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Safety Considerations when Working with 2L Flammability Class Refrigerants


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Safety Considerations when Working with 2L Flammability Class Refrigerants

Climate change is becoming a more serious issue, so the use of lower GWP refrigerant is preferable for the HVAC&R industry. Lower GWP means a chemical must be less stable than those previously used, or must be already abundant in the atmosphere. Less stable compounds are likely to be toxic or flammable. However, as refrigeration and air conditioning equipment generally consumes a lot of energy, a lower GWP refrigerant with poor efficiency will not help to mitigate climate change. It might even worsen the total global warming impact of equipment.

In Japan, which has one of the best refrigerant recovery regimes in the world, the refrigerant recovery rate is estimated to be about 30%. It would be very hard to double the recovery rate and even if a recovery rate of 70% were achieved, 30 % of refrigerant would not be recovered. It's important to anticipate a considerable number of accidents if a highly flammable or toxic refrigerant is employed under such circumstances.

For this reason the assessment of lower flammability is a key consideration in determining whether a refrigerant can be used safely in a residential application. If it is possible to use such a refrigerant with lower GWP for general consumer use, it would enable significant reduction of refrigerant emission in CO2 equivalent.

Author: Osami Kataoka BSc(Eng)