The cabinet from well-known UK refrigeration hire company Lowe Rental was selected to see how the new refrigerant might perform in an existing R404A cabinet.
The A2L “mildly flammable” refrigerant would normally only be intended for commercial use in new equipment but, in this case, the charge size was well below the limits specified in EN 378, and, so, a simple retrofit was conducted.
The cabinet performance was measured while running on R404A and then again once the refrigerant was removed and replaced with XL20. The charge size was approximately 350g. As the unit had a capillary expansion device, it was not possible to adjust the superheat settings, but the cabinet is still reported to have pulled down to temperature and operated in a similar way to when running on R404A.
The cooling capacity was measured to be approximately 10% lower and the COP approximately 5% higher than R404A. The discharge temperature was 5K higher than with R404A, but well within the limits of the compressor.
Chemours says that due to the relatively lower mass flow of Opteon XL20, new equipment designs could be tuned to ensure optimum performance, but this experiment shows that Opteon XL20 is a viable replacement for R404A in such systems.