CR4 - The Engineer's Place for News and Discussion®
Login | Register for Engineering Community (CR4)

GEA's Global HVAC Technology Blog

GEA's Global HVAC Technology Blog covers a range of topics including:

  • Core HVAC Technologies
  • Technology & Patent Evaluation
  • Manufacturing Technologies
  • Product Quality Improvement
  • Materials/Failures/Corrosion
  • Product/Technology Commercialization
  • Business Strategy Development
  • New Factory Design & Equipment

We'll draw upon our range of experts to provide comments, insights, technical articles and a little humor from time to time

We encourage your participation and feedback!

Refrigerant Wars Heating Up

Posted September 16, 2015 1:00 AM by larhere

The race is on to replace high GWP refrigerants by low and medium GWP alternates.

Pressure on High GWP Refrigerants

There is growing pressure to limit and phase-out high GWP refrigerants in some countries as well as globally with talk of including HFCs within a phase-down plan under the highly successful Montreal Protocol.

High GWP commercial refrigeration refrigerants R404A and R507 with GWPs of around 3300 are being phased out in both Europe and the US over the next few years. The emergence of low/medium GWP alternatives is putting pressure to move to these new refrigerants. Even R134a with a GWP of 1430 is being replaced in European vehicle air conditioning systems by R1234yf (GWP of 4). R410A with a GWP of 2088 continues on, but for how long?

R-410A Concerns

Refrigerant manufacturers and HVAC OEMs have concluded that R410A will not survive.

R410A use began in the mid 1990's in Europe. It has grown in popularity globally in products from mini-splits to large screw chillers and most equipment in between. It is not used in centrifugal chillers. R410A is the dominant refrigerant in air conditioning systems today.

Replacing it in some, or all, of its applications is the target for today's HVAC industry.

Industry Taking Action

Refrigerant manufacturers, Chemours, Daikin, Honeywell, Arkema, Mexichem and others have come out with their own (proprietary) designs of alternatives to replace R410A. A second look is also being given to some previously discarded alternatives such as R-32 which was rejected as a replacement for R-22 in the 1990's due to non-compliance with flammability regulations in effect at the time. R-32 was eventually combined with (non-flammable) R-125 in a 50/50 mixture that was named R-410A and has well served the industry for two decades.

Since the introduction of R410A a new safety classification of "mild" flammability, A2L,has been developed which allows them to be treated with different regulations. Most of the currently proposed alternatives are A2L, including R32. This new classification has allowed the introduction of R32 and other mildly flammable blends in small charge applications such as window air conditioners and mini-splits.

Battle Lines Being Drawn

The competitive lines are being drawn with one camp promoting R32 as the preferred alternative. Daikin, a manufacturer of R32 as well as an OEM, promotes, manufactures and sells R32 units leading the way with most Japanese OEMs also manufacturing and promoting R-32 units. Daikin offers R32 units in Europe as well as a number of developing countries. In an effort to gain new R-32 supporters Daikin recently offered free access to 93 separate patents pertaining to the use or application of R32 to companies worldwide. Further efforts by Daikin include providing technical assistance and training to emerging economies such as Thailand to adopt R32 for their markets with funding from the Montreal Protocol.

The other camp is led by Chemours (formerly DuPont) promoting DR55, a blend of 67% R32, 7% R125 and 26% R1234yf, which it will market as Opteon XL55. Trane partnered with Chemours in recently displaying an air cooled chiller in Japan using DR55 and said they were also investigating its use in unitary and residential equipment. Chemours goes further, describing DR55 as being suitable for residential, light commercial and commercial window units, portables, mini-splits, ducted splits, PTACs, commercial packaged, multi-splits and DX chillers.

"With a GWP of only 676 DR55 is said to be the most optimized low GWP replacement for R410A, achieving a 5% energy efficiency improvement. It is also said to offer excellent performance in high ambient conditions and has a low temperature glide of just -1K." "XL55 (DR55) delivers improved energy efficiency, 67% GWP reduction as compared to R410A, ultra-low flammability properties, excellent performance at high ambient temperatures, and easy conversion from existing R410A designs due to very close physical properties,".

Although DR55 has the same A2L "mildly flammable" classification as R32, Chemours maintains that some global OEMs have indicated that the lower flammability properties of XL55 are compelling and are likely to be an important consideration in product selection, especially for larger charge size equipment.

Refrigerant Blends

Other refrigerant manufacturers including Honeywell, Arkema and Asahi Glass are touting the advantages oftheir unique formulations, which in some cases, contain new HFO molecules. Each component and composition is carefully optimized to create advantage in a (range of) applications. Quantifying (or monetizing) the differences and advantages/disadvantages compared to other alternatives in each application will challenge building owners, manufacturers, lawyers and the service industry for years. (Follow the links below for more details on this complex issue).

Mildly Flammable Refrigerant Use

Clearly there is, and will continue to be, a major movement into the use of mildly flammable A2L refrigerants in our industry. Revisions in safety standards that are currently being implemented are expected to allow charges of up to 60 kg.

Refrigerant Blending and Optimizing

It is unclear at this time how many winners and losers there will be, or how many different replacements there will be to R410A. What will the industry do with this newfound ability "to tradeoff some efficiency for a little less high ambient performance and a little flammability increase"? How will we value a GWP reduction from 300 to 100?

We can continue to wonder just how far we may go with the technology of customized blending of refrigerants. Anyone in the HVACR industry will need to consider this a core technology for their business.

Read more now from one of the UK's leading information sources, oCooling Post.

Is DR-55 Best Option to Replace R410A?

Daikin Gives Free Access to R32 Patents

Daikin Leads Thailand's Switch to R32

What Future for R410A?

Trane Debuts R410A Replacement

Editor's Note: CR4 would like to thank GEA Consulting's President, Larry Butz,, for contributing this blog entry, originally appearing at

Add a comment

Worldwide Energy Data and Trends

Posted August 12, 2015 1:00 AM by larhere
Pathfinder Tags: energy data energy trends trends

Energy is a leading topic for HVAC manufacturers, building owners, consultants and engineers around the world. It is a cornerstone in developing and executing a successful business strategy in today's rapidly evolving business environment where radical changes in price, availability and new energy sources compete with rapidly evolving environmental concerns and constraints.

Now, more than ever, leaders, managers, engineers need to understand the drivers in the energy industry. This starts with accurate (historical) data. Statista, a leading aggregator of data, has recently performed a study of past, present and future prices of the world's primary energies. Forecasts through 2035 are included. Examples from their slide summary can be seen below.

Download a copy of the complete PDF slide summary (Energy Prices Worldwide) complements of Industry Week.

Editor's Note: CR4 would like to thank GEA Consulting's President, Larry Butz,, for contributing this blog entry, originally appearing at

1 comments; last comment on 08/16/2015
View/add comments

Corrosion Analysis: Monitor Results

Posted July 22, 2015 1:00 AM by larhere

To mangle Dr. Seuss a little; The time has come, the time is now, to wrap up our 6-part series "A Real Corrosion Story", by discussing the final step. (I'm including links to my prior blog posts for easy reference).

1. Identify the corrosion mechanism.

2. Understand the environment, both external and internal.

3. Understand the equipment - materials of construction, operating cycles, hours.....

4. Identify alternatives - materials, coatings, limiting operating envelope, changing the environment (water treatment, alternative lubricants/refrigerants, filter the air, etc.), redesign the machine (better drainage, eliminate contact of dissimilar metals, .....)

5. Implement change.

6. Monitor results.

It seems obvious, that after all the effort, time and money we've spent completing the first 5 steps to address corrosion problems, we would take time to monitor the results and assure we've truly solved the problems we were addressing. Yet, as we all know, common sense isn't always common practice.

After changes have been implemented we're pressured, by others or by ourselves, to move on and get to work on the next item on our list of things to do. However, monitoring results doesn't need to be time consuming or difficult, but it is something that should be planned, with clear criteria established to measure how well we've done.

It's surprising how often as a consultant I've been called in to work on problems that were previously addressed by manufacturers, but nobody clearly remembers what was done to solve the problems and what the results were. All anybody knows is that something was done and now (sometimes years later) the problem is back (or never really went away).

Bottom line, follow all of the steps outlined in this 6 step process and if you happen to find you've missed something as you monitor the results, don't hesitate to go back and tweak your solution to assure you get the results you were counting on.

Editor's Note: CR4 would like to thank P J Sikorsky, GEA Consulting Associate, for contributing this blog entry, originally appearing at

1 comments; last comment on 07/23/2015
View/add comments

US Ruling Gives Supermarkets A Year To Switch From High-GWP Refrigerants

Posted July 15, 2015 1:00 AM by larhere

EPA ruling will see R404A, R422D and R507A prohibited as early as July 2016 in supermarket systems as US takes more radical stance than Europe over high-GWP gases

  • Medium Temperature and Low Temperature standalone units will not be allowed to use the high-and medium-GWP refrigerants such as R134a, R407A and R407F in new equipment in 2019/2020
  • The ruling also endorses the alternative refrigerants proposed in April including propane, ethane, isobutane and the hydrocarbon blend R441A. HFC refrigerant R32 is endorsed for use only in room air conditioning.

Read the full article from UK's leading source of refrigeration and air conditioning news, rac


The tongue-in-cheek term of "dial-a-refrigerant" is becoming a reality as carefully selected refrigerants (combinations) are being approved and disapproved by unique applications.

You might also be interested in these recent blog posts:

Refrigerants-Consider Full Range of UsageCustom Refrigerants-Are You Ready?

Editor's Note: CR4 would like to thank GEA Consulting's President, Larry Butz,, for contributing this blog entry, originally appearing at

6 comments; last comment on 07/16/2015
View/add comments

U.S.' Most Energy Efficient Cities-How Do They Do it?

Posted July 01, 2015 8:36 AM by larhere

Mayors and local lawmakers in America's largest cities continue to take innovative steps to lower energy costs for consumers and businesses, increase their resilience, and reduce pollution through increased energy efficiency, according to the 2nd edition of the City Energy Efficiency Scorecard, released recently by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).

The top 10 US cities for energy efficiency are:

  1. Boston
  2. New York City
  3. Washington, DC
  4. San Francisco
  5. Seattle
  6. Chicago
  7. Minneapolis
  8. Portland
  9. Austin
  10. Denver

How Are They Doing it?

  • Government operations. Leaders in efficiency in local government operations have set policies to increase efficiency in city government, procurement, and asset management.
  • Community initiatives. The top-scoring cities have both the systems to track progress toward efficiency-related goals for the whole community, and strategies to mitigate urban heat islands. They also have efficient distributed-energy systems, such as district energy and combined heat and power, and policies or programs to plan for future ones.
  • Buildings. Leading cities have adopted or advocated for stringent building energy codes, devoted resources to building code compliance, established requirements and incentives for efficient buildings, and increased the availability of information on energy use in buildings through benchmarking and transparency policies.
  • Utilities. The leading citieshave energy efficiency programs that offer high levels of savings. These cities also have productive relationships with their utilities in program implementation and access to energy data.
  • Transportation. Cities with the top transportation policy have initiatives which include location-efficiency strategies, shifts to efficient modes of transportation, transit investments, efficient vehicles and vehicle infrastructure, and energy-efficient freight transport.

Where Does Your City Rate?

Download the complete report

How can GEA help your company become a leader in High Efficiency HVAC equipment and systems?

Editor's Note: CR4 would like to thank GEA Consulting's President, Larry Butz,, for contributing this blog entry, originally appearing at

Add a comment

MHI Chooses HFO-1233zd(E) for New Centrifugal Chillers

Posted June 18, 2015 9:57 AM by larhere
Pathfinder Tags: HFO New Refrigerants refrigerants

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has announced the availability of their new ETI-Z Series Centrifugal chillers based on environmentally friendly HFO-1233zd(E). Trane previously announced the availability of their Series E CenTraVac chillers with this new refrigerant which is also seeing increasing use in the foam blowing industry. The Trane offering ranges from 2,600kW to 14,000kW; MHI's new ETI-Z Series comes in sizes from 280kW to 2,460kW with plans to extend the line up to 5275kW.

High performance is achieved by reducing motor drive-energy loss through the adoption of a compressor with high-speed direct motor drive which allows elimination of gears and use of fewer bearings. Rated COP (coefficient of performance) of 6.7 is claimed.

The new ETI-Z chillers will begin shipping in September.

Read More

Editor's Note: CR4 would like to thank GEA Consulting's President, Larry Butz,, for contributing this blog entry, originally appearing at

Add a comment

Previous in Blog: US HVAC Equipment Market and Forecast  
Show all Blog Entries in this Blog