

The availability of low-GWP refrigerants varies between applications. For centrifugal chillers, domestic refrigeration, and automotive air conditioning, equipment using refrigerants with GWP < 10 is already on the market. For other applications, in particular for those currently using high-pressure refrigerants, R-410A and R-404A, the choices are limited, which results in the industry opting for interim (medium-GWP) solutions buying some time for the development of new low-GWP refrigerants or technologies that will enable ultra-low GWP solutions.

For non-article 5 countries, this planning strategy corresponds to the reduction steps imposed by the Kigali Amendment, where medium-GWP refrigerants will satisfy the 2024-2025 phase-down and much lower-GWP refrigerants will be required to comply with the additional reduction impending in 2029.

This is an extract of the Summary for Policymakers available for free download.

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