As the air conditioning industry strives to meet targets designed to tackle global warming, R32 has come to the fore as the new refrigerant of choice.
Under a 2014 regulation, next year will see the first major drop in the availability of F-Gases with high global warming potential (GWP). This has major implications for manufacturers, installers and users of air conditioning systems, as these gases are in widespread use as the refrigerant in many systems.
F-Gases have a GWP up to 23,000 times greater than carbon dioxide and although they do not damage the ozone layer, they can have a powerful greenhouse effect. A version of the legislation was first proposed to reduce emissions occurring through leakage during manufacture and disposal, with early efforts focused on training.
However, the 2014 version introduced a quota system based on measurements of the carbon dioxide equivalent. With the ambitious target of reducing usage by 80% by 2030, the industry was faced with two options: Drastically reduce the use of refrigerant, or develop new products with much lower GWP.
Major manufacturers such as Mitsubishi Electric responded by creating units and systems using R32, which has a much lower GWP than its predecessors. The company’s Carl Dickinson, writing for Modern Building Services, explained R32 is particularly attractive because it is a single component refrigerant that is easy to handle, reuse and recycle.
“In addition, R32 is both affordable and readily available, a fact which will be instrumental to the industry,” he added.
Sales of R32 are already high in India, Japan and Australia and Mr Dickinson believes the products will quickly prove popular in the UK. “Over the coming year, it is expected that there will be a rise in the number of R32 air conditioning solutions available on the market” he wrote. “This should strengthen R32 as the logical choice for split air conditioning systems, while both reducing the carbon footprint and fulfilling government requirements.”
If you’re uncertain about whether your system is ready for the coming changes, contact the air conditioning experts at 361 Degrees.