Why A2L refrigerants still have a key role to play


07 November 2023
Neil Roberts addresses guests at the Climalife customer technical event

A2L refrigerants still have an important role to play in the phase-down of high global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants, according to industry experts at the latest customer technical event organised by Climalife.

More than 80 guests at Wyboston Lakes Resort in Bedfordshire heard that although there is a significant industry focus on natural refrigerants, they often involve either a high initial cost in terms of CO₂, or the use of fossil fuels to produce products such as propane.

Because of this, speakers suggested that A2L refrigerants with low GWP will still be required and widely used. Both Pawel Wisnik of Honeywell and Chris Chisman of TEV explained how changes in system design are helping negate some of the application restraints that safety standards such as BSEN378 create. Wisnik added that a balance of capex, opex, total cost of ownership, energy consumption and total carbon footprint should all be taken into account when proposing new solutions, rather than just efficiency or GWP.

The difficulties of developing and manufacturing appropriate tools to be used with A3 refrigerants were discussed by Neil Stewart of Ritchie Engineering Company (Yellow Jacket). He said because there are currently no clear standards, liability had to be considered when a company decides to produce tools without such guidance.

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Guests at the Climalife event at Wyboston Lakes

Neil Roberts, senior technical sales manager at Climalife and recently appointed president of the British Refrigeration Association, felt that regulation changes for F-Gas will shape the industry and not the PFAS limitations that have recently been suggested. 

He added that while the F-Gas revisions were still in a draft state, the proposed phase-down acceleration means that installing new equipment with refrigerant above 1000 GWP is risky without provisions for drop-in refrigerants at a later date. It was also noted that the F-Gas draft suggests the importance of training and certification for natural refrigerants as a substantial benefit for the industry.

On a different note, Paul Newton of MentalTheft explained why cybercrime is not the only theft of data people need to protect against, and demonstrated how simple discussions with the wrong person can lead to password theft and substantial losses.

Presentations on the day came from:

  • Neil Roberts, Climalife
  • Pawel Wisnik, Honeywell
  • Chris Chisman, TEV Limited
  • Mark Hughes, Chemours
  • Francois Pericat, Mobil Exxon
  • Neil Stewart, Yellow Jacket
  • Tunca Kekban, Honeywell
  • Paul Newman, MentalTheft