During the last three years, the US Refrigeration market has made a massive shift to environmentally friendly hydrocarbon refrigerants. R290 (propane) has captured the lion share of the commercial refrigeration market, while R600a (isobutane) has been the refrigerant of choice for domestic refrigeration.
The air-conditioning market is now gearing up for what we expect to be another major shift towards clean refrigerant gas. Other markets in Asia and Europe have followed the same path in recent years and can provide a frame of reference for the North American market. Although we have seen R290 (GWP 3) being used in heat-pump applications, so far R32(GWP 675) has been the most popular replacement for R410a (GWP 2,088). In automotive applications R1234yf has replaced R134a, although CO2 (R744) has also gained some market share.
Both R32 and R1234yf have an ASHRAE classification of A2L, denoting mild flammability, vs. an A3 classification (high flammability) for hydrocarbon refrigerants. Mild flammability translates in lower safety requirements for industrial plant installations which have a considerable impact on the investment required for transitioning to a new A2Lrefrigerant.
VTech has been at the forefront of H.C. refrigerant introduction in North America, providing turn-key installations including filling equipment for final assembly and repair lines, safety systems, ultrasonic tube sealing. Engineering support for safety regulations and lay-out design throughout the life of the project has been instrumental to the success of our customers.
We are looking forward to providing our equipment and process knowledge to air conditioning OEMs in North America and elsewhere during the transition to a new refrigerant.