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Alternative Refrigerants Continue to Rise in Popularity

RajanRajendran2 Rajan Rajendran | V.P., System Innovation Center and Sustainability

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

I discussed a recent ruling from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and industry trends associated with low global warming potential (GWP) in ACHR News. Read the full article here.

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The EPA cannot require HVACR manufacturers to replace what they deem high-GWP refrigerants with lower-GWP replacements. That was the opinion of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia circuit judge Brett Kavanaugh on Jan. 27. His decision established that the court will not reconsider an Aug. 8, 2017, opinion that signified the EPA cannot ban hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) under Section 612 of the Clean Air Act.

The ruling conceptually overturns a 2015 EPA proposal by former President Barack Obama’s administration to phase out the use of HFCs in retail food refrigeration HVACR applications. While HFCs appear to be around a bit longer than initially anticipated, many compressor manufacturers insist that fact won’t inhibit them from pursuing lower-GWP options in an effort to remain globally competitive and environmentally responsible.

Manufacturers approach refrigerant use from a GWP perspective, viewing refrigerants based upon their region-specific requirements. Customers and end users must make refrigerant decisions based on local regulatory mandates and their own operational objectives. Refrigerant costs, local regulations and GWP will continue to be the primary factors in our decision making.

There are also applicable standards in place that need to be followed which govern the use of flammable refrigerants. These are currently under review, and we’ll monitor any changes that may occur.

Natural refrigerants have been, and will continue to be, an integral part of Emerson’s refrigerant strategy due to the global nature of its customers. Ammonia, propane and CO2 are three natural refrigerants that have long played roles in commercial and industrial refrigeration. With increasing industry demand for lower-GWP refrigerant options, each of these will continue to have a place in our product road map.

 

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