Environmental Legislation and the Future of RefrigerantsPresentation Summary- provides background information about current refrigerant regulation, refrigerant trends, and Johnson Controls’ stance on the future of refrigerants. This is not an overly technical presentation but offers an introduction into the topic of refrigerants.Audience- Consulting Engineers and potentially building owners, (this presentation can also be given to internal employees to update them on the current refrigerant situation)Length of Presentation- approximately 45-60 minutes.Version 1- 3/29/11Presentation Creator- William McQuadeFeedback- If you have any comments or suggestions for this presentation, please contact Jill Hugus Woltkamp (firstname.lastname@example.org)Note to the Presenter- Before presenting, make your self familiar with the script in the notes section as well as the animations (all animations are mentioned in bold text in the notes section.) If you are interested in a more detailed presentation or if you need assistance with presenting to a customer who has received a presentation from Trane, please contact Bill McQuade.
Johnson Controls has always been linked to sustainability due to our strong emphasis on energy efficient equipment. However, many people don’t realize that our commitment to developing sustainable products also extends to minimizing the effects that our refrigerants have on our global environment. Over the last 20 years ,YORK Brand products have pioneered the industry by eliminating Ozone depleting refrigerants. In the present, we are again leading the industry into a new evolution of refrigerants by developing solutions that minimize their total effect on global warming.In this presentation were are going to discuss the environmental issues that will affect our future refrigerant choices , and how Johnson Controls is navigating the way of the future for our customers.First two definitions you will need to know:ODP- (Ozone Depleting Potential) It is a relative value that indicates the likelihood a substance will destroy ozone gas as compared to the potential of chlorofluorocarbon-11 (CFC-11) which is assigned a reference value of 1. Thus, a substance with ODP of 2 is twice as harmful as CFC-11. A substance with ODP = 0 does not damage the ozone layer.GWP- (Global Warming Potential) is the number of units of carbon dioxide emissions that would have the same effect (in terms of mass) as one unit of another greenhouse gas emission over a specified period of time. For example, the release of one kilogram (kg) of methane would result in an effect similar to 25 kg of carbon dioxide over a 100 year period; the GWP for methane is thus 25 over 100 years.
To understand where we are going in the future, we must first look at the past. The Montreal Protocol, considered the most successful UN treaty ever, has resulted in the world-wide elimination of CFCs use over the past 20+ years. The treaty has been ratified by every country in the United Nations and serves as a model for international environmental treaties.
THIS SLIDE HAS ANIMATIONThe Montreal Protocol’s success is due to a number of factors: First, there was very little debate on the cause of the ozone hole in our atmosphere. The chemical science relating CFCs and HCFCs to the destruction of ozone layer in our upper atmosphere was very strong. CLICK TO ADVANCE SLIDESecondly, the agreement was structured so that the elimination of the ozone depleting substances was done over time, and in steps. This was very important as it allowed the industry to transition equipment designs away from CFCs to HCFCs, and then ultimately to HFCs. CLICK TO ADVANCE SLIDEThird, it provided a different timetable for developing countries, recognizing the difficulty a developing economy can have with technological shifts and allowing developed countries to identify possible solutions first. CLICK TO ADVANCE SLIDEFourth, the structure of The Montreal Protocol allows for target dates to be revisited as solutions are identified. When suitable alternatives exist it is possible for scheduled phase out dates to be accelerated. CLICK TO ADVANCE SLIDEFifth, the elimination of ozone depleting gases had a significant positive side-effect. CFCs were potent greenhouse gases and the reductions achieved via the Montreal Protocol in CO2 equivalence is five times larger than the cumulative reductions achieved by the current climate treaty.CLICK TO ADVANCE SLIDELastly, its working!! Ozone levels are expected to return to pre-1980 values by the mid-century. For all these reasons, this treaty has been ratified universally and is an ideal example of successful global refrigerant regulation.
THIS SLIDE HAS ANIMATIONSo if The Montreal Protocol has been so successful why are we still worried about ODP? Even though most manufacturers have eliminated ODP refrigerants from new equipment, our work is not done. AHRI estimates that just in the United States there are still 30,000 CFC chillers remaining in service. This has resulted because the Montreal Protocol did very little to address the existing installed base of equipment in the field. CLICK TO ADVANCE SLIDEIn addition, reclaim efforts have been so successful that large stockpiles of refrigerant to exist in many countries, providing availability and keeping costs low. These stores of refrigerant are now considered a potential environmental “time bombs” as studies show they are slowly leaking into the atmosphere. For that reason, the Montreal Protocol is now working to develop “destruction mechanisms” to eliminate these stores. CLICK TO ADVANCE SLIDEIn 1987, the success of the CFC and HCFC phase out in the developed world prompted the Parties of the Montreal Protocol to further accelerate the phase down of HCFCs.
As we mentioned in the previous slide, the structure of the Montreal Protocol allows for reduction targets to be revisited. In 2007, the parties of The Montreal Protocol agreed to lower the 2010 cap from 35% of the baseline to 25% of the baseline in developed countries (as seen by the turquoise shaded section). This, effectively guaranteed the elimination of the production of R-22 in HVAC&R equipment starting in 2010 for most of the developed world.
In developing countries the 2007 change was more dramatic. Instead of capping the use of HCFCs in at 2015 levels until 2040, when all use would be eliminated, the cap was lowered and a step-down schedule was adopted. In addition, the use of HCFCs in new equipment will be eliminated in 2030 and only a small service tail of 2.5% will be allowed until 2040.
THIS SLIDE HAS ANIMATIONOverall, the elimination of CFCs has been extremely successful in both developed and developing countries. What was not foreseen in 1989 by the signatories of the Montreal Protocol was the rapid economic growth in India, China, and the Middle East. This growth has resulted in the exponential use of refrigerants in these countries. Fortunately, the use of CFCs during this time has been very limited. However, the use of HCFCs, and specifically HCFC -22 has not been limited. Over this same period the effects of greenhouse gases on climate change became a hot topic of debate. While many will argue the extent of global warming, few will argue that HCFCs and many HFCs are potent greenhouse gases. CLICK TO ADVANCE SLIDEThe US, Canada, and Mexico have recently proposed that The Montreal Protocol treaty be used to phase-down (not phase-out) the use of HFCs to minimize green house gas emissions. The justification being that the use of HFCs is a direct result of the phase-out of CFCs and therefore should be addressed by The Montreal Protocol. This proposal has been met with opposition from China, Brazil, and India and is the focus of recent negotiations.CLICK TO ADVANCE SLIDEThis rapid increase in HCFC use and the pressure to minimize the release of greenhouse gases leaves many developing nations at a difficult decision point. They are obligated by the Montreal Protocol to reduce the use of HCFCs, however they are concerned about adopting HFCs as they feel that HFC phase down legislation by a The Montreal Protocol or a Climate Treaty is inevitable. The result is that the global market place for refrigerant is demanding low GWP options to replace HFCs.
THIS SLIDE HAS ANIMATIONGlobal Climate Change has been an area of intense scientific study in recent decades. Many feel it is a more complex and far reaching environmental concern than ozone depletion.The Kyoto Protocol is a United Nations Climate treaty that was signed in 1997 by 187 countries. The world’s second largest producer of greenhouse gases, the United States of America, however, did not sign. In addition, 3 of the top 5 emitters, China, Indonesia, and India are all considered developing economies (Non-Annex I countries) and as such, do not have quantitative emission reduction targets.CLICK TO ADVANCE SLIDEWhy wouldn’t the US want to sign the Kyoto Protocol?At this point, the structure of the Kyoto Protocol does not require 3rd party verification of the emission reduction claims. The position of the US Government has been that a verification mechanism must be in place in order to ensure reductions are actually being achieved to justify large economic costs.The US, being defined as a developed nation, would bear the proportionate share of the costs for developing countries to reduce emissions. As mentioned before China, India, Indonesia, and Brazil are all considered developing countries.The treaty also requires that developed countries facilitate in the transfer of technology to developing nations by lifting patent restrictions and helping fund rapid adoption. It is not surprising that US businesses are very much opposed to this provision.CLICK TO ADVANCE SLIDENote that HFCs, which make up only a small percentage of total green house gases, however, they are under significant pressure as refrigerants are considered one of the most easily controlled gases (based on our past success with CFC and HCFCs).
THIS SLIDE HAS ANIMATIONIn order to make correct environmental decisions regarding refrigerant choice, it is important to first understand how it’s use affects our environment:First let’s consider Direct Effects:What makes HFCs very different from other green house gases is how they are produced and used. CO2, methane, nitrous-oxide, etc. are all waste gases that are derived from some other useful process. These are the “tail-pipe and smoke-stack gases” that result from economic activities. HFCs, on the contrary, are gases that are typically used as a working fluid in a closed system, for instance, a chiller. They are not typically exhausted to the atmosphere on purpose. The best way to minimize direct effects is through refrigerant containment measures, such as leak detection, proper refrigerant handling, maintenance intervals, recycling, and destruction at the end of life.CLICK TO ADVANCE SLIDE (WILL MOVE THE DIRECT EFFECT VISUAL TO THE LEFT)
Next lets consider Indirect Effects:The indirect effect of refrigerant use is defined as the greenhouse gases released to the atmosphere during the generation of the power used by the equipment in which they are contained. Therefore the indirect effect of refrigerant use is highly dependent on the energy efficiency of the equipment used and the “cleanliness” of the power generation process.
So which environmental effect is greater, Indirect or Direct?
By far, the indirect effect is much greater. Depending on the type, service life, and efficiency of the equipment, the indirect effects can account for up to 98% of the CO2 equivalent emissions over the life of a unit.So what does this mean? Unlike ODP, we cannot just regulate refrigerants on GWP alone. To make the right choices for the environment we must also focus on the energy efficiency of candidate refrigerants in our equipment as well. We will discuss this more in a moment.
THIS SLIDE HAS ANIMATIONThere are several legislative and regulative approaches to minimizing greenhouse gas emissions:The first is Containment Regulations:From a direct emission standpoint, the best refrigerant option is one that does not leak to the atmosphere. This is the reasoning behind the regulations in various countries that require periodic leak checks, disclosure of accidental releases, and the elimination of components that are prone to leaks. The European F-Gas regulation is probably the best known example.CLICK TO ADVANCE SLIDESecond is Use Restrictions:An obvious method is to ban or restrict the use of Refrigerants that have a high GWP. However, this can have unintended consequences when the only alternatives result in higher indirect effects due to poor energy efficiency or result in additional safety risks. When sufficient consideration had been given to safety, efficiency, and cost, for each application; this method can be an effective tool. The EU directive that prohibits the use of refrigerants with GWP>150 in automotive AC applications is one regulation example.CLICK TO ADVANCE SLIDEThe third is Market Mechanisms:Refrigerant choices are driven by economics. We have gravitated to refrigerants that provide the safest and most efficient solutions based on the lowest total cost of the resulting system. One way to change those choices is to alter these economics. Applying taxes or using a cap-and-trade market for environmentally undesirable refrigerants can favor more desired options. Unfortunately, the result in almost all cases, is greater cost to the end user.CLICK TO ADVANCE SLIDELastly Efficiency Standards:When we think of energy efficiency standards it is usually in the context of saving money. Since the power consumed during the life of equipment has such a dominating effect on the total CO2 equivalent emissions, improving energy efficiency standards results in lower green house gas emissions. However there is a trade-off. As you increase your energy efficiency levels, your decrease your refrigerant options available that can achieve those levels.CLICK TO ADVANCE SLIDEIf used correctly, all of these methods can be effective in specific situations, however, none of them alone can be used for every situation with out creating unintended consequences. Therefore, the focus of recent legislative and regulative discussions is to use a more comprehensive approach.
THIS SLIDE HAS ANIMATIONMinimizing the total CO2 equivalent emissions from our equipment, requires both indirect and direct effects be reduced together. CLICK TO ADVANCE SLIDE (the Safety and Cost Considerations will automatically fade in)The combined measure is known as the “Total Equivalent Warming Impact or TEWI”. From a practical standpoint, the optimum environmental solution for a give application will require trade-offs between the TEWI, safety mitigation, and equipment cost. We feel that effective HFC regulation needs to be based on a TEWI analysis but make allowances for practical considerations to ensure compliance. The other regulatory and legislative approaches previously listed then have a place in maintaining performance, in encouraging adoptions, and in accelerating the retirement of old equipment.
THIS SLIDE HASANIMATIONTechnology must not be ignored as it is a great equalizer.The theoretical cycle efficiency of a given refrigerant is the logical starting point. However, significant improvements in energy efficiency can also be obtained using technology. Since 1989, the average efficiency of all of our (HVAC&R) equipment has increased by over 35% compared to original CFC designs; despite using theoretically “less efficient” refrigerants. You may ask how can this be? During the last 20+ years, Johnson Controls has continued to invest in technological improvements that have bridged the efficiency gap and even improved upon it. The use of high performance heat transfer surfaces, the improved aerodynamic efficiency of our compressors, and the wide use of variable speed drives for part-load efficiency, have all contributed to this improvement. CLICK TO ADVANCE SLIDEIn addition, we have used technology to reduce the amount of refrigerant charge in our units. Falling film evaporators, micro-channel condensers, and magnetic bearing compressors all improve performance and use less charge. Over that same period we have focused on minimizing leaks. For example the annual leak rate of our large industrial chillers has decreased average levels well below 2%.
THIS SLIDE HASANIMATIONMinimizing the total climatic impact requires a comprehensive approach to design and maintenance. This is where Johnson Controls’ experience and success in transitioning from CFCs in the 80’s and 90’s becomes so important.CLICK TO ADVANCE SLIDEThe efficiency of a machine when it leaves the factory is one thing, keeping that unit operating at that level throughout its life is quite another. CLICK TO ADVANCE SLIDEAt Johnson Controls, our building and chiller controls ensure that the entire chilled water system is operating at peak efficiency, no matter what the outside conditions. We recognize that the chiller is only one part of a larger system. Therefore we optimize the performance of all the components together (tower, pumps, chiller, etc.) and that can have an enormous effect on energy efficiency over the life of the system. In addition, the importance of proper and routine maintenance of HVAC&R equipment on total emissions can no longer be ignored. CLICK TO ADVANCE SLIDEFrom a direct emissions standpoint, containment is the key. Periodic leak checks of systems will minimize refrigerant loss and ensure optimum performance. CLICK TO ADVANCE SLIDEFrom an indirect effect standpoint, routine maintenance such as cleaning heat exchanger surfaces, proper water treatment, and system preventative maintenance, will result in high efficiency throughout the life of the equipment. Johnson Controls has one of the largest global service organizations and is highly capable of addressing all of these needs.CLICK TO ADVANCE SLIDE“Minimizing the total Climatic Impact requires a Comprehensive Approach to Refrigerant Choice.”
THIS SLIDE HASANIMATIONODP, GWP, Efficiency, Safety, Technology……. This is starting to get complicated! How are we, as an industry, supposed to choose a new refrigerant?It is true that there are no readily available refrigerant solutions that address all of the safety, environmental, efficiency, and cost concerns for every application. However, there are some indications, sign posts if you will, of how various options may be employed to address our needs. And you can be assured that Johnson Controls is at the forefront helping to determine best next refrigerant choice for our customers. So lets identify some of these sign posts that will help guide us.CLICK TO ADVANCE SLIDEThe first two are based on what we discussed earlier- Refrigerants are not waste gasses. In most cases they are used as a working fluid in a useful process.CLICK TO ADVANCE SLIDEAnd, the indirect impact of refrigerant use has the largest influence on the life-time CO2 emissions that result from our equipment.CLICK TO ADVANCE SLIDEThe third is that different applications will require different refrigerant solutionsCLICK TO ADVANCE SLIDEFourth, our options for refrigerants are reduced so we need to look at solutions that have been avoided in the past. Refrigerants that have some level of flammability or even toxicity will have to be considered. However, we must be sure that this is done in a safe manner that protects our customers.CLICK TO ADVANCE SLIDELast, as our industry moves to higher levels of energy efficiency, the design and configuration of our equipment solutions will evolve. So too will our refrigerant choices.
Refrigerants are useful working fluids in closed systems. They are essential to maintaining the energy efficiency of HVAC&R equipment that have become crucial in our modern society.Legislators have recognized, that including refrigerants with all other greenhouse gases in a cap-and-trade scenario will result in unintended consequences in the price and availability of these essential products. Therefore in both international and domestic proposed legislation, refrigerants have been separated from other greenhouse gases and will be reduced independently. The successful Montreal Protocol process of a stepped reduction over an extended period of time will likely be the model used in the future.
At Johnson Controls we are actively participating in both global and domestic legislative and regulative processes. We are universally considered experts in the field due to our wide equipment offerings, our historic use of both natural and man-made refrigerants, and our experience in both the developed and developing world markets. Just some examples of where we are engaged: Board Member of the Alliance for Responsible Atmospheric Policy Member of the European Partnership for Energy and the Environment’s (EPEE) F-Gas Review Task Force in EuropeParticipant in United Nations EnvironmentalProgramme Roundtables in the US, China, and IndiaMember of the AHRI Government Affairs and International Committees.Participate on Advisory councils to the Chinese Government
Because indirect effects have such a dominating effect, energy efficiency must be maintained . After considering all alternatives, the resulting solution must have an energy efficiency equal to or greater that where you started.
At Johnson Controls we are not waiting around for the next alternatives to be created. Instead, we have developed strategic partnerships with several manufactures of refrigerants and have been involved in the identification and selection of new refrigerant candidates at the earliest possible stages of the process. In addition we continue to participate in, and support refrigerant research projects funded by ASHRAE, AHRI, and the Department of Energy and we are engaged with academic researchers who carry them out.
A question often asked is “how low is low GWP?” The truth is that it is a moving target. If you consider that the GWP of R-12 was 8100, R-134a at about 1400 is low. The automotive industry in Europe recently set an upper limit for GWP of150 for future systems. Some have tried to categorize GWP levels into low medium and high (TEAP Report 2010), however, we feel the answer is “it depends”.Although GWP should always be minimized, the maximum acceptable GWP limit should depend on various characteristics of the equipment and how it can be safely applied or used. For example, statistics show that automotive A/C systems have relatively high leak-rates (upto 15% per year) and the useful life of a car is around 8 years (according to Consumer Reports). In this instance, the likelihood that most of the refrigerant charge ending up in the atmosphere is very high and a limit of GWP =150 makes allot of sense. Lets look at water cooled chiller as the other extreme. The average leak rates for a well maintained machine are less than 2% per year and the average life of this type of equipment is between 25 and 35 years. Additionally, in the US, the average end-of-life refrigerant recovery rate is in the 80% range. In this scenario, the likelihood of the majority of the refrigerant charge being recovered is very high. Therefore a higher level of GWP could be tolerated if it gained you energy efficiency or a margin of safety, say GWP=600.Many of the lowest GWP refrigerants available have some level of flammability or toxicity. For small charge applications, like refrigerators or equipment that is located outside the building, this can be affordably addressed. For large charge applications or units that are located inside a building or a heavily populated area, flammability or toxicity may not be a practical option. The choice of a higher GWP HFC or a blend of HFC and HFO may be your best bet due to safety concerns.
Many regulators want to establish a single universal limit on GWP for all applications. We are educating them that the acceptable level of GWP will vary among different types of equipment and in different regions. The size of the charge, location inside or outside of a building, average leak rate, life of the equipment, and the recovery rate of the refrigerant at the end of its life should all be considered before identifying upper “limits”.
THIS SLIDE HASANIMATIONOur industry chose CFCs, HCFCs, and then HFCs in the past because they were non-flammable, non-toxic, highly efficient, and affordable refrigerants. As we now realize the importance of eliminating ODP and minimizing GWP, we are forced to compromise on some of these characteristics. To do this safely will require many of the equipment safety codes, like ASHRAE Standard 15 to be revised. As many stakeholders are involved in developing these types of codes, this will be a lengthy process. Inevitably, the resulting requirements will add additional installed cost where flammability, toxicity, or high pressure systems are applied.In addition in the US, as new candidates are identified for use in HVAC& R systems, the EPA will have to approve them using what is called a “SNAP” ruling. CLICK TO ADVANCE SLIDE(For Example)The recent approval of propane and isobutane for use in residential refrigerators and freezers may provide a template for the future rulings. The EPA approved these flammable refrigerants for use in limited charge amounts, for specific applications only, and required compliance to certain safety codes.CLICK TO ADVANCE SLIDEIn summary, the adoption of new and revised safety codes and EPA approvals will take time, cost money, and require cooperation between our industry, environmentalists and governments.
Our engineering and service experts are involved in the development and modification of safety standards for the new generation of refrigerants. We are taking a leading role on Standard Committees like ASHRAE Standard 34 and Standard 15, and are involved in process of updating UL, EU and ISO safety standards.
We are often asked: “What will be the long-term refrigerant solution?” While there are always many short-term solutions available, the answer is there will never be a single “long-term refrigerant solution”. The reason is that our industry, and the needs of our customers, are always changing. Energy efficiency regulation is an example.Our industry has accomplished dramatic improvements in energy efficiency over the last 25 years. In some cases we are approaching theoretical limits. However the demand for more energy efficient buildings continues to accelerate. For instance, to meet goals set by the Department of Energy, ASHRAE has released the last of the 30% Better (than 90.1 2004) Building Design guides in 2010 and plans to have the 50% better Building Design Guides out by 2012. Its ultimate goal is to provide design guidance for market viable Net Zero Buildings (NZBEs) by 2030. To meet such goals will require a whole-building approach and the types of systems used currently will not be sufficient. Instead we will need to develop solutions that make use of energy sources we currently ignore today. Examples are heat recovery systems, ground source heat pumps, solar heating, renewable energy sources, etc. The refrigerants of today were not optimized for these types of systems. Therefore new options will need to arise.
In the future, innovation will be required to meet the demands of high performance and net-zero buildings. With our ability to combine highly efficient YORK Brand equipment with world class JCI building controls, we will be uniquely able to meet them.
THIS SLIDE HASANIMATIONWhen we take these individual indicators or “Sign Posts”, a map of future refrigerants for the HVAC& R industry begins to emerge.CLICK TO ADVANCE SLIDEThe accelerated phase-out of remaining HCFCs will continue. For that there is no doubt. Pressure to reduce the use of high GWP HFCs will also build as they are considered potent GHGs. They will, however, be treated separately from other GHGs. The reduction mechanism employed will likely mirror The Montreal Protocol process: a stepped reduction over time (likely 40 years) with different schedules for the developed and developing countries. Alternatives do not yet exist for all applications, therefore a phase-down, not a phase-out, is the only option for HFCs.CLICK TO ADVANCE SLIDEWhile many methods are employed to reduce HFC use, the importance of considering efficiency and, consequently, the Total Environmental Warming Impact has been recognized. Effective regulations will not focus on GWP alone.CLICK TO ADVANCE SLIDEConsequently, should some maximum GWP limits be imposed, they will be different for different applications. They will be set for each considering charge amounts, average leak and recovery rates, efficiency, affordability, and most importantly, safety.CLICK TO ADVANCE SLIDERealistically, the shift to alternatives will not happen overnight. Aside from the development time needed for both refrigerant and equipment, additional time will be required to address safety codes where toxicity and flammability become concerns.CLICK TO ADVANCE SLIDELastly, there will never be a single long-term solution identified. Transitional, “drop-in” refrigerant offerings will be developed first, to allow the use of existing technology and the retrofit of equipment in the field. Later, the requirement for dramatic improvements in building energy efficiency will result in the development of HVAC&R equipment that looks and performs very different than today. Refrigerant choices will continue to evolve to meet these challenges.
THIS SLIDE HASANIMATIONNow that we understand what is driving change, let discuss more specific options. On the path of A/C refrigerant development we are again at a cross-roads. The first generation of refrigerants (1850 – 1930’s) were all natural, had no ODP, and low GWP. Many of them, however, were flammable, toxic (or both in the case of Ammonia), had high working pressure, or suffered from low efficiency. In addition our ability to design safe pressure vessels was limited and, consequently, many accidents occurred. CLICK TO ADVANCE SLIDEDuring the “Golden Age of Chemistry” (30s, 40s, 50s) chemical refrigerants (CFCs) were developed that were safe, highly efficient, and affordable. Their use was widespread until the 1980s when we realized that these substances damaged the Earth’s ozone layer. CLICK TO ADVANCE SLIDESince that time, we identified safe, highly efficient, and affordable refrigerants (HFCs)and transitioned our industry to them. Now, the implications of climate change is again putting pressure on our industry to transition. Unfortunately, this time around, the candidates with all the desirable characteristics do not currently exist. CLICK TO ADVANCE SLIDEThe cross-roads in which we find ourselves is: Do we make use of the engineering practiced and experience gained in the refrigeration industry to return back to natural refrigerants or, do we use the new generation of low GWP refrigerants and adapt our design practices and equipment to suit?
THIS SLIDE HASANIMATIONThe answer is likely, both.Lets first look at Natural Refrigerants:In industrial refrigeration applications, the use of natural refrigerants, primarily ammonia has not changed for over a century. More recently CO2 had been used widely for low temperature applications. Hydrocarbons have been used in residential refrigerators in Europe and Asia for many years. There is no doubt that natural refrigerants can be used in HVAC&R systems. However, in some instances, their low GWP can come at a cost of undesirable properties and characteristics.. Using them safely in confined, occupied spaces or in areas of dense population will require additional design features, trained service personnel, and added application cost. CLICK TO ADVANCE SLIDENext lets consider Low GWP Chemical Refrigerants:The refrigerant manufacturers are working to develop new refrigerants that have very low GWPs and retain energy efficient characteristics. The two furthest along in development are HFO-1234yf and HFO-1234ze. Both have GWPs less than 5 (compared to R-134a which is 1400), are non-toxic, and efficient. They both, however have some measure of flammability. HFO-1234yf has similar pressure and properties to that of R-134a. With low flame speeds and combustion energies, its flammability risks have been proved low for automobiles and has been identified as the refrigerant of the future for that industry. More work will need to be done to prove the same for stationary applications. HFO-1234ze is lower in pressure and designed to be used by the foam blowing industry with suitable safety measures. Some refrigerant producers are experimenting with blends of HFOs and HFCs. This improves performance, eliminates flammability, but raises the GWP to the 400 – 600 range. While clearly not as low as some of the natural refrigerants, these blends provide excellent efficiency while significantly reducing GWP over our current solutions (R-134a = 1400)
HVAC&R equipment can be used in a wide range of applications, in various regions and circumstances. We believe that options that remain available to the HVAC will necessitate many different solutions across market segments and regions.
Some of the most efficient and lowest GWP refrigerants have some level of flammability. Although, for comfort cooling applications it has generally been avoided, precedence exist for its safe use in certain sectors:Industrial Refrigeration and Process CoolingAppliances (300 M Asia and European Refrigerator/Freezers have been sold)Automotive AC (EPA and SAE Approval for HFO R-1234yf)Generally, the practical use is dependent on the charge amount of the system, the relative level of flammability of the refrigerant, the location of the equipment inside or outside the building, and the cost of the safety measures employed. Potential applications exist for use in for small and large roof-top unitary equipment, small charge appliances, etc.As we mentioned previously most current building codes and standards were written with non-flammable refrigerants in mind. Practical application for commercial and residential Air-conditioning will require significant Building Code and Safety Standard Changes. This process has already begun but it may take several years to complete.
Natural Refrigerants remain excellent solutions in some very specific applications. With over 100 years of experience in their use, no other company knows natural refrigerants better. Wide spread use in the refrigeration industry has paved the way. Industrial Refrigeration: Ammonia Used in 95% of ApplicationsC02 can be very efficient at low temperature refrigeration duty (Currently used in some Supermarkets in Europe)Hydrocarbons have very high efficiency and low/no GWPHowever at some mid and high temperature air conditioning conditions, the energy efficiency of resulting CO2 systems are typically less than those using HFCs. In addition, in heavily populated areas or in occupied buildings the cost of safety precautions for some natural refrigerants, such as Ammonia and Hydrocarbons can be a barrier to adoption. In suitable applications, our European Refrigeration group has many successful applications of Ammonia and Hydrocarbon based equipment. It should be remembered:Remote locations or secondary loops are many times required for safety mitigationOperating pressures or material compatibility can result in higher installed costs.
When are HFOs and HFCs going tomake sense if the future? Equipment size and application will dictate types used:Large Commercial Air-Conditioning Applications will likely remain HFC or possibly HFC/HFO blends due to safety concernsMost Unitary and Light Commercial Roof-top Equipment will be able to tolerate 2L refrigerants due to their location outside of the buildingRefrigeration Applications in Populated Areas/Buildings will likely remain HFC or HFC/HFO blends to minimize safety concerns.Appliance and Specialty Healthcare Device Applications where flammability cannot be tolerated will likely remain HFC.HFCs are typically the safest, most efficient and economical solution and that’s why they are used today. They will however have relatively high GWP. HFOs have very low GWP and good efficiency but have some flammability and the costs are currently not known. Blends of HFCs and HFOs provide a safe and efficient compromise with a much lower GWP than HFCs alone. Some reasons to use them are:Technology and material compatibility already existViable solution for conversion/retrofit of existing equipment
THIS SLIDE HASANIMATIONUnderstanding the future is fine, but what do I do today? Relax, JCI will lead the way.CLICK TO ADVANCE SLIDER-134a:R-134a has been the standard choice for many applications because of it is efficiency, safety and affordability. Of the non-flammable HFCs it has one of the lowest GWPs. Because some applications will always require non-flammable solution, we do not see any future scenario where R-134a is eliminated. There will always be a need for it alone or mixed with HFOs. CLICK TO ADVANCE SLIDER-400 Series:The developing world is faced with the elimination of R-22 beginning in 2015. This is only a few short years away and we do not see suitable quantities of new non-HFC alternatives being available for new air-cooled equipment, let alone retrofit quantities for the existing R-22 base. R-410a and the others will have to remain an option well into the future. In the developed world, the reduction in the equivalent emissions that result from the conversion of the automotive and the foam-blowing industry to HFOs will be enough to meet the initial reduction targets of any of the current HFC phase down proposals. We expect R-410 to remain available, in at lease service quantities well past the lifetime of air-cooled equipment sold today (15 -20 years).CLICK TO ADVANCE SLIDER-123:R-123 is the last of the ozone-depleting HCFCs to be available in the developed world. Its use is limited to large water cooled chillers from one manufacture and some specialty fire suppression devices in the aerospace industry. Its use has been banned in Europe for some time and, in the US, new R-123 equipment will not be produced past 2020. Frankly, The only reason it is still manufactured is because it is a feedstock for making R-125, one of the components in R-410a. While it is true that there will remain enough room under The Montreal Protocol to make service quantities from 2020 to 2030, the motivation for the refrigerant manufacturers to continue to produce it will depend on the developments of alternatives for R-410a. That, along with the focus of The Montreal Protocol on destroying global stockpiles of CFCs and HCFCs, is why YORK stopped production of R-123 chillers in 2004.
THIS SLIDE HASANIMATIONAt Johnson Controls, we have a long history of making the right refrigerant choices. We will continue to invest in technology and at the same time be on the forefront of refrigerant development. All with the needs of our customers in mind. In 1989, we were the first manufacturer to develop HFC and HCFC options. In 2004, we exited R-123 when concerns about the availability of the refrigerant throughout the life of chillers sold after that date would not be guaranteed.CLICK TO ADVANCE SLIDEToday, we are heavily engaged in the development of new refrigerant options for our customers. CLICK TO ADVANCE SLIDEAnd we are ensuring that future environmental regulation will result in practical, achievable, and positive change. We are the voice of our customers in these arenas and will ensure safe, sustainable, and affordable HVAC&R solutions result.
Environmental Legislation and the Future of
Presented to : Ministry of Health , Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
April 15, 2014