Dr. Volkmar Hasse from GTZ-Proklima International presented main features and advantages of the R290 RAC systems from manufacturer Gree at the Joint West Asia and South Asia Network Meeting in May this year:
- Energy efficiency: The COP of the product is between 3.52 and 3.55 depending on the model and hence is better than the “A” rating of the EU efficiency labeling for air conditioners.
- Cost efficiency: Due to narrower tubes for the condenser and the evaporator, as well as the lower price of the natural refrigerant, the R290 RAC systems can be produced at lower costs than the currently used R22 RAC systems. The units would be also cheaper than air conditioners using HFC, such as R407C and R410A.
- Safety features: Due to improved design, the Chinese R290 air-conditioners have a lower refrigerant charge than currently required by the international standards for R290 air-conditioners. A special compressor design, as well as a refrigerant leak alarm systems further enhances the safety. Thanks to these features, the air-conditioners will achieve the CE-marking, which stands for the conformity to all EU-legislation.
- R290 Compressor: The compressor has an improved electric connecter to reduce the risk of electric ignition, a special lubrication oil to make compressor operation more stable and reliable, and an exhaust structure that is more suitable to the compression ratio and leads to improved efficiency. The COP of the compressor reaches up to 3,4. Moreover, the compressor has the same price as an R410A compressor and will further decrease in future when serial production starts.
- Refrigerant Leak Alarm System: The special alarm system makes sure that once a leak is detected the compressor stops operating to avoid high temperature, while the fans will keep on running to dilute the refrigerant and avoid flammable concentrations. In addition, audible alarm, as well as flashing light signals will turn on.
The mass production of the R290 air-conditioning systems from Gree is planned to start before December 2009. The produced units are forecasted to save emissions in the range of 560,000 tonnes CO2 during the units’ life cycle and an additional 20,000 tonnes of CO2 indirect emissions can be saved from the 180,000 units produced in the first year.
The final project goal is to convince other air-conditioning manufacturers from China and from other countries of the cost-efficient and environmentally sound technology and to follow its example. This could have a major influence on hydrocarbons technology, since a large part of the Chinese production of air-conditioners is for export.