USA: A new study on the risks associated with the use of propane (R290) in refrigeration and air conditioning will be used to support revisions of international safety standards.
The Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Technology Institute (AHRTI), the AHRI’s research arm, conducted leak and ignition testing under whole room scale conditions to develop data and insight into the risks associated with the use of A3 refrigerants. The results will be used to support revisions of safety standards IEC/UL 60335-2-40 and IEC/UL 60335-2-89.
The test project is part of a $5.6m research programme jointly funded by AHRI, ASHRAE, the California Air Resources Board (CARB), and the US Department of Energy, and is part of the US industry’s effort to phase down the use of high-GWP refrigerants and to facilitate and accelerate the safe use of flammable refrigerants.
The testing scenario simulated a packaged terminal air conditioner and a mini-split air conditioner in a typical motel room, and a single door reach-in cooler and a three-door reach-in cooler in a convenience store. All tests were conducted by AHRTI’s subcontractor, UL, under the supervision of a technical committee comprising AHRI members and staff of the California Air Resources Board. Test results are said to have demonstrated potential issues with the safety standards for R290 charge quantities, and possible resolution to mitigate ignition risk.
The final report can be accessed on AHRI’s website.