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Workshop on

Low GWP Alternative Refrigerants


Tehnofrig - Technical University of
Moldova
26-27th January 2016

Introductions

Background
Montreal Protocol
HCFC Phase out in Moldova
Role of UNDP / NOU

Outline of Workshop

Day one
Session
Introductions
Background - Montreal Protocol and HCFC phase
out it Moldova
Outline of the workshop and Brief Q&A session
Initial Assessment questionnaire
Break
Introduction to Alternative Refrigerants - safety,
efficiency, reliability and good practice
Lunch
System design using alternative refrigerants and
Tewi Analysis
Containment and leak detection of alternative
refrigerants
Break
Maintenance and repair of alternative refrigerant
systems
Retrofitting existing systems with low GWP
alternatives
Finish

Start
9:00

Finish
9:15

9:15

9:30

9:30
10:30
11:00

10:30
11:00
11:15

11:15

13:15

13:15

14:00

14:00

15:00

15:00

16:00

16:00

16:15

16:15

17:15

17:15

17:45

17:45

17:45

Day two
Session

Start

Finish

Review of day 1 / Q&A

9:00

9:15

Regulations and safety standards when working


with alternative refrigerants

9:15

10:15

Revised Code of Practice in Moldova

10:15

11:15

Break
Measuring the financial and environmental impact
of leakage
Tools and guidance for conducting site surveys

11:15

11:30

11:30

12:00

12:00

12:30

Lunch

12:30

13:30

Introduction to exercise

13:30

13:45

Exercise in groups of 4/5 (including break)

13:45

15:15

Group presentations

15:15

16:45

Review and discussion

16:45

17:45

Close

17:45

17:45

Outline of Workshop
Objectives
Informative
Applicable
Replicable
Approach
Flexible
Interactive
For trainers

Alternative refrigerant Quiz

Alternative refrigerant Quiz

General
Designs Implications
Standards and
Regulations
Maintenance and
Repair

Alternative refrigerant Quiz

Introduction
to Alternative
Refrigerants

Guide for Trainers


REAL Alternatives has been developed by a
consortium of associations and training
bodies from across Europe cofunded by
the EU Lifelong Learning Programme, with
the support of industry stakeholders.
Educators, manufacturers and designers
across Europe have contributed to the
content.
The materials will be available in Dutch,
English, German, Italian and Polish

Guidebook
Worksop and accompanying guide
based on the REAL Alternatives
Europe blended learning programme
for technicians working in the RAC &
heat pump sector with additional
material from industry and
government sources
Designed to improve skills and
knowledge in safety, efficiency,
reliability and containment of

Contents
Introduction
R744 (carbon dioxide, CO2)
R717 (ammonia, NHG3)
R32 (HFC)
R1234ze (HFO)

Contents
Safety
Toxicity and flammability
Pressures
Restrictions on use
Performance and operating conditions

Contents
Environmental impact
Availability
Leakage issues
Relevant standards & legislation

Sources of Material

Sources of Material

Introduction
to Alternative
Refrigerants

Environmental Impact
Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning
causes 10% of all worldwide GHG
emissions
2% through leakage of refrigerant
and 8% through electricity
consumption

Trends and Challenges


The next big change is
happening right now
low GWP
blends

HFC/HF
O
A2L
refrigera
nts

Trends and Challenges


Controls and compressors will be
available for dominant low GWP
refrigerants
Complexity will increase as the old
refrigerants only gradually phase out

Likelihood (5 years)

e
n
E

y
g
r

ef

ci

y
c
en

demand
response

Integrate
d
systems

Emerging
cooling
technolo
gy

impact

low GWP
refrigera
nts

climate

History
2020
EU FGas
HFOs
Regs
2010

Natural 1834
refrigeran
ts

1930
CFCs

HFCs
Kyoto
HCFCs
protocol
1990Montreal
1980
protocol

Trends and Challenges


Likely that in the near future we
will have a mixture of natural
and new synthetic refrigerants
Synthet
ic
Natur
al
NH3
CO2
HCs

HFO

Trends and Challenges


The 4th big transformation is
ongoing

Safety is the qualifying factor

Energy efciency is the winning


parameter
Regulations are driving
technology development

Climate, Safety, Efficiency


Montreal
protocol
phased out
CFCs and
HCFCs
In the US,
SNAP
regulations
has banned
high GWP
HFCs

EU F-Gas
regulations
will push for
global HFC
phase down
Canada and
Australia
have
introduced
HFC phase
down

HFC Phase Down

In Europe HFC
phase down is
approaching soon
with a big
reduction in 2018

Alternative Refrigerants
A

Sustainable
solutions
Environmen
tal

Safety

A view of the future - AC

Capacity

2015-2020

Centrifugal &
R134a screw
chillers

R410A Scroll chillers


R407C & rooftops

2020-2025

HFO & Blends

HFO
R32, HFO Blends
(DR5,DR55 etc)

R410AWindow units, split systems, VRF

now

2025-2035

R290
R32
HFO Blends

R290
R32

future

A view of the future refrigeration


2015-2020
2020-2025
2025-2035
Industrial

R717

Capacity

R404A

centralised systems
R134a, R744 supermarkets
R407A, R407F

condensing units

R448, R449

R290,
R744

R600a

now

R717 R744
R744 +
R290
R744 HFO & Blends

R32, HFO blends


DR5, L41, etc

Vending machines, bottle coolers, self


contained units, retail (semi plug in)
Domestic refrigerators & freezers

R290, R744

R600a

future

Main Refrigerants

GW
P

A1 non
flammable

>4,00
0

R425A

A3 highly
flammable

R407A/
F

<1,50
0

R134
a

R450A

<700

R453A

Similar
to:

A2L mildly
flammable

R22

<2,50
0

<150

R404
A

R1233
ZD
R1336mz
zz

R123

R127
0
R600
a
R1234
ze

R134a

R410
A

B2L Toxic lower


flammable

R449

Old reference
refrigerant

R448

New and on the market

N20
DR7
L40

Not yet on market


R32
R458B

R444B
DR3

HDR11
0

R290

R404A
R22

R744
R717

R410A

Other

Review of the Alternatives


R744 (carbon dioxide, CO2)
R717 (ammonia, NH3)
R32 (HFC with a lower GWP compared
to other commonly used HFCs)
R1234ze (low GWP hydrofluoroolefin)
R290 (propane)
R1270 (propene, propylene)
R600a (isobutane

Alternative Refrigerants
Alternative

Global
Warming
Potential
(GWP)

Hydrocarbon
s

3-5

Properties to be
addressed

Commercial
availability

Flammable

Immediate

CO2(R744)

High pressure

Immediate

Ammonia
(NH3, R717)

Toxic

Immediate

R32 (an HFC)

675

Mildly flammable

Immediate

HFOs

4-9

Mildly flammable

Immediate

200-400

Mildly flammable

Mid-term

R32-HFO
blends

Alternative Refrigerants
R744, R717 and R290 were among the earliest
refrigerants used for mechanical cooling
systems.
Their use declined when CFCs and HCFCs were
developed and R744 and R290 were rarely
used.
R717 continued to be used in industrial
systems.
When the ozone depleting refrigerants (CFCs
and HCFCs) were phased out R290 and other
hydrocarbons started to be used again

Alternative Refrigerants
Refrigera
nt
R744

R717
R32

R1234ze

R600a

R290

Type

Key facts

GWP1

Sat
temp2

Carbon dioxide,
CO2

High pressures

78C

33C

Industrial

675

52C

Split air
conditioning

19C

Chillers, split air


conditioning,
integrals

12C

Domestic and small


commercial
systems

42C

Chillers, integrals

Toxic and
Ammonia, NH3
mildly
flammable
Hydrofluorocarb Mildly
on HFC
flammable
Unsaturated
HFC
Mildly
(hydrofluoroolefi flammable
n, HFO)
Isobutane,
C4H10,
Flammable
hydrocarbon
(HC)
Propane, C3H8,
Flammable
hydrocarbon
(HC)
Propene
(propylene),

Typical
applications
Retail refrigeration,
heat pumps,
integrals

Application of alternative
refrigerants
Refrigerant

Central
Plant

VRV,
VRF

Split AC /
Heat
Pumps

Chillers

Remote
Condensi
ng Units

Integral
s

R744
R717
R32
R1234ze
R600a
R290 / R1270
Green these systems are suitable for the refrigerant type indicated, and the charge size is
usually within the limits specified in EN378. Some design changes are required, for
example to electrical devices and / or ventilation.
Amber these systems can and are used with the refrigerant type indicated, but there are
restrictions because of the maximum charge or practical limit specified in EN378 (see note
2 below). Some design changes are required to electrical devices and / or ventilation. In
some cases the volumetric capacity of the refrigerant means it is not ideal for the
application.
Red these systems should not be used with the refrigerant type indicated, usually
because the charge size exceeds the maximum specified in EN3781.

R744 (carbon dioxide, CO2) GWP =


1
R744 has high operating pressures, a low critical
temperature (31C) and a high triple point.
Its volumetric cooling capacity is between 5 and
8 times that of HFCs, reducing the required
compressor displacement and pipe size.
Its properties have an effect on how the system
is designed and operates, especially in high
ambient temperatures.
It has a high discharge temperature,
necessitating two-stage compression for low
temperature systems

Danfoss CO2 Video

CO2
Pumped secondary where R744 is the secondary fluid cooled by a primary
system.R744 is a volatile secondary which, coupled with the high capacity and
density, reduces the required pump power compared to other secondary fluids
such as glycol.
Cascade where the heat rejected by the condensing R744 is absorbed by the
evaporating refrigerant in a separate high stage system. In these systems the
R744 operates below the critical point and the high side pressure is generally
below 40 bar g. The high stage system can be R744 (see below), or it can be
HFC, HC, HFO or R717.
Transcritical systems where the R744 heat is rejected to ambient air and
at ambient temperatures above approximately 21C the R744 will be above
the critical point (31C) i.e. it will be transcritical. The R744 does not
condense it remains a super critical fluid until its pressure is reduced to
below the critical pressure (72.8 bar g). The high side pressure is typically 90
bar g when transcritical.

CO2
Danfoss
online training CO2

Advantages of CO2
High refrigeration capacity due to high volumetric cooling capacity (e.g., it is approximately up to 5 times that of
R404A). This has a positive impact on compressor displacement and the sizing of heat exchangers and pipe work.
Lower pressure drops in pipe work and heat exchangers.
For example, the impact of long suction and liquid lines is less.
High heat transfer in evaporators and condensers due to the high- pressure and density. This will either allow lower
temperature differences between the refrigerant and the air; therefore improving efficiency, or allow the use of
smaller evaporators and condensers. Tubing wall thickness may need to be increased to handle the higher pressures,
so careful design is required to take advantage of the R744 properties.
The pressure drop across an expansion valve is greater than with other refrigerants, so the minimum setting for head
pressure control can be lower. This improves efficiency.
Lower compression ratios leading to higher compressor isentropic efficiency.
Non-corrosive with most materials. There are very few differences to the materials used in HFC systems.
Good miscibility with compressor lubricants for oil return. Polyolester type lubricants can continue to be used as with
HFCs.
Low toxicity and nonflammable.
Negligible GWP so that, in the event of a leak, the direct impact on climate change is very low.
Inexpensive to produce and widely available, although the purity of the R744 should be 99.99% for use in a
refrigeration system with hermetic and semi-hermetic compressors, i.e., refrigerant grade.
High discharge temperatures due to the high index of compression. This provides good potential for heat reclaim.
The discharge temperature is excessively high in transcritical systems with a large difference between evaporating
and heat rejection temperatures.
Stable molecule leading to a low potential for decomposition within the refrigeration system.
There is no impending legislation phasing down or phasing out R744 so it can be viewed as a long-term refrigerant

Disadvantages of CO2
High operating and standstill pressures are more hazardous and increase the leak potential.
Specially designed components are required.
Special compressors are required because of the higher refrigeration capacity (different motor /
displacement combination).
R744 systems are more complex either cascade or transcritical. This leads to higher costs in
components and installation.
Pipe working on-site potentially includes steel or stainless steel, the need for specially licensed
welders, and different jointing techniques due to higher pressure and different materials.
The greater complexity also increases the probability of poor performance and reliability,
particularly if commissioning is not done well.
For transcritical systems two-stage compression is required for frozen food applications because
of the high discharge temperature of R744.
R744 transcritical systems are not suitable for high
Ambient areas (e.g., Southeast Asia) where the system will always run above the critical point
because of the inefficiency of transcritical operation.
R744 is not controlled by any regulation such as the European Fluorinated Gas Regulation, so its
use is not as carefully monitored as HFCs and leak detection is not as rigorous. However, the
high- pressures make the system leak prone, and performance will suffer if the leak rate is high.
Very sensitive to water contamination and can form unusual compounds when there is a leak in
a cascade heat exchanger.

R717 (Ammonia, NH3)


Ammonia is a naturally-occurring substance that can be used as an
alternative to fluorocarbon refrigerants in refrigeration systems. Unlike
carbon dioxide and hydrocarbons, ammonia has been used as a
refrigerant consistently since the invention of fluorocarbons; however,
its use has largely been restricted to large industrial applications.
Ammonia is a colourless gas at atmospheric pressure, it has both a
zero ozone depletion potential (ODP) and a zero global warming
potential (GWP).
R717 has a relatively high saturation temperature at atmospheric
pressure, is highly toxic, mildly flammable and has a pungent odour. It
can be smelt at concentrations of just 3 mg/m3, so it is evident at levels
much lower than those which are hazardous. It is lighter than air which
means that dispersion of any leaked refrigerant takes place quickly
The ATEL/ODL refers to the Acute Toxicity Exposure Limit / Oxygen
Deprivation Limit, whichever is taken as the lower of the two figures is
350 mg/m3and is listed in EN3781:2008 + A2:2012

R717 (Ammonia, NH3)


The relatively high saturation temperature means that many low
temperature applications (e.g. frozen food cold rooms and blast
freezers) run at sub atmospheric pressures on the low side.
R717 also operates with very high discharge temperatures. Single
stage compression can therefore normally be used above 10C
evaporating temperature. Below this, two-stage compression with
interstage cooling is required.
The high toxicity limits the application of R717 to very low charge
systems or industrial systems (i.e. systems in areas which are not
accessible by the general public). This typically includes distribution
cold stores and food processing plants, usually using secondary
systems where R717 is the primary refrigerant.
Ammonia corrodes copper so steel pipe work and open drive
compressors are used. It is also immiscible with conventional mineral
oils, making oil rectification an additional requirement of the
refrigeration systems.

R717 - Advantages
One of the most energy-efficient refrigerants available for
the temperature range used in the food and beverage
industry is 3-10% more efficient than competitive
refrigerants
Inexpensive
Readily available
Cost effective, with some of the best heat-transfer
characteristics of all refrigerants
Central systems provide central location of plant and easy
facilitation of backup and maintenance
Ammonia refrigeration systems cost 10-20% less to install
than systems using competitive industrial refrigerants.

R717 Disadvantages
Ammonia is flammable in certain concentrations.
Very specific design and operational regulations
Requirement for steel pipe, open drive compressors and oil
rectification, impact on the capital cost of an ammonia
installation.
Central systems require large refrigerant chargeThe vessels in
the machine room have to be sized to carry the system
charge throughout the year, so fairly large surge capacities
must be included.
The distribution network (pipes) that deliver the refrigerant to
the evaporators can be very elaborate, resulting in significant
refrigerant charge.
And all of the control valve stations located throughout the
system have the potential to leak.

R32
R32 is a low flammable HFC. Its performance and operating pressures
are very similar to R410A (R410A is a 50/50 mixture of R125 and R32)
and it is starting to be used in similar applications heat pumps, split
air conditioning systems and chillers. For further information on
suitability of application of this refrigerant you should always contact
your equipment supplier.
Its mild flammability limits the refrigerant charge size, but not to the
same extent as the more flammable hydrocarbons. Electrical devices
on the system will be the non sparking type if a leak can result in a
flammable concentration around the electrical device.
The operating pressures are higher than for most HFCs, but are similar
to R410A. Typically the high side maximum pressure is 35 bar g.
As a single component refrigerant, it is also easier to reuse and
recycle
than a blend such as R410A.

R717
Danfoss online learning

R32
Daikin and other international suppliers are beginning to
replace R410A with R32, and systems have already been
extensively installed in Japan (over 4 million units by 2015)
and they are now available in Europe.

The case for R32 Daikin White


Paper
R32 has a GWP of 675 compared with R410As GWP of 2,088
R32 can be more energy efficient than R410A (6% higher in a 4kW system)
Smaller charges means heat exchangers and other components can be
smaller, making
equipment more compact (18% smaller when compared with a 4kW system
using R410A)
Like most low GWP HFCs, R32 is rated as A2L, which means there is low risk
of accidents due
to toxicity (A), and it is mildly flammable (2L)
R32 is a single component refrigerant, which means it can be easily reused
and recycled;
R410A is a blended refrigerant
R32 has similar properties to HFO blends, in terms of f ammability
The boiling temperature of R32 is similar to R410A and slightly higher than
R22

R32 and EER


Refrigerant Charge

1.6

1.2

0.8

R2
2
R41
0A
R3
2

0.
4

2.5

3.0
Energy Efciency Ratio

3.5

The case for R32 Daikin White


Paper

R1234ze
Hydrofluoroolefin (HFO) and Hydrocarbon (HC) refrigerants are referred to
as fourth-generation refrigerants. They are unsaturated HFC refrigerants
and are widely recognized as the next generation of refrigerants because
of their low environmental impact and potential energy efficiency.
HFOs are distinguished from HFCs by being derivatives of olefins rather
than alkanes (paraffins). Olefins have carbon atoms linked by a double
bond where alkanes have single bonds between carbon atoms.
Hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants like R-134a, -125, -143a, and -152a,
and HFC-based refrigerant blends like R-507, -407A, -407B, -407C, and
-410A are all composed of hydrogen, fluorine, and carbon connected by
single bonds between the atoms.
Hydrofluoroolefin (HFO) refrigerants are also composed of hydrogen,
fluorine, and carbon atoms, but contain at least one double bond
between the carbon atoms

R1234ze
R1234ze is also a low flammable HFC, marketed as an HFO. This
is a halocarbon containing hydrogen, fluorine, and unsaturated
carbon.
It is in the same family of refrigerants as R1234yf which is now
being used in some car air conditioning systems. It is possible
that it might also be used in stationary systems in the future.
Its mild flammability limits the refrigerant charge size, but not to
the same extent as the more flammable hydrocarbons. Electrical
devices on the system will be the non sparking type if a leak can
result in a flammable concentration around the electrical device.
HFOs are miscible in Polyolester (POE)-type lubricating oils. The
miscibility of HFOs with POE lubricants is comparable to that of R134a. HFOs are not soluble in mineral-oil or alkylbenzene
lubricants.

R1234ze
The saturation temperature at atmospheric pressure is high compared
to other refrigerants so it will operate on a vacuum on the low pressure
side of the system for many applications.
It is therefore most suitable for medium and high temperature
applications such as water chillers.
Its cooling capacity is also low compared to other HFCs which means
that different compressors are required, with a larger displacement
relative to the motor.
R1234ze is not yet widely available, but is being trialled in chillers and
integral units.
Several blends using R1234ze are available for testing. They have lower
saturation temperatures so are suitable for low temperature
applications.
They all have GWPs in excess of 300. Some are non flammable, but
these tend to have significantly higher GWPs.

R-1234ze
An air-cooled, single/dual circuit
R134a/R1234ze high capacity chiller
designed around centrifugal Turbocor
compressor.
FRANCE: Carrier has joined the league
of chiller manufacturers adopting the
new low GWP HFO refrigerant
1234ze(E) with a debut installation in
Geneva.
Two Carrier AquaForce water-cooled
screw chillers using the new
refrigerant have been selected for the
innovative Plan-les-Ouates district
heating project in Geneva,
Switzerland.

Carrier R1234ze Brochure

R-1234ze

R290, R1270 and R600a (HCs) GWP


=3
R290 (propane), R1270 (propene, propylene) and R600a (isobutane)
are all hydrocarbons. They are highly flammable, so refrigerant
charge size is limited on many applications. This limits the
application of HCs mainly to integral systems, chillers and some split
air conditioning systems.
Electrical devices on the system will be the non sparking type if a
leak can result in a flammable concentration around the electrical
device.
R290 and R1270 have similar performance and operating pressures
to R404A and they are used in high, medium, and low temperature
commercial applications.
R600a has a much higher saturation temperature than other
refrigerants and operates at a vacuum on the low side in most
applications. Its use is limited to domestic and very small commercial
refrigeration systems with minimal leakage so that ingress of air and
moisture due to leakage rarely occurs

R290, R1270 and R600a (HCs) GWP


=3
Blends of HCs are also available, such as Care 30 (propane and
isobutene) and Care 50 (propane and ethane). They are also highly
flammable, and have significant temperature glide.
According to Greenpeace there are over 650 million hydrocarbon
refrigerators in the world today, around 40% of global annual
refrigerator production, 95% of EUs and 75% of Chinas production.
The global annual share of HC based refrigerators is expected to rise
to 80% by 2020.
Companies such as Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Unilever, Red Bull and
McDonalds, have together over 2 million cooling units using natural
refrigerants in the field already.
There are reports that systems using natural refrigerants are often
more energy efficient than those using HFCs, although many factors
need to be considered when comparing energy efficiency of cooling
equipment, but a number of different studies reveal higher energy
efficiency of systems using natural refrigerants in various sectors:

R290, R1270 and R600a (HCs) GWP


=3
Unilever- 9% energy savings with HC icecream freezers compared to HFC freezers
McDonalds- 19 to 32% energy savings from
restaurant entirely using natural refrigerants
Waitrose 20% energy savings with
hydrocarbon chilled water circuit in display
cabinets
PepsiCo & Red Bull 45% energy savings
with hydrocarbon combined with technical
improvements in vending machines

Hydrocarbons
Danfoss online learning

Safety Classifications
Issue

Refrigerant

Mild Flammability

HFOs, R32 and R717

High Flammability

HCs

Low Toxicity

R744 (CO2)

High Toxicity

R717 (Ammonia)

High pressures
(R744).

R744 (CO2)

Safety Classifications
The classifications are defined in ISO817:2009 Refrigerants
Definitions and safety classification. And in EN3781:2008 A2:2012;
Refrigerating systems and heat pumps Safety and environmental
requirements, Part 1 Basic requirements, definitions, classification
and selection criteria. The classifications comprise two parts

Safety
Factor

Degree

Toxicity

A or B

Flammabilit
y

1, 2, 2L or 3

Flammability
Safety
Classification

1
not flammable
2
lower
flammability
2L
*lower
flammability

Lower
Flammabilit
Heat of
y Level
Combust
(LFL) % in
ion J/kg
air by
volume

Flame Propagation

No flame propagation when tested at 60C and 101.3 kPa


> 3.5

> 3.5

< 19,000

Exhibit flame propagation when


tested at 60C and 101.3 kPa

Exhibit flame propagation when


tested at 60C and 101.3 kPa
< 19,000 and have a maximum burning
velocity of 10 cm/s when
tested at 23C and 101.3 kPa
Exhibit flame propagation when
19,000 tested at 60C and 101.3 kPa

3
3.5
higher
The A2L classification is not yet adopted it is in the current proposed revision of ISO817.
flammability

Toxicity
Class

Toxicity

Refrigerants for which toxicity has not been


identified at concentrations less than or equal to
400 ppm;

Refrigerants for which there is evidence of


toxicity at concentrations below 400 ppm.

Safety Classifications
Mixtures

Mixtures, whether zeotropic or azeotropic, with flammability and/or


toxicity characteristics which may change as the composition changes
during fractionation, shall be assigned a safety group classification
based on the worst case of fractionation. For example R404A is
classified A1, but all of the refrigerants described above have more
onerous safety implications than HFC refrigerants

Safety Classifications
LFL, kg/m3

Auto
ignition
temp, C

PL,
kg/m3

ATEL /
ODL

A1

Not
applicable

Not
applicable

0.1

0.07

NH3 R717

B2L*

0.116

630

0.00035

0.00022

HFC R32

A2L*

0.307

648

0.061

0.30

HFO
R1234ze

A2L*

0.303

368

0.061

0.28

HC R600a

A3

0.043

460

0.011

0.06

HC R290

A3

0.038

470

0.008

0.09

HC R1270

A3

0.047

455

0.008

0.002

Safety
group

CO2 R744

Refrigerant

Safety Classification

Notes:
The safety group is as listed in EN3781.
LFL (kg/m3) is the Lower Flammability Limit as listed in EN3781.
PL is the Practical Limit as listed in EN3781. For A1 refrigerants it is the
highest concentration in an occupied space that will not result in escape
impairing effects. For A3 refrigerants it is approximately 20% LFL.
ATEL / ODL is the Acute Toxicity Exposure Limit / Oxygen Deprivation
Limit as listed in EN3781. This is the level above which there is an
adverse effect that results either from a single or multiple exposures in a
short space of time (usually less than 24 hours).
The information for R32 is from the current proposed revision of EN378.
R1234ze is not listed in the current version of EN378. The information is
based on the current proposed revision. R1234ze does not exhibit flame
limits under standard test conditions, but it does at temperatures above
30C. The LFL stated is at 60C.

Safety Classification
Toxicity
R717 is toxic and has a very low practical limited of 0.00035kg/m3

Exposure
Inhalation of any refrigerant vapour in sufficient quantities can lead to asphyxiation, cardiac
sensitisation or an effect on the central nervous system. Theses can lead to dizziness, lethargy or
irregular heartbeat.
Asphyxiation
All refrigerants are asphyxiants because they displace air. This is a hazard if a large amount is
released particularly in an enclosed area, but a small amount leaking into the base of a well type
display case is also a serious hazard. The use of Carbon Dioxide (R744) as a refrigerant is
becoming more common and whilst most are aware of the high pressures involved, there is equal
danger from a leak of refrigerant which could cause an increase in carbon dioxide in the
atmosphere of a plant room for example. Technicians should be very mindful of the disorienting
impact of reduced oxygen and if necessary consider the use of breathing apparatus if a large leak
is suspected.

Products of decomposition
HFC and HFO form toxic products of decomposition when burnt for example during a compressor
burnout. Hydrogen fluoride is produced which forms hydrofluoric acid in contact with moisture. The
effects of inhalation or contact are very severe on human health and require hospital treatment.

Safety Classification
Higher Pressures
Most of the alternative refrigerants operate with lower pressures than
R404A, thus enabling standard tools and equipment to be used
(unless these are inappropriate for other safety reasons such as
flammability or material compatibility such as with ammonia).
However, R32 and R744 operate with higher pressures.
The maximum condensing pressure in R32 systems is typically 35 bar
g;
The maximum high side operating pressure in R744 transcritical
systems is typically 90 bar g. This is not shown in the pressure
temperature chart below because it is above the critical temperature
of 31C.
The maximum condensing pressure in R744 cascade systems is
typically 35 bar g.

Safety Classification
Higher Pressures
Most of the alternative refrigerants operate with lower pressures than
R404A, thus enabling standard tools and equipment to be used
(unless these are inappropriate for other safety reasons such as
flammability or material compatibility such as with ammonia).
However, R32 and R744 operate with higher pressures.
The maximum condensing pressure in R32 systems is typically 35 bar
g;
The maximum high side operating pressure in R744 transcritical
systems is typically 90 bar g. This is not shown in the pressure
temperature chart below because it is above the critical temperature
of 31C.
The maximum condensing pressure in R744 cascade systems is
typically 35 bar g.

Safety Classification
The higher operating pressures have
an effect on:
The rating of the components used;
Pipe thickness;
Tools used to access the system;
Refrigerant recovery equipment.

Pressure - Temperature Common Refrigerants

25.0

20.0

R134A

15.0

R404A
R407F

Pressure, bar g

R290
R600a

10.0

5.0

0.0
-60

-40

-20

20

Saturation Pressure C

40

60

Pressure - Temperature Common Refrigeratnts


80.0
70.0
60.0
50.0
Pressure,
bar g

R417A
R404A

40.0

R410A
R290
R717

30.0

R744
20.0
10.0
0.0
-60 -50 -40 -30 -20 -10

10

20

Saturation Pemperature C

30

40

50

60

Design Parameters
Mostly the required components, tools and equipment are now readily available but it is essential that
the appropriate tools, components and equipment are used and are compatible for the refrigerant in use.

Refrigerant

Temperature at
atmospheric
pressure
Critical
temperature
Critical pressure
Triple-point
pressure
Pressure at
saturated
temperature of
20C
Global warming
potential

HFC
R744

R404A

-78.5C
-46C
(Temp. of (Saturation
the dry ice)
temp.)

HCFC

HFO

R134a

R407A

R407F

R22

R1234yf

-26C
(Saturation
temp.)

-41C
(Mid point
saturation
temp.)

-43C
(Mid point
saturation
temp.)

-41C
Saturation
(temp.)

-30C
Saturation
(temp.)

31C

72C

101C

82C

83C

96C

95C

73.8 bar g

35.7 bar g

41.7 bar g

45.2 bar g

47.5 bar g

49.8 bar g

33.8 bar g

5.2 bar

0.03 bar

0.005 bar

0.013 bar

TBC

< 0.005 bar

tbc

57.2 bar g

10.9 bar g

5.7 bar g

10.2 bar g

10.6 bar g

9.1 bar g

5.9 bar g

11

3,9221

1,700

1,430

1,990

1,824

Restrictions on use such as maximum charge size


EN378 provides practical limits and maximum charge sizes for refrigerants. The
practical limits are shown in the table below and are based on the dominant hazard of
the refrigerant:
Toxicity (R717); or
Flammability (R600a, R290, R1270, R32, R1234ze); or
Asphyxiation (R744).
The practical limit (PL) is the highest concentration level in an occupied space that will
not result in escape impairing effects. Where flammability is the dominant hazard it is
20% of the lower flammability level. PL is used to determine the maximum charge size
for the refrigerant for systems where the refrigerant can leak into an enclosed occupied
space
EN378 specifies maximum charge sizes which depend on:
Location of equipment, e.g. below or above ground level, within cooled space, in
machine room;
Occupancy of area being cooled, e.g. unrestricted access by the public or authorised
access only;
Type of system, e.g. direct expansion or secondary / refrigeration or air conditioning.

Maximum charge for comfort cooling


and heating
For comfort cooling and heating the maximum charge is found from
the following equation given in EN3781:2008 A2:2012, C3

M = 2.5 x LFL1.25 x h x A

Where:
M

max charge in kg

LFL = lower flammability limit in kg/m 3 (0.038 for R290, 0.040


for R1270)
h = height of unit, m (0.6- floor mounted, 1.0 wall, 2.2 - ceiling)
A =

floor area, m2

window, 1.8 -

Maximum charge for comfort cooling and


heating
Class

Location

Example

People may sleep,


The number of people present is
not controlled;
Any person has access without
being personally acquainted with
the personal safety precautions

Only a limited number of people


may be assembled, some of them
Laboratories
being necessarily acquainted with
Places for general manufacturing
the general safety precautions.
Office buildings
May be a room or part of a building.

Not open to the general public


where only authorised persons are
granted access.
Authorised persons are acquainted
with general safety precautions.

Hospitals and nursing homes Prisons


Theatres, lecture halls
Supermarkets, restaurants, hotels
Transport termini
Ice rinks

Cold stores and abattoirs Refineries


Non public areas in supermarkets
Manufacturing facilities (e.g.
chemicals, food)

Performance and operating


conditions
R404A

-46

Required
Displaceme
nt
m3/h
14.84

R744

-78

3.88

1.75

114

3.42

R717

-33

14.3

3.27

152

4.82

R32 b

-52

9.65

3.17

99.5

3.77

R1234ze

-19

34.14

3.28

52

4.54

R600a

-12

47.13

3.26

51

4.40

R290

-42

17.35

3.18

59

3.61

R1270

-48

14.3

3.17

67

3.53

Refrigerant

Saturation
Temp at 0
Bar g C

COP

Discharge
Temp C

Compressi
on Ratio

2.94

57

3.82

The comparison has been estimated at the following conditions:

Cooling capacity, 10kW


Evaporating temperature, 10C
Condensing temperature, 35C (R744 is trans critical and has a gas cooler exit temperature of 35C)
Useful superheat, 5K
Sub cooling, 2K
Pressure losses are equivalent to 0.5K
Isentropic efficiency, 0.7

Performance
The figures above provide an indication of
comparative performance as it is based on a
theoretical cycle. Actual comparisons depend
on compressor technology, application, ambient
and system type
This is especially so for R744 where expected
COP, for example, would be higher than
indicated below for the type of system and
operating conditions where R744 is typically
deployed.

Performance

Performance

Energy Efficiency Ratio


EER or Energy Efficiency Ratio can also be used to
compare efficiencies in air conditioning and heat
pump applications.
This is the ratio of the cooling capacity of an air
conditioner in kW or BTU per hour; compared to the
total electrical input in kW or Watts at a given test
criteria.
This is normally based on the European Standard
EN 145112:2007 Air Conditioning, Liquid chilling
packages and heat pumps with electrically driven
compressors for space heating and cooling. Test
conditions

Time for Lunch