• HVAC technician on the job
    HVAC technician on the job

A total of 1.22 million single split systems were sold in Australia in 2020, a five per cent increase on 2019 sales, according to the sixth edition of Cold Hard Facts 2021.

The report which was recently released by the federal Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, showed sales were still short of the all-time peak of 1.3 million units sold in 2017.

The federal government commissioned the Expert Group to compile the report which revealed a rapid transition of small split systems to R32 refrigerant. It showed year on year growth of more than 31 per cent of the installed R32 bank from 2019 to 2020.

“The stock of HFC-32 charged non-ducted single split systems made up more than 30 per cent of the equipment in this category in 2020. HFC-32 is displacing the once nearly universal use of the high GWP HFC-410A in this equipment segment,” the report said.

“HFC-32 is also starting to make an appearance in larger AC applications including split ducted systems and chillers with charges up to 100 kg seen in the market. In 2020 there were more than 1,400 large AC devices imported with a charge greater than 12 kg, of which 35 contained in aggregate 9.0 tonnes of HFC-32 (10 per cent by refrigerant volume).”

As R32 is approved for use in more countries and in larger charge sizes, it is also starting to displace HFC-134a and HFC-410A in some chillers. Scroll chillers, that would previously have used HFC-410A, are now being manufactured with HFC-32.

“HFC-32 is being offered in large AC with some manufactures offering chillers from 70 kW up to 700 kW, using HFC-32 charges two thirds of the previous HFC-410A charges required,” the report said.T

“This trend to HFC-32 in chillers with scroll compressors appears to be firmly entrenched in most Japanese based designs that are also offered in Europe.”

For example, Daikin now has an extensive range of chillers operating on HFC-32 with nominal capacities ranging from 81 to 701 kW and charge sizes up to 100 kg.

Pure HFOs are being deployed at a much slower rate in Australia.

Some suppliers are adopting a two-step approach, moving to a Class A1 HFO/HFC blend such as R513A (GWP of 629), while planning the transition to pure HFOs down the track.

Every leading chiller manufacturer is currently offering equipment charged with pure HFOs, with screw chillers available charged with R1234ze and centrifugal chillers using R1233zd.

However total sales of pure HFO charged stationary equipment is starting from a very low base and is estimated at no more than five per cent of total sales in 2020.

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