JAPAN: The refrigerants R448A and the HFO R1233zd have joined a number of low GWP refrigerants classified as inert gases under revisions to Japan’s High Pressure Gas Safety Act.

Issued by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), the revised regulation aims to expedite the adoption of next-generation refrigerants with lower GWPs and also help the country meet its aggressive targets to phase down the use of high-GWP HFCs.

Japan’s High Pressure Gas Safety Act regulates the production, storage, sale, transportation and other matters related to the handling of high pressure gases.

Carrier’s AquaEdge 19DV centrifugal chiller is one of the latest chillers to adopt R1233zd(E)

The revised Act now establishes clear guidelines on the classification of inert fluorocarbons, which are aligned with its general safety regulations. The simplified classification includes four categories: inert fluorocarbons, specified inert gases, non-inert fluorocarbons, and others. The Act streamlines the handling of multi-generation refrigerants, simplifying the process for users.

“The revision is another step forward for Japan to meet its strong commitment to phase down HFCs, as agreed in the Kigali amendment to the Montreal Protocol,” said Katsuyuki Takise, general manager of Honeywell Advanced Materials, Japan, the manufacturer of both R448A and R1233zd.

The evaluation of new refrigerants for inert fluorocarbon classification is conducted by the New Refrigerant Assessment Committee, which was established in 2016 by the Japan Society of Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers to assess if the flammability and toxicity of new materials. Last May, the committee determined that R448A and R1233zd – sold by Honeywell as Solstice N40 and Solstice zd, respectively – met the safety requirements for inert gases.

R448A is a blend of the HFCs R32, R125 and R134a, with HFO components R1234yf and 1234ze(E). Its GWP is around 1300 and is classified A1 by ASHRAE – non-toxic and non-flammable. It is said to demonstrate up to 16% lower energy consumption in various refrigerator and freezer applications, compared with R404A.

R1233zd is a single-component HFO refrigerant and has an ultra-low GWP of 1. It is also nonflammable, non-toxic (ASHRAE A1) and non-ozone-depleting replacement for R123 and R245fa in low-pressure centrifugal chillers and ORC systems.