When it comes to next generation refrigerants, Honeywell's global business manager for refrigeration, Robert Kebby, said the focus will be on energy efficiency.
In the current climate of F-Gas regulations and the HFC phasedown, Kebby said the focus is on a reduction in Global Warming Potential (GWP) and flammability.
However, he said the focus will soon shift to energy efficiency.
“What we see trending is a continual reduction in GWP followed closely by better energy efficiency,” Kebby told participants at CCN Live 2019. “We can't take our eye off energy efficiency it's the elephant in the room.”
When it comes to identifying the refrigerants likely to dominate over the next decade, Kebby said it's all still up for debate.
“The amount of change we have seen in the last 15 years is astronomical and countries such as India, China and the United States are yet to ratify the Kigali Amendment to move away from HFCs,” he said.
Kebby said when Honeywell develops products there are a number of factors to consider from economics to safety and training. “But it is also import to maintain simplicity,” he added.
Presenting Honeywell's product roadmap for the next decade, Kebby outlined A1 non-toxic/non-flammable options as well as A2L mildly flammable/non-toxic alternatives.
He said Solstice HFO and HFO blends are being used for a wide range of applications from R1233zd for centrifugal chillers and Solstice R1234ze and N13 as a replacement for R-134a.
“We blend these HFOs with HFCs and we can come up with alternatives like N13 which is a replacement for R134a with very few design changes,” Kebby said.
“R22 has pretty much gone in Australia and we have a couple of solutions to replace R404A that are currently in use in Australia.
“At the end of this year we will be releasing R-466A which is an A1 replacement for R-410A that has a GWP of 733.
“When transitioning its about taking small steps so when developing products we try to mimic what is already in the market with previous refrigerants.”
Kebby said R-466A matches R-410A in performance and discharge temperatures are very close with significant advantages in high ambient environments.
He said converting from 134a to 515B there are minor design changes and when it is time to move to a ‘ze’ product which is an A2L the end user will be ready to transition.
“Our job is to try and aid that process with small steps to avoid the impact of a major redesign,” he said.
Kebby said there are zd and ze products already installed in Australia including 448A which is a 404A retrofit.
“There are already 23,000 installations of R-448A globally and we have seen energy efficiency improvements upward of 8%,” he said.
Kebby said flammable refrigerants represent a new way of thinking and its important the entire industry undertakes A2L training.
“We are only three to four years away from thinking about new systems, not just reducing the GWP but reducing the energy used in the system,” he said.
“We can make a difference using different refrigerants in existing systems with good results. But in the future as we design new refrigerants and new systems there will be even better results.”