Company progresses with White House CEQ commitment to offer a chiller portfolio that is future compatible with OpteonTM XP10 (R-513A) a safe, non-flammable, low-GWP refrigerant

Recent advancements by Johnson Controls and the White House Council on Environmental Quality commitment have focused on enhancing HFC product lines to be fully compatible with The Chemours Company’s non-flammable low-GWP refrigerant OpteonTM XP10 (R-513A).

Scott Willocks, HVAC sales manager at Johnson Controls Building Efficiency UK & Ireland, commented: “As the industry is by now well aware, there are three specific HFC bans in place that directly affect the air-conditioning business:
• HFCs with a GWP > 2500 from 1st Jan. 2020 in all stationary refrigeration equipment.
• HFCs with a GWP >150 from 1st Jan. 2020 in all hermetically sealed mobile a/c equipment.
• HFCs with a GWP > 750 from 1st Jan. 2025 in all single split systems with a charge below 3kg.

“Although, none of the above bans will directly impact on the use of R-134a (GWP-1300) in chiller plant, there is however a requirement to reduce the use of HFCs in Europe to 21 percent of the current position in phased steps by 2030. As a result, the search is on for an efficient, low GWP, low-toxicity, non-flammable, low cost alternative to R-134a.

“Given that the major contributor to CO2 emissions over the lifetime of a chiller is related to the chiller operating efficiency, not the refrigerant used, lunging to a low GWP refrigerant solution that results in a reduced chiller operating efficiency may be akin to ’throwing the baby out with the bathwater’. Now is a time for calm heads.

“Johnson Controls has conducted extensive testing on a large number of low GWP blends and HFO refrigerants across our entire screw and centrifugal compressor chillers. A general summary of the results is detailed in the accompanying table.

Scott added: “Based on the results, we have concluded that R-134a remains the best solution. It continues to give the best balance of cost/kg, efficiency, GWP, toxicity and flammability. However, to alleviate any uncertainty and concerns with regards the price and availability of R134 over time, we recognise the need to “future proof” our chillers.

“As a result, Johnson Controls has made the decision to enhance their HFC product lines by confirming that all screw and centrifugal chillers (air-cooled and water-cooled) will be fully future compatible with R-513A.

“The choice of R-513A over the alternatives was based on the following key factors:
• Best operating efficiency
• Suitability for our complete range of global screw and centrifugal chillers
• Suitability as a “drop-in” replacement for R-134a
• A1 Safety Classification – Low Toxicity and Non-Flammable
• A 56% reduction in the GWP v’s R-134a

“Based on the current refrigerant £/kg, chiller operating efficiency and safety classification the Johnson Controls recommendation is to continue with R-134a – but to “future proof” your decision by ensuring your chiller is suitable for future replacement with R-513A if required.”

Diego Boeri, global business director, Chemours Fluorochemicals, said: “As the HVACR industry faces increasing pressure to shrink its growing environmental footprint, OpteonTM XP10 provides equipment owners with a hydrofluoroolefin (HFO)-based, low-GWP and non-flammable solution to reduce their refrigerant’s carbon footprint, in a broad range of end-use applications and climates, without compromising system performance.”

Johnson Controls takes a holistic approach to carbon emission reductions. While low-GWP refrigerants are important for the future, energy efficiency represents the greatest opportunity for true greenhouse gas emission reductions. Energy consumption represents as much as 95 percent of a chiller’s lifetime carbon emissions.

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