ASHRAE is currently working on balancing the safety of flammable refrigerants with their impact on the environment. According to the society, this requires an immense amount of information. To provide such needed data, ASHRAE is launching the initial project in a multi-million dollar research program with the goal of establishing a more robust fact base about the properties and the use of flammable refrigerants.
The research is part of a $5.8 million program funded by ASHRAE; the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI); the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE); the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM); the California Air Resources Board (CARB); and Johnson Controls. This program is part of an ongoing global effort to phase down the use of high global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants and identify appropriate climate-friendly alternatives.
The program involves eight research projects, which are expected to be completed during 2017 with final results made available by the end of 2017. The findings from the projects will be used to update standards and codes that will govern the safe use of flammable refrigerants.
“ASHRAE is pleased to kick off its first project in this program,” said Tim Wentz, ASHRAE president. “The rapidity with which technology advances building equipment and systems is creating challenges for our industry. Nowhere is this more evident than in dealing with refrigerants. This research is part of our push to harness and adapt new technologies to ensure a more sustainable future.”
The project, “Flammable Refrigerants Post-Ignition Simulation and Risk Assessment Update,” is the first of three projects being conducted by ASHRAE under this effort. The project will determine the consequences of ignition events through computer simulations. The findings will be used to update risk assessments previously funded by AHRI that determined the probability of ignition events.
The project will remain open for bid through Nov. 14, 2016. Those interested can find more information at www.ashrae.org/research.
Other projects to be funded by ASHRAE are:
• RP-1807, “Guidelines for Flammable Refrigerant Handling, Transporting, Storing, and Equipment Servicing and Installation,” slated to go out for bid before the end of the year.
• RP-1808, “Servicing and Installing Equipment Using Flammable Refrigerants: Assessment of Field-Made Mechanical Joints,” slated to go out to bid before the end of the year.
AHRI is funding three projects through its research arm, the Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Technology Institute (AHRTI): AHRTI 9007, “Benchmarking Risk by Real Life Leaks and Ignitions Testing;” 9008, “Investigation of Hot Surfacing Ignition Temperature for A2L Refrigerants;” and 9009, “Leak Detection of A2L Refrigerants in HVAC&R Equipment.”
DOE is funding two projects: “Investigating the Proper Basis for Setting Charge Limits of Flammable Refrigerants for Various Types of Products” at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and “Modeling Tools for Flammability Ranking of Low-GWP Refrigerant Blends” and “Development of Method of Test for Flammable Low-GWP Refrigerants” at the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
AHAM is funding research to investigate the potential real-life leakage and performance testing of A2L refrigerants in household room air conditioners, portable air conditioners, and dehumidifiers. AHAM is planning to also conduct research on A3 refrigerants in household refrigerators and freezers.