A recent conversation with industry expert, Graeme Fox from Specialist Mechanical Services, brought out some interesting challenges with R32
By Will Hawkins, Editor
The R32 situation is extremely important in my opinion. The new F Gas rules, basically, make any gas with a GWP [global warming potential] higher than 750 banned from split AC equipment from 2025. This only leaves R32 or hydrocarbons for AC systems as being tried and tested. The problems with this are:
R32 seems to be a refrigerant with great potential. But, I imagine it has some challenges too?
Let’s talk about R32 and its efficiency. How does it compare to R410a?
Why? What’s the wider problem with R32 and its flammable quality?
Daikin has announced they will be introducing units into the UK soon. Won’t that create some challenges, based on what you just said?
So, you have to ask yourself: ‘Where does this leave us contractors?’ Will be forced to use recovery machines that are not certified as safe? Where do employers stand on the whole duty of care towards their employees? And, what about their clients? Where do the insurance underwriters stand on this? [See ACR Today, March 2014 issue, page 8 about R32 and insurance]
Granted, those are some major challenges with R32 but, what about the market potential of this refrigerant?
However, manufacturers need to act now to make sure the service tools are available for contractors to carry out their work safely and legally. But, until this message gets out loudly that doesn't seem to be happening.
Some major manufacturers that have a vested interest in R32 being phased in are burying their heads in the sand on this because they know it's a big problem in Europe that doesn't have an easy solution.