Hydrocarbons will not be used in residential applications in North America because the risk is too high, according to Stephen R Yurek, the CEO and president of the United States-based Air-Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration Institute (AHRI).

But hydrocarbons are ideal for hermetically sealed applications with small charges like window air conditioners and domestic refrigerators, Yurek said.

Speaking at the Future:Air seminar in Sydney last week, he said most companies will not take the risk of using hydrocarbons in a residential environment.

“Litigation is a real concern,” he said adding that the trend is to use some kind of A2L HFO.

Yurek was responding to a question by CCN about the introduction of higher charge limits for hydrocarbons in refrigeration equipment by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).

The IEC has increased the allowable charge limit on hydrocarbon refrigerant applications to 500g under the IEC 60335-2-89 global standard.

It is a significant increase on the previous maximum approved amount of 150g.

While there has not been an official announcement, the matter will be discussed at an IEC standards meeting on June 17, 2019.

Yurek said AHRI will look at the IEC charge limit and move slowly.

“The US will be a half or a third of the charge size and then expand it in a few years time,” he said.

“Hydrocarbons will be used for the right application but it won't be used in a residential application."

AHRI's 300-plus member companies produce more than 90 per cent of the residential and commercial equipment sold in North America.

Also speaking at the event was the Director General of the European Partnership for Energy and the Environment (EPEE), Andrea Voigt.

She said there will be a move to higher charge sizes in Europe but it won't happen overnight.

“Germany has already increased charge sizes for hydrocarbons so theoretically its possible to do this now but nothing has happened. Manufacturers haven't acted yet because of safety concerns,” she said.


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