The R32 roll-out continues
Since the introduction of the Montreal Protocol, and the phase-out of HCFCs, the refrigeration and air conditioning industry has driven the development of a range of synthetic refrigerants with low global
warming potential (GWP).
R32 was among the new lower-GWP refrigerants to emerge, but the regulations and standards in place at the time largely disqualified it from use due to its flammable properties placing it in the A2 (now A2L) classification.
Rather, it was blended with other refrigerants to create a safer option – albeit at the cost of a higher GWP. For example, R410A – commonly found in packaged and split systems – is a blend of R32 and the fire suppressant R125. Another refrigerant blend, R407C, contains 23 per cent R32. The trade-off between GWP and flammability has always existed around refrigerants due to the physical characteristics of chemicals. To have a lower GWP, the refrigerant’s chemical compounds are typically less stable and therefore more flammable. Conversely, to achieve more stability and reduce flammability in the refrigerant, the GWP increases.
Read the full article from HVAC&R.