US EPA proposes approval of 4 HCs in 6 AC&R applications

By Alexandra Maratou, Jun 27, 2014, 17:36 2 minute reading

On 26 June 2014, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed to list additional hydrocarbon (HC) refrigerants in six refrigeration and air conditioning applications: stand-alone commercial and household refrigerators and freezers, very low temperature refrigeration, non-mechanical heat transfer, vending machines, and room air conditioning units.

The EPA is proposing to increase the options for refrigerants in the United States (US) that offer better climate protection without harming the ozone layer.

If finalised as proposed, the rule would list hydrocarbon substitutes as “acceptable subject to use conditions” in a number of stationary air conditioning (AC) and refrigeration end-uses under the EPA’s Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) Program, including:
  • Household refrigerators and freezers: The EPA proposes to list propane (R290), as acceptable subject to use conditions as a substitute in household refrigerators and freezers and combination refrigerator/freezers subject to the following use conditions. The charge size for any household refrigerator, freezer, or combination refrigerator and freezer for each circuit using R290 must not exceed 57 grams (2.01 ounces).
  • Retail food refrigeration: The EPA proposes to list isobutane (R600a) and the hydrocarbon blend R441A as acceptable subject to use conditions as substitutes in retail food refrigeration (new stand alone commercial refrigerators and freezers only). The EPA proposes a charge size limit of 150 grams (5.29 ounces).
  • Very low temperature refrigeration and non-mechanical heat transfer (intended to maintain temperatures considerably lower than for refrigeration of food, for example, -80°C (-170°F) or lower): The EPA proposes to list ethane (R170) as acceptable, subject to use conditions, in very low temperature refrigeration equipment and in non-mechanical heat transfer. The EPA proposes a charge size limit of 150 grams (5.29 ounces).
  • Vending machines: The EPA proposes to list R441A, isobutane and propane as acceptable substitutes in vending machines. The proposed charge size limit amounts to 150 grams (5.29 ounces).
  • Residential and light commercial AC and heat pumps: The EPA proposes to list hydrocarbons propane (R290) and R441A, as well as HFC32 as acceptable subject to use conditions as substitutes in residential and light commercial AC for self-contained room air conditioners, including packaged terminal air conditioners and packaged terminal heat pumps, window AC units, and portable AC units designed for use in a single room. The EPA proposes that charge size limits be determined based on the type of equipment (e.g. window AC, wall-mounted AC, etc), the alternative refrigerant used, and the normal rated capacity of the unit. For example, the maximum design charge size for a 10,000 BTU/hr window AC Unit would amount to 260g of R290, 280g of R441A, and 3.47kg of HFC32.

Proposal to exempt HCs from venting prohibition

In addition, this action proposes to exempt from Section 608’s prohibition on venting, release, or disposal, the four hydrocarbon refrigerant substitutes that are proposed for being listed as “acceptable subject to use conditions” in specific end-uses, on the basis of current evidence that their venting, release, or disposal does not pose a threat to the environment.

Next steps

The EPA will accept comment on the proposal for 60 days following publication in the Federal Register.  


By Alexandra Maratou

Jun 27, 2014, 17:36

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