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R448A the choice as R404A production ends

Precision’s Steve Goldsmith (left) and md Nick Williams have been leading Precision’s pioneering moves towards lower GWP refrigerants

UK: Commercial refrigeration equipment manufacturer Precision has announced that it is to discontinue the use of R404A in favour of the new lower GWP refrigerant R448A.

A major supplier of equipment to the foodservice industry, Precision says that it will phase out use of the high GWP gas R404A refrigerant in all its freezer and blast chiller products produced at its Thetford factory in the next few weeks. The company’s manufacturing plant in China will also be moving to N40 within the next 6 months, the company added.

The move to R448A, an HFO blend refrigerant developed by Honeywell and marketed as  Solstice N40, follows its extensive testing by Precision over the last two years.

R404A is the market’s standard refrigerant for freezers and blast chillers but, with its high GWP of 3,922, it is one of the main refrigerants targeted for phase-out in both Europe and the US.

R448A is a blend of the HFCs R32 (26%), R125 (26%) and R134a (21%), with HFO components R1234yf (20%) and 1234ze(E) (7%). Its GWP is around 1300 and is classified A1 by ASHRAE – non-toxic and non-flammable.  According to the results of tests carried out by Precision, it is also more energy efficient than R404A.

Precision-R448A“Now there is a viable alternative, it makes no sense to use R404A,” said Steve Goldsmith, Precision’s engineering manager.  “We are seeing an average of 4% energy saving on the cabinets we have tested so far, the biggest gains coming from blast chiller applications.” 

Precision and Honeywell are currently testing new HFO refrigerants for general chilled storage. “The refrigerator solution, a viable alternative to refrigerant R134a, will be available in the next few months,” said Steve Goldsmith.  “R404A’s very high GWP was the prime driver in tackling it first.” 

Hydrocarbon will still be offered as an option on cabinets if end-users request it, as well as high temperature cabinets operating on the low GWP HFO refrigerant R1234ze. 

Precision maintains that the move to R448A is in line with its commitment to working with new technologies that reduce refrigeration’s impact on the environment and was the first catering refrigeration manufacturer to use insulation based on vegetable oils rather than petrochemicals.

“We’ve been working with closely with Honeywell on HFO refrigerants for over two years,” commented Precision’s managing director Nick Williams.  “This is an important development – a viable, safe, green and energy efficient alternative to R404A.  Hopefully more manufacturers will make the switch to N40/R448A as soon as possible.” 

Related stories:

Precision to offer HFO in fridgesMarch 18, 2014
UK: Commercial refrigeration manufacturer Precision is to offer the low GWP HFO refrigerant R1234ze as an option in its foodservice equipment. Read more…

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