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R449A selected for Olympic trio

CHINA: Three of the venues for next year’s Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games will be employing R449A, the lower GWP alternative to R404A, in its refrigeration systems.

Chemours says it has achieved a memorandum of understanding with the Beijing National Aquatics Centre, Beijing National Indoor Stadium and Wukesong Sports Centre for use of the refrigerant, which is branded by Chemours as Opteon XP40.

All three venues were main venues for 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic Games, and will be hosting hockey and curling ice games during the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. To support the mission of being “green, open, inclusive and clean” and to adopt more sustainable solutions, the venues in consultation with equipment suppliers, design engineers and service providers, selected R449A refrigerant to provide reliable performance at the demanding low temperatures required for operating their facilities. 

R449A is a blend of R32, R125, R1234yf and R134a with a GWP of 1397. It is said to closely match the properties and performance of R404A.

The National Aquatics Centre, known as the Water Cube during the 2008 Olympics, has been renamed the Ice Cube for the Winter Olympics. 

“Three ice making units of Ice Cube have been charged with Opteon XP40,” said Yang Qiyong, general manager of Beijing National Aquatics Centre. “This project saves 4% of the charge compared to other refrigerants and saves installation costs. During the test games in 2019 and in April 2021, the ice making units performed well and have guaranteed excellent ice surface temperature.”

After redesign and retrofit, ice making units and systems that are charged with R499A have also been installed in Beijing National Aquatics Centre and Beijing National Indoor Stadium. Wukesong Sports Centre, which was equipped with refrigeration pipes at construction in 2006, changed out their old ice making units. 

In a series of test games that have been held, the ice surface of the three venues are said to have been well received by the participating athletes.

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