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New High Efficiency Refrigerants for Low Pressure Chillers

Posted April 13, 2016 8:00 AM by geanorm

A potential drop-in replacement for R-123 in water chiller applications was proposed recently by Chemours, the American chemical company that was spun off from DuPont in July of 2015. The new refrigerant originally developed by Chemours as DR-10 is now being offered as Opteon XP30. It has the provisional designation R-514a.


R-123 is scheduled to be banned from the manufacture of new equipment in January 2020 as a part of the HCFC consumption phaseout. R-123 will not be allowed in production past January 2030 with the 100% phaseout of HCFC's.
R-514a is a blend of 74.44% HFO 1336mzz(Z) a non toxic, non flammable gas which is currently manufactured and sold by Chemours as a foam blowing agent and Trans-1,2 dichloroethene a flammable gas that has no previous history of use in refrigerating systems. In the blend, the HFO 1336mzz(Z) negates the flammable component allowing R-514a to be proposed as a classification B1 refrigerant. ASHRAE classification B signifies a refrigerant for which there is evidence of toxicity at concentrations below 400 ppm. The OEL limit of toxicity is 323 ppm for R-514a while the class B1 refrigerant R-123 has a toxicity limit of 50 ppm. The second digit 1 indicates a refrigerant which does not show flame propagation when tested in air at 21┬░C and 101 kPa.

The HFO 1336mzz(Z) component has a GWP of 7 under AR4 and while the GWP of the proposed R-514a refrigerant was not disclosed, it would be expected to be less than the GWP of R-123 of 76.
R-514a joins HFO R-1233zd(E) as possible replacements for R-123. Trane has already offered HFO R-1233zd(E) in 2014 in the Series E CenTraVac. MHI followed with announcement of their small chillers in 2015 and last week Carrier announced at the China Refrigeration Expo its' AquaEdge 19DV two-stage, variable-speed centrifugal chiller will now be available with HFO R-1233zd(E) (produced by Honeywell as Solstice zd).

The new refrigerants will need to demonstrate compatibility with the materials of construction (especially the motor materials and the gasket elastomers) and the process materials such as the machining coolants when combined with the lubricant of choice. The white mineral refrigerant oil used in some R-123 applications is likely not compatible with the new HFO refrigerants so new lubricants may need to be selected and qualified.

The introduction of alternative refrigerants like R-514a and HFO R-1233zd(E) have produced a path forward for the successful replacement of HCFC R-123 but much work remains.

Editor's Note: CR4 would like to thank GEA Consulting's Engineering Associate, Dennis Beekman for contributing this blog entry, originally appearing at http://www.gea-consulting.com/hvac-blog

You might also be interested in these recent posts.

Support for HFCs Plummets

Trane Introduces HFO 1233zd in Series E Centrifugal Chillers

Proposed US Ban on HFCs in Chillers

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

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Guru

Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: South of Minot North Dakota
Posts: 7746
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#1

Re: New High Efficiency Refrigerants for Low Pressure Chillers

04/13/2016 2:47 PM

Hmm. Everything I have been able to find so far still says that it's not as efficient or as environmentally friendly or cheap as r-290 (propane).

Yea you can argue that r-290 is flammable but seriously think about how many other far more potentially dangerous uses for propane or other fuels and gases we have around us and how they are used plus the volume we use them in Vs what a refrigeration system would hold.

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