A risk assessment by the EU-funded Life Front project has concluded that refrigeration and heat pump equipment using hydrocarbon refrigerants have a low flammability risk compared to other appliances.
Tests carried out on a commercial refrigeration cabinet, an indoor packaged air-to-water heat pump, and a ground source heat pump, assessed the effectiveness of the specific design in mitigating the risk and preventing the creation of an uncontrolled explosive atmosphere.
The report – Quantitative Risk Assessment for Flammable Refrigerants – is the culmination of a project aimed at removing “barriers posed by standards” for flammable refrigerants and improve system design to address flammability risks.
The project has been led by Shecco in partnership with chilled and heat pump manufacturers AIT-Deutschland and NIBE, commercial refrigeration manufacturer AHT, German environmental consultancy HEAT, and environmental group ECOS.
Tests were carried out on prototypes including a commercial refrigerating cabinet, an indoor packaged air-to-water heat pump, and an existing ground source heat pump specifically designed and modified to function with R290.
The group concluded that the flammability risk presented by the use of hydrocarbon refrigerants is low compared to the fire risk associated with other comparable equipment and appliances.