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Toshiba hints at R410A VRF solution

UK: Toshiba claims an answer to the use of high GWP R410A in VRF air conditioning systems could be just two years away.

The F-gas phase down has led to large price increases and supply issues with R410A refrigerant in Europe, something which is likely be repeated globally when the Kigali amendment kicks in.

While “mildly flammable” R32 is seen as safe to use in smaller split systems, current standards preclude its use in larger air conditioning systems.

There is currently no other alternative to R410A in VRF systems and, with its high GWP of 2088, R410A has a limited future in any phase down scenario.

It’s a big concern to manufacturers of VRF air conditioning systems which have become widely used globally.

Speaking at yesterday’s launch of Toshiba’s extended range of R32 units, Toshiba UK MD David Dunn revealed that an answer could be on the horizon as early as 2020.

“There are two options, really,” he said. “Either a new refrigerant that is safer or a completely new technology. One of those two has to happen and to happen quite quickly.

“It looks like its going to be a technology change that’s going to be coming through. From the information we’ve got from Japan, there’s two potential ways forward that they are working on. Once they’ve built and tested them, then we’ll decide which is the way forward and we will be launching a new VRF, probably 2020 into 2021, which will negate the need to use a high GWP refrigerant.”

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