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Refrigerant R404A

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The problem with Refrigerant R404A and why it may its time may have expired

It’s one of the most popular refrigerants, but switching away from R404A may boost any operator’s environmental credentials and may be even profits.

During the last 10 to 15 years R404A has become one of the most widely used refrigerants.  It was introduced in the mid-1990s as a replacement for ozone depleting refrigerants including CFCs (such as R12 and R502) and more recently as a replacement for HCFCs (such as R22).  In the supermarket sector it has become the dominant refrigerant for both chilled and frozen food refrigeration.  It is also used in other commercial systems, for industrial refrigeration and for cold storage.

It has often been wondered why R404A became so successful, because it is not a particularly good refrigerant.  It filled an urgent gap during the 1990s and it was well marketed.  End-users and refrigeration contractors became familiar with the fluid and have continued using it as the “refrigerant of choice” in many different applications.  It is still used in many new systems, even though there are other better refrigerants now available.  Now is the time to stop being complacent about refrigerant choice and to use better alternatives.  Switching away from R404A has the potential to quickly and cost effectively help the environment and reduces the running costs.  A cost effective alternative is available for all new refrigeration systems and for most existing ones.

What is wrong with R404A?

The two key problems with R404A are that (a) it does not achieve the best energy efficiency in many applications and (b) it has a particularly high global warming potential (GWP).

The relatively poor energy efficiency leads to extra running costs and also extra CO2 emissions from the power stations that generate the electricity being used.  Alternative refrigerants can give electricity savings of between 7 per cent and 12 per cent in many applications.

The GWP of R404A at 3922 is the highest of all the commonly used refrigerants.  R134a is only 1,430 and R407F (Performax LT) is 1850.  Hence leakage of 1 kg of R404A is two to three times worse in terms of global warming impact than some other HFC refrigerants.

It is interesting to remember that historically supermarkets used two different refrigerants; R12 was used for chiller systems and R502 was used for freezer systems.   Each refrigerant could be well optimised to its operating temperature.  When these ozone depleting systems were phased out most supermarkets decided to rationalise their refrigerant use – both the chiller and freezer systems in most UK supermarkets now use R404A.  That may have been convenient but it creates some degree of compromise in the plant design and leads to an overall loss of efficiency.

With some refrigerant manufacturers having announced supply of R404A will cease next year and others expected to announce further price rises for June.

An event was held in London, with presentations from various experts offering their opinions, some were leading manufacturerers of refrigerants who were also sponsoring the event. BESA were also be at the event and the event was also supported by industry certification body Refcom, which were underlining the importance of F-Gas certification.

Chillaire Limited are registered members of both BESA and Refcom.

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Mitsubishi Electric Heat Pump Air Conditioning Hybrid VRF System

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Mitsubishi Electric has launched its refrigerant free City Multi Hybrid VRF system, which removes the need for leak detection equipment back in 2015 / 2016.

The technology we have been advised operates without using refrigerant in occupied spaces, which Mitsubishi claims allows more properties to take advantage of manageable phased installation through the system’s modular two-pipe design.

At the centre of the new system is the HBC (Hybrid Branch Controller) box, which is connected to an outdoor City Multi unit via traditional refrigerant piping.

Between the HBC and the indoor fan coils, the system uses water piping but is still able to deliver mild air-off temperatures and stable temperatures all-year round, according to Mitsubishi Electric.

With no refrigerant in occupied spaces, the Hybrid VRF also enables simple compliance with BS EN378 and removes the need for leak detection equipment in any occupied room.

Each individual HBC can supply heating and cooling to 16 individual indoor units – using City Multi’s two-pipe system and including options for its range of ducted, cassette and floor-standing model of fan coil units.

Two main HBC’s and two sub units can be connected to the same City Multi outdoor unit to deliver simultaneous heating and cooling to up to 50 individual rooms or areas.

Mitsubishi Electric have commented about there is a lot of legislation impacting on the use of energy in the built environment and at the same time, there is a drive to look for new refrigerants to mitigate any harm to the environment”. This will have a major impact on the industry over the next 15 years but in the meantime, we have to deliver systems that provide customers with a comprehensive choice to help them reduce emissions and running costs whilst meeting current and future legislation.

BS EN378 in particular will restrict the amount of refrigerant that can be used in occupied spaces.

​Mitsubishi Electric were celebrating after its innovative Hybrid VRF (HVRF) solution was named Air Conditioning Product of the Year at the ACR News Awards 2017.

The awards reward excellence and innovation in the air conditioning and refrigeration sector and have been running for over 20 years.

Mitsubishi Electric’s Hybrid VRF system scooped the Air Conditioning Product of the Year award after an independent panel of industry judges recognised its unique ability to reduce running costs and maximise efficiency in a wide range of applications and environments.

The Hybrid VRF solution is capable of simultaneous heating and cooling and because it uses water in a simplified two pipe design, there is no need to install refrigerant leak detection in occupied spaces.

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Mitsubishi Electric (Mr Slim) Air Conditioning Launch R32 Refrigerant Range of Products

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Get ready for the new R32 refrigerant gas Mitsubishi Electric (Mr Slim) Air Conditioners

Mitsubishi Electric are preparing to introduce the lower GWP refrigerant R32 across its air conditioning and heat pump product ranges in the UK from 2017.

Mitsubishi Electric, like many of its rivals, have introduced new air conditioning systems using the R32 refrigerant gas, the non-ozone-depleting lower GWP alternative to R410A, in the Far East and Australasia but, until now, the Japanese manufacturer had remained silent on its intentions for Europe.

It has now been revealed that it is to challenge its main rival Daikin, the R32 pioneer, with new products across its main product platforms from 2017. This will include a move to R32 on Mitsubishi Electric’s residential M Series, the commercial P Series air conditioning ranges and Ecodan heat pumps.

Only Mitsubishi Electric’s VRF products will remain on R410A for the time being, although an R32 version of the company’s recently relaunched City Multi HVRF water/refrigerant hybrid will be launched in 2017.

Mitsubishi Electric have said: “R32 will be the predominant refrigerant within their business in the coming years.” They described it as the next generation refrigerant and a good substitute for R410A, despite its slightly higher pressure and mild flammability. There are already millions of R32 units already supplied and installed in Japan and most of Asia, so the UK market is not intended to be guinea pigs.

The R32 benefits from being a single component refrigerant, so making it easier to re-use and recycle, easier to handle, it won’t separate, has no glide and exhibits higher efficiency than R410A. However with limits on charge sizes due to its “mild flammability”, R32 is currently proving a challenge for the VRF range of Mitsubishi Electric products and it appears that is why Mitsubishi has developed its hybrid HVRF solution.

Mitsubishi Electric have said that “The timing for R32 VRF will be advised in due course,” a Mitsubishi Electric UK spokesman stated that, “Our plans are about offering a harmonised solution for customers because we need to avoid the situation where as an industry, we are using different refrigerants on different systems in the same buildings.”

The spokesman also indicated that limited use of CO2 is being considered especially for heat pumps where the predominant load is on hot water.

It seems likely that Mitsubishi Electric will roll out similar R32 introductions across Europe but, so far, there have been no announcements of timings for individual countries.

Chillaire Limited have been involved in some R32 refrigerant gas installations and have been quoting the R32 range for Mitsubishi Electric and other manufacturers such as Daikin for some time now. Our engineers have attended various seminars and have had training to prepare for the new refrigerant.

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Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) to launch two new Series of Room Air Conditioners.

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Mitsubishi HI (MHI) Air Conditioning manufacturing launch Nine Models Specially Designed for the European Market by Italian design company.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) has developed two new series of wall-mounted room air-conditioners for the European market, with production and marketing to commence in October 2016. The new series, the top-of-the-line ZSX Series and the premium ZS Series, comprise of 9 models in total. In addition to their sophisticated air conditioning functions and energy saving performance, both series feature a unique design to blend in beautifully with any interior decor.

The design was created by the Italian industrial design studio Tensa srl, based in Milan, and responds to a broad spectrum of European design demands thanks to its rounded contours and stylish design features. In addition to the nine regular models, two limited-edition colour variations are in preparation. Further, computational fluid dynamics (CFD) normally used to design jet engine blades have been adopted to optimize the layout and air duct shape of both the fan and heat exchanger.

Both new series have been engineered to provide significantly improved comfort and energy savings. The adoption of CFD in the design of the fan blade shape has resulted in operating noise of only 19 decibels (dB)(A)Note 1 in “silent” mode. , The adoption of MHI’s twin rotary compressor for the ZSX Series, combined with enhanced vector control enabling optimal control of the compressor motor, delivers greater efficiency throughout the range. As a result the ZSX models achieve outstanding energy efficiency receiving Europe’s highest energy rating (EU Energy Label of A+++) in both cooling and heating mode. Furthermore, all models come standard-equipped with motion sensors that detect the level of ambient human movement and automatically control the room temperature as well as the air conditioner’s ON/OFF operations.
All models feature a “silent” operating mode for the outdoor unit and weekly timer function for greater environmental compatibility and convenience. Also, by connecting them to any commercially available Wi-Fi adapter, operation via smartphones, etc. is possible.

Going forward, MHI will apply its energy saving technologies cultivated in the heat pump field and Europe’s cutting-edge product design, to provide products responding to local market needs, as a way of contributing to the realization of a low-carbon society.

Chillaire Limited are a leading supplier / installer of Mitsubishi Heavy Industry (MHI) air conditioning systems, and have been installing the MHI systems for over 20 years. We have designed and installed most of the MHI range at various customer sites throughout the UK. The customers have found the MHI systems to be of excellent quality and the engineers have commented on the easy installation, easy servicing / repair and superb reliability of the MHI systems. All of our engineers have regular training at the MHI technical training centres located in Birmingham and Slough, they know the systems very well.

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Hitachi Air Conditioning Europe claims it has released the lowest noise level mini cassette on the market

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Hitachi Launches ‘Quietest Ceiling Cassette Fan Coil Unit on the Market’

Hitachi Air Conditioning Europe claims it has released the lowest noise level mini cassette on the market

Hitachi’s new RCIM FSN4 mini cassette range is claimed to be the widest on the market, with capacities ranging from 0.6HP to 2.5HP (1.9kW to 8.5kW nominal capacity in VRF system heating mode).

The air panel has a new design combined with a high specification.

The new RCIM mini cassette has been reduced in size and its 620 x 620mm dimension has been reduced by 80mm compared to the previous model so it can be installed into a grid ceiling with a 600 x 600mm opening without needing to cut the grid or interfere with lighting or other ceiling fixtures and fittings.

The new unit features newly structured silky flow louvers with an intelligent closure system which closes louvers when the unit is switched off. This gives a discrete profile and avoids dust accumulating on open louvers.

Thanks to the availability of a new optional motion sensor, the setting temperature and airflow can be adjusted automatically according to the human activity, enabling additional reductions in power consumption.

The new design also provides better air distribution and higher comfort. Each louver of the RCIM cassette can be controlled individually, while the redesigned panel louvers and the shape of air outlets improve the “COANDA” effect so that cold air follows the ceiling line instead of falling directly towards the floor, eliminating draughts.

The improved 3D twisted blade of the turbo-fan and the air outlet also achieves a very low noise performance; the 0.6HP to 1HP units noise pressure level is only 24.5 dB(A), the lowest on the market.

Hitachi speaking about the new RCIM FSN4 cassette, have said “The features have been improved to achieve an outstanding product with a high performance heat exchanger, new high-efficiency turbo-fan and lower power input drain pump with DC motor to achieve greater energy savings.”

Utilising Hitachi’s System Free concept, the new range of RCIM FSN4 indoor units can be combined with all Hitachi Splits and VRF outdoor units allowing complete flexibility for all types of applications with just a single model code.

Chillaire Limited remain one of the leading seller / installers of Hitachi air conditioning equipment. We have been agents for Hitachi equipment for the past 20 years and have string ties with the Hitachi air conditioning sales & technical team on a daily basis.

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Customers still slow to act on F-Gas changes

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The approaching F-Gas bans and quota reductions will require a change to lower GWP refrigerants and a change in system architecture, but there seems to be a delay in this message getting through to end users.

Suppliers and installer need to get customers to understand the coming problems they are likely to face in the future.

Industry specialists are saying more action is required from the industry, if we are to meet the phasedown quotas.

Most manufacturers, contractors and consultants considered themselves ready for the changes to low-GWP refrigerants, however are customers ready for the changes.

Some suppliers are concerned that one of the reasons why there seemed to be reluctance among customers was the increased price of the new HFO blends.

While supermarkets had led the industry in moving to lower GWP refrigerants for new equipment, it was slower in converting its existing estates. The retail sector and the larger household names normally start the process and tend to drive the change.

With refrigerant manufacturers Chemours and Honeywell both preparing to launch mildly flammable HFO blends later in the year, and AC supplier Daikin starting to roll out R32 in split systems, there was agreement that the long-awaited revision to the EN378 standard, expected in October, would boost customer confidence. The new EN378 sets out the charge limits for mildly flammable refrigerants, categorised as A2L, and sets out new risk management methods by which flammables can be used.

Industry specialist have warned again that the forthcoming drop in HFC quota in 2018 – a cut of 44 per cent on 2017 – would have an impact on the price of higher-GWP refrigerants such as R404A. This would only mean a massive jump in prices.

Going forward we can expect increases in prices for types of refrigerants based on the quota availability and restrictions imposed.

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Sanyo Heat Pump Air Conditioning Systems

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Having Problems with your Sanyo air conditioning systems, then it is time to call Chillaire Limited.

In recent years Chillaire have carried out extensive work on Sanyo VRF 3 pipe heat pump systems. One of the most common problems that we have had to attend to on a number of occasions has been to faulty reversing valves, which appear to get stuck mid way and the system is unable to provide 100% heating or cooling.

We are able to continue to source replacement spare parts from Panasonic who took over Sanyo, including these reversing valves.

The work involved in replacing these valves is difficult and costly to the end user.

Another problem reported by the Chillaire engineers is problems with the mother board which on occasions requires an update to its software which has to be carried out by the manufacturers Sanyo (Panasonic) which has been arranged by Chillaire Limited.

We have been doing repairs in the Midlands and Warwickshire area, but will offer our services throughout England and Wales.

Problems with reversing  valves, mother boards and any other problems associated with Sanyo VRF systems or split systems can be resolved by Chillaire engineers.

Panasonic air conditioning systems are able to offer direct replacement new systems from their VRF and split Panasonic range.

We can assess your current Sanyo air conditioning system, whether it is a VRF or split range and match up a system from the Panasonic range. We will remove the old Sanyo system and install the new Panasonic system. We may be able to retain the existing interconnecting services or install new interconnecting services depending on the condition of the existing services.

For further information call us on our main call centre 024 7632 030 or go to our website for your regional phone number. You can email us at sales@chillaire.co.uk

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New Heat Pump Air Conditioning Systems R32 Refrigerant Gas

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Daikin UK unveils first commercial R32 range in the UK

New Bluevolution range claims highest seasonal energy efficiency, together with half GWP of predecessessor

Daikin UK has launched its new air conditioning range, named Bluevolution, using R32 refrigerant. Encompassing Daikin Split and Sky Air systems, the R32 Bluevolution range offers a future proof, affordable, air conditioning solution, the firm says, along with being quick and easy to install with reduced leak check requirements.

Following the initial launch of the Bluevolution range in Europe, for traditional split units, the Bluevolution range has now expanded to include the Daikin Emura and Sky Air products. The R32 range now also includes the Seasonal Smart High COP Roundflow Cassette and new iTab Controller.

The new range provides the highest Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) and Seasonal Coefficient of Performance (SCOP) ratings, offering improved energy efficiency and reduced environmental impact.

Daikin UK launched the first commercial R32 range within the UK market. As the F-Gas phase-out continues, it is important installers and customers make the move to lower GWP refrigerant-based systems. There is very little difference to the R410A installation process, installation with R32 gas is simple and straightforward, and provides only benefits for the end user.

Offering the ultimate in energy efficiency and control, the new Bluevolution range delivers a future proof investment throughout the F-gas phase out. Alongside the efficient R32 refrigerant, additional new system features, such as a power saving mode, ensure low running costs over the course of the systems’ lifetime.”

Daikin have said R32 in VRVs and VRFs still ‘years away’ and that they will not rush into mildly flammable refrigerant in complex AC systems and have moved to quell speculation that it will imminently offer R32 in its VRV systems range.

Daikin UK confirmed that products using the mildly flammable refrigerant would be limited to split systems initially. The more complex systems would not be converted to R32 until the installer community was comfortable with the new refrigerant.

Daikin’s D1 partners, a poll of the installers showed 77 per cent were happy to start using mildly flammable refrigerants, subject to some form of training that may be required.

The first R32 installation in the UK was undertaken in Malvern last year and Daikin launched its R32 Emura range of splits at the beginning of 2016.

An EN378 is expected to be published in October this year, containing new maximum charge size calculations for all forms of refrigerant, taking into account both toxicity and flammability. Daikin’s approach would be to simplify the EN378 charge calculating process by making the calculations app-based, and that apps for this purpose are currently under development.

Earlier this month Toshiba announced it would be launching an R32 range of residential wall-mounted split units at the end of May. The Mirai range will be available in capacities from 1.5 to 4.5 kW.

Wholesaler Climate Center is now stocking R32 in all of its 45 branches nationwide. From 2025 any gas with a GWP higher than 750 will be banned in new split air conditioning systems.R32 is a single component, zero ODP gas with a GWP of 675, significantly less than R410A, which has a GWP of 2088.

Climate Center notes the use of R32 will lead to a reduction of refrigerant charge of up to 30%. This means that heat exchangers and components can be made smaller resulting in more compact systems.

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Carrier “AquaSnap” Heat Pumps & “Greenspeed” Intelligence

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Carrier Air Conditioning has introduced the new generation of AquaSnap® air-to-water scroll heat pumps with Greenspeed® intelligence, offering new levels of efficiency and performance for building owners. Carrier a world leader in high-technology heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and refrigeration (HVACR) solutions is a part of UTC Building & Industrial Systems.

The new generation of 30RQP AquaSnap heat pumps combines both simplicity and intelligence. The product features the latest technologies including variable-speed driven fans, brazed plate heat exchangers with asymmetric channels, electronic expansion valves and a coloured touch screen user display.

This new range includes an innovative defrosting method, which may be used without consuming any additional energy. Therefore, it can significantly improve the seasonal coefficient of performance (SCOP) of the heat pump by up to 12 percent compared with earlier AquaSnap models. This defrosting method generates shorter payback, higher efficiency and reliability and improved comfort, reducing noise and vibration emission level as well as environmental impact.

The built-in hydraulic modules with optional variable-speed driven pumps can electronically control the variable water flow to meet real application needs during partial load operation and stand-by periods, thus significantly reducing the pumping energy consumption by two-thirds. The modules also feature electronic sensors for automatic pump protection against cavitation and for water flow electronic reading and setting.

The energy efficiency performance of the AquaSnap heat pumps with Greenspeed intelligence already meets the 2017 European Ecodesign regulation with a SCOP value in heating of up to 3.38. The new range also offers segment leading performance with European Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (ESEER) values in cooling of up to 4.28.

In addition, the new AquaSnap range utilises proven technology that Carrier and service engineers are familiar with and trained on to carry out routine service & maintenance.

“Carrier provides a unique value proposition for customers, with unprecedented levels of performance and efficiency in its AquaSnap line of heat pumps.

Chillaire Group offer the Carrier range of chillers & heat pumps to existing customers and new customers. for further detail you can contact us at our head office on 024 7632 0300 or you can email us at sales@chillaire.co.uk

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Air Conditioning: Why might women feel temperature differently from men?

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Chillaire sales and design engineers are aware of recent research and have been speaking to our clients and advising them of the most suitable solution for them.

There’s been a recent new study which suggested that women may feel temperature differently in workplaces from men. Is there an explanation for why men and women might feel comfortable at different room temperatures?

A study by two Dutch scientists has offered an answer to the longstanding question many office workers ask come summer – why when some men in the office are reaching for the air conditioning, are some women slipping on cardigans?

According to the paper, women feel the cold more readily – one small sample test the researchers carried out suggests that women are comfortable at a temperature 2.5C warmer than men – between 24-25C.

According to a Professor at the Warwick Medical School, variation in average metabolic rate and body heat production between men and women “may explain why there is a difference in environmental temperature required for comfort between males and females”.

The body’s metabolism is responsible for growth and the production of energy, including heat. Resting metabolic rate is the minimal rate of energy expenditure per unit of time while we are at rest, calculated through a standard set of equations. On average women have a lower metabolic rate than men.

A great determinant of resting metabolic rates is the fat free body mass in people’s bodies, accounting for around 60% of the individual difference in men and women’s resting metabolic rates. Because men have more fat free body mass – all the components of the body like skin, bones and muscle, but excluding fat – than women, they have a higher resting metabolic rate.

Major body organs, including the liver, brain, skeletal muscle, kidneys and heart are where most energy is consumed.

Non-movement production of heat – where energy is expended outside of active exercise – occurs in the body in “brown fat”, according to a Professor at Warwick Medical School. Humans have two types of fat – white fat, a store of excess calories, and brown fat, which generates heat.

Brown fat produces heat involuntarily through a process called thermogenesis. It is regulated by the thyroid hormone and the nervous system, and may account for further variation of resting metabolic rate, particularly in men.

This higher proportion of body mass which is able to produce heat involuntarily means that on average men don’t feel the cold as easily as women – and, in sultry summer months, means they have a lower tolerance for hot weather because their bodies produce more heat at a resting metabolic rate, getting warmer quicker.

But, the Professor at Warwick Medical School was quick to point out, not every person is the same. Some men have lower metabolic rates than some women, and so in some cases it may be Dave on reception reaching for a jumper more readily than Ellie in the boardroom.

When designing air conditioning systems, our design at Chillaire will try and put forward proposals which will benefit both male and female staff in a large open plan office with both male and female occupancy.

We at the Chillaire Group often find most of our competitors will design systems to meet the required heat gain or heat loss, and not take into account the air flow delivery. The correct amount of cooling or heating is important, but how this effect is delivered into a space is even more important. The right fan coil selection with the right level of airflow is essential. We would put forward a ceiling cassette fan coil unit over a wall unit for better air flow deliver, and a ducted fan coil unit with multiple grilles in a ceiling rather than a ceiling cassette fan coil unit, where there is multiple occupancy, and especially where there us multiple mixed (male & female) occupancy.

All fan coil units come with the manufacturers fixed selection of air flow settings, usually low, medium or high. The ducted fan coil unit with ducting design, silencers, filtration allows you to smooth the air flow delivery even further. At design stage the ducting you can control the velocity of the air flow.

Chillaire design engineers select the right fan coil unit for heat pump cooling or heating and the right air handling unit for gas fired or LPHW heating and chilled water or ducted DX cooling systems. The right level of cooling or heating delivered at the right level of air flow at all times.

For all your Heat Pump Heating or Air Conditioning Design, Sales or Installation needs call us at Chillaire Limited to arrange a site visit for our one of sales / design engineers to come out and see you.

Main Call Centre: 024 7632 0300024 7632 0300 / sales@chillaire.co.uk

Regional: 0121 695 94180121 695 9418 / 01536 38404601536 384046 / 01295 20768201295 207682 / 01908 48358501908 483585 / 01332 56172901332 561729

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