The application of the new F-Gas Regulation in Europe, country-level taxation on refrigerants, and performance requirements of the Ecodesign Implementing Regulation*, set out the new environmental mandatory actions for air conditioning equipment.
The Regulatory Context and Carrier’s Response
The new F-Gas Regulation went into effect Jan. 1, 2015, setting ambitious targets for reducing the quantity of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) sold in the EU, with a target of 79 percent reduction in their supplies in the EU by 2030. This legislation impacts various sectors of activity including domestic, commercial, industrial and transport refrigeration, comfort cooling and heating in buildings and industrial process cooling. For these latter two sectors, there is one HFC in particular, non-ozone depleting R134a, that is currently widely used, but which has a greenhouse impact.
HFC phase-down objectives
R134a is used as a refrigerant in chillers with a capacity over 300 kW. One of its potential replacements is HFO-1234ze, a hydrofluoroolefin gas, which has a Global Warming Potential (GWP) lower than 1, based on IPCC 5th assessment report (GWP 7 according to the 2010 assessment of the SAP of the Montreal protocol).
HFO-1234ze and Water Vector Systems: A Winning Combination
After a two-year, extensive research program testing different refrigerants, Carrier has made the strategic decision to choose HFO-1234ze for its new heating, ventilating and air conditioning ranges using screw compressors. For Carrier, this choice aims to meet the strictest global environmental requirements and supports Carrier’s commitment to environmental stewardship.
New Swiss regulations on refrigerants effective from Dec. 1, 2013, require a GWP of less than 10 for any installation over 400 kW. In Switzerland, there are currently six installations running with customised Carrier units* using HFO-1234ze. The AquaForce® line using this ultra-low GWP refrigerant, called PUREtec™, has been available since June 2015.
These new ranges comply with the dual European requirement imposed on water chillers:
- To meet the requirements of the Ecodesign Regulation No. 1095/2015 (ENTR Lot 1, for professional refrigeration equipment and process chillers), setting high thresholds for seasonal energy efficiency;
- To meet the environmental requirements defined in the F-Gas Regulation No. 517/2014. The objective set by the F-Gas Regulation is to ensure that the greenhouse gas emissions of fluorinated refrigerants are reduced by 79% by 2030.
Carrier has made the decision to use a refrigerant not subject to the F-Gas Regulation.
This means that the refrigerant gas HFO-1234ze (GWP < 1) has a near-zero impact in terms of global warming. This environmentally balanced choice is also operationally efficient:
- In terms of the frequency of leakage tests due to the new F-Gas Regulation, the frequency of on-site leakage tests of the refrigerant circuits must be determined according to the GWP of the refrigerant in the installation (GWP x weight of refrigerant). Going forward, a chiller using R134a will require testing every six months, while a chiller with the same output using HFO-1234ze will no longer require regulatory testing.
- In terms of risk management, HFO-1234ze is not flammable at ambient temperature and is non-toxic (category A2L, according to incoming EN 378 Refrigerating systems and heat pumps – safety and environmental requirements). Taking into account this new regulatory segmentation, the safety devices on Carrier units have been reinforced and their operating instructions have been revised to ensure the complete safety of the equipment and the installations. HFO-1234ze is classified as low flammability and non-toxic, unlike propane, which is classified as high flammability and non-toxic (category A3) or ammonia, which is classified as low flammability and toxic (category B2L), thus requiring stricter intervention measures.
|Lower toxicity||Higher toxicity|
|No flame propagation||A1
- In terms of machine adjustments, HFO-1234ze, being a pure refrigerant,
- avoids “glide” problems found in phase changes with refrigerant blends,
- facilitates any gas recharging. With blended refrigerants, cooling circuits must be completely drained and recharged to guarantee the balance of the blend. HFO-1234ze, we can top-up the existing charge.
- In terms of long-term sustainability, HFO refrigerants are not subject to HFC phase-down scheme or local taxation in some European Union countries.
The commercialisation of product ranges using HFO-1234ze goes beyond the requirements set by the F-Gas Regulation. Carrier chillers with PUREtec™ refrigerant guarantee compliance with the current F-Gas Regulation up to 2030.
*Custom Unit which is not certified in accordance with AHRI Water-Cooled Water-Chilling and Heat Pump Water-Heating Packages Using Vapor Compression Cycle Certification Program, but is rated in accordance with AHRI Standard 550/590 (I-P) and AHRI Standard 551/591 (SI).
Founded by the inventor of modern air conditioning, Carrier is the world’s leader in high-technology heating, air-conditioning and refrigeration solutions. Carrier experts provide sustainable solutions, integrating energy-efficient products, building controls and energy services for residential, commercial, retail, transport and food service customers. Carrier is a part of UTC Climate, Controls & Security, a unit of United Technologies Corp., a leading provider to the aerospace and building systems industries worldwide.