The $5.2 million research programme on flammable refrigerants is part of ongoing global action to phase down the use of high-GWP fluorinated gases, identify and accelerate the use of climate-friendly alternatives, including hydrocarbons.
The U.S. government is working together with the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI), the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), the Alliance for Responsible Atmospheric Policy and other organisations to conduct research on mildly flammable (A2L) and flammable (A3) refrigerants as low-GWP alternatives to hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in air conditioning and refrigeration applications.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is contributing $3 million in funding, while ASHRAE and AHRI are contributing $1.2 million and $1 million respectively.
The research will support the acceleration of updated safety standards to allow more extensive use of natural refrigerants like hydrocarbons, not just in the United States but also at global level.
The results will be used to update the ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 15-2013 (Safety Standard for Refrigeration Systems) and ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 34-2013 (Designation and Safety Classification of Refrigerants).
“ASHRAE has a strong history and commitment to refrigerants, having written our first standard on the topic in 1919,” said David Underwood, ASHRAE president.
“We have continued our work in this area since that time, publishing the industry’s leading standards on refrigerants (Standards 15 and 34) as well as conducting hundreds of research projects on the topic. As such, ASHRAE is fully committed to this project. In fact, the funds we are using for our share represent the largest transfer from our Research Reserve Fund in our 122 year history,” he added.
“AHRI is extremely grateful to ASHRAE, DOE, and the International Code Council for their commitment to accelerating the introduction of suitable alternatives to high-GWP refrigerants,” said AHRI President and CEO Stephen Yurek.
“Our member companies, some of which produce refrigerants and others of which manufacture the highest quality air conditioning and commercial refrigeration equipment in the world, can use the results of this vital research to continue in those missions, but in an even more environmentally friendly way,” Yurek said.