flammable refrigerants

Global refrigerant licence scheme launched

Following a ten years of function from organisations around the world and a collection of pilot jobs, the United Nations Refrigerant Driving Licence (RDL) plan was released at the 45th conference of the Open up-ended Performing Team of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol, held in Bangkok.

The RDL is a complete refrigerant management qualification software that seeks to assist establishing nations achieve better competence criteria in secure refrigerant managing via instruction and accreditation.

It has been jointly produced by UNEP OzonAction and the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI). Key international sector associations supporting it involve Location, ASHRAE, ABRAVA, ACAIRE, EPEE, HRAI, JRAIA, KRAIA, ARAP and U-3ARC.

The RDL sets minimum amount competencies and techniques for the refrigeration and air conditioning servicing sector, generating an sector and association-endorsed intercontinental qualification program that is accessible to field and governments alike.

According to the bodies associated, the RDL will be an significant instrument for benchmarking of crucial competencies and expertise essential for the suitable and secure managing of refrigerants. In turn this will assistance the completion of the HCFC period-out, and clean start off of the HFC section-down in Posting 5 international locations in line with the Kigali Amendment of the Montreal Protocol.

An essential ingredient of the RDL is that it contains assessment of technician awareness and capabilities in the handling A2L and A3 refrigerants now getting into the industry as reduce-GWP possibilities to conventional refrigerants.

The Developing Engineering Products and services Association (BESA) has welcomed the extended-awaited launch, noting that it will support improve throughout the world safety specifications in HVAC&R as sector moves absent from HFCs and in the direction of a lot more flammable choices. Some marketplace bodies in developing countries have lifted issues about becoming utilized as “guinea pigs” for refrigerant transition.

“A great deal of countries do not get pleasure from the education and technical infrastructure we get for granted in Europe and the relaxation of the produced entire world,” says BESA Technological Director Graeme Fox, one of the founders of the RDL plan.

“Many of individuals nations however want to development and adopt far more environmentally friendly refrigerants. Even so, the velocity of the transition to new gases is producing some quite major basic safety challenges, and there have by now been a number of fatalities brought about by the mishandling of these substances.

“European legislators are entitled to praise for trying to get to established the rate on cutting down international warming, but variations require to be proportionate and useful. We must be aware that just one of the penalties of limiting the use of conventional refrigerants is that many developing nations with negligible experience finish up managing large quantities of flammable fuel.

“The RDL will, provided time, immeasurably improve skilled benchmarks worldwide and make it possible for for the gradual and risk-free adoption of additional environmentally benign substances.”

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New explosive gas atmospheres standard on the way

Field is getting ready for a new version of AS/NZS 60079.10.1:2009, Classification of places – Explosive gasoline atmospheres, because of to look afterwards this yr.

AS/NZS 60079.10.1:2009 is a modified version of the IEC 60079-10-1 regular, released in 2008. Given that then there have been two updates to the IEC common, in 2015 and 2020. The Specifications Australia committee has thought of the IEC 2020 model, and it is anticipated to be printed, with modifications, as an Australian regular in late 2022.

Ben Adamson, F.AIRAH, who serves on committees with Benchmarks Australia and the Worldwide Electrotechnical Commission, states that the new variation of the regular will be of distinct curiosity in Australia’s transforming HVAC&R landscape.

“In the past, this conventional has experienced small relevance to Australian HVAC practitioners, as flammable refrigerants have seldom been made use of in HVAC,” suggests Adamson. “The R fraternity have some desire in 60079.10.1 because of to the use of ammonia, which is minimal flammability (class B2L) but the Australian annexes in AS/NZS 60079.10.1:2009 incorporate precise provisions relating to ammonia, and the ammonia earth is familiar with these. Other flammables, these kinds of as propane, have been made use of generally in large units for the oil, fuel and petrochemical industries, wherever the use of flammables is common and has been practiced properly for a lot of many years.”

But, as Adamson factors out, flammable (A2L) HFOs and a flammable HFCs these types of as R32 are significantly getting used.

“Small systems with restricted costs of A2Ls (commonly <1kg) are covered under specific appliance standards,” he says, “but we are now seeing package chillers containing 100kg or more of R1234ze, R1234yf or R32, all A2Ls.”

Adamson notes that the A2L classification is not ecognized in Australia under flammable gas standards, and clause, in AS/NZS 5149.3:2016 states:

Machinery rooms with group A2L, A2, B2L, B2, A3 and B3 refrigerants, where it is possible for the concentration to exceed the practical limit or RCL (20 % of LFL), or for a flammable atmosphere to exist at any location, shall be assessed for hazardous areas in accordance with AS/NZS 60079.10.1.

“Any installation of a large package chiller for an HVAC application must conduct an appropriate design review and risk assessment in accordance with AS/NZS 60079.10.1,” says Adamson. “This will be a new experience for most HVAC practitioners in Australia.”

Adamson says there are a number of things practitioners can do to prepare.

“If considering an A2L installation, the designer and installer should read the current AS/NZS60079.10.1:2009, AS/NZS 5149.3:2016 and the latest IEC 60079.10.1(2020) and watch this space for more news later this year,” he says.

“If someone has already installed an A2L chiller without considering the flammability implications, that installation may be illegal or dangerous, or both. That carries major implications for insurance and liability, and should be reviewed as a matter of urgency.

“Finally, ensure that the person undertaking and signing off risk assessments is competent in the area of flammable gas atmospheres.”

Adamson recently presented on this topic at Refrigeration 2022, and is due to provide an update at the Future of HVAC 2022.

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Hydrocarbons the future for residential AC?

Sector stakeholders have applauded a revised Worldwide Electrotechnical Fee (IEC) basic safety typical that will allow bigger prices of flammable refrigerants in family appliances such as air conditioners, heat pumps and dehumidifiers. In unique, it could open up the way for greater use of hydrocarbons in household air conditioning.

Conventional IEC 60335-2-40 offers with the protection of electrical warmth pumps, together with air conditioners, sanitary incredibly hot drinking water heat pumps, and dehumidifiers incorporating motor-compressors and hydronic supporter coil models. The standard has been the issue of substantially consideration, as it is noticed as a key enabler for greater uptake of very low-GWP flammable refrigerants these kinds of as hydrocarbons.

The new version of the normal will allow the use of greater expenses if extra mitigation actions these types of as refrigerant sensors and circulation followers are in spot. It also introduces a new approach for calculating most cost by getting into consideration style and design characteristics that will stop the escape of refrigerant.

Beneath the revised standard, a common break up-program air conditioner could now keep up to 988g of R290 (propane).

“The new version of IEC 60335-2-40 will enable R290 to be applied in several AC and heat-pump techniques which were earlier blocked from using this refrigerant by the outdated edition,” suggests Asbjørn Vonsild, the convenor of the IEC operating team.

“This will permit a thousand-fold reduction in immediate weather emissions in comparison with devices employing R410A.”

Propane has a GWP of 3, as opposed to R410A’s GWP of 2,088, and R32’s GWP of 675.

The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), which has extended campaigned for greater uptake of hydrocarbons as an different to artificial refrigerants, has hailed the revised common as a significant stage to local weather-welcoming cooling.

“After urging governments and field to address this difficulty for quite a few many years, EIA is delighted to see this essential milestone achieved on the pathway to internet-zero and clean up sustainable cooling,” says EIA Climate Campaign Leader Clare Perry.

The EIA has also flagged fears all around artificial possibilities to HFCs that, whilst obtaining a low GWP, may possibly deliver damaging substances when they break down.

“The world is phasing out local weather-harming hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) less than the Kigali Modification to the Montreal Protocol and we urgently need to have to adopt potential-proof, price-helpful alternatives such as propane so as not tumble into the trap of buying into one more F-gasoline business ‘solution’ these types of as hydrofluoroolefins (HFOs), which are laden with environmental and human health and fitness problems,” states Perry.

“With this new common, we hope the European Parliament and EU member states to recognise that HFCs are no lengthier necessary for a big portion of the air-con and warmth pump marketplace and to improve the not too long ago proposed EU F-Gas Regulation accordingly.”

The typical is envisioned to be posted on June 24. Soon after that, it ought to be adopted into regional and nationwide protection requirements and constructing codes to take comprehensive influence.

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