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Air conditioner using R161 amongst low GWP winners

ITALY: A number of highly innovative projects, including one using little-known flammable refrigerant HFC161 in domestic air conditioners, have won awards in the ASHRAE/UNEP low GWP project awards.

The annual ASHRAE and UN Environment Programme (UNEP) international award programme recognises people who have developed or implemented innovative technological concepts applied in developing countries to promote lower global warming potential refrigerants through refrigeration and air conditioning applications.

The project using HFC161, an A3 refrigerant with a GWP of just 12, was one of five projects selected in two application categories – residential and commercial/industrial. 

The main objective of the project was to develop a domestic air conditioning system with a large cooling capacity to replace the use of R22 as a refrigerant. Also known as fluoroethane and ethyl fluoride, HFC161 has been shown to perform well compared to current HFCs.

The project team comprised Zhang Jianjun, Guo Zhikai, Zhang Lei, Zhang Mingjie and Xie Pinzan.

The other winner in the residential category was a low charge ammonia system implemented in India. This project designed for domestic air conditioning sought to analyse the minimum possible charge in order to reduce leakage hazards associated with the system. The work was attributed to Rajesh Kumar N, D Mohan Lal and Kamalakannan.

Members of the judging committee present for award presentations were (back row left to right) Stephen Gill (UK), Jim Curlin (UNEP OzonAction), Jim Wolf (US), and Roberto Peixoto (Brazil)


A Saudi Arabian project team comprising Samir Hamed Alfetiany, Husam Quedan and Samer Hamed Alfetiany, won an award in the commercial/industrial category for packaged chillers with integrated air handling units using low GWP A3 and A2L (R290 and R32) refrigerants at standard and high ambient temperatures.

The main aim of the project was to develop, design, manufacture and test the new packaged air conditioners, with cooling capacities of 40, 70 and 100kW. The challenge was to address the safety requirement for each prototype and adopt this safe design and components in the prototypes.

The Crocodile Project by the Thai project team of Warot Lamlertpongpana, Wallop Lamlertpongpana, Jittakorn Sukjareon and Kittitach Chumnarnwat involved a CO2 transcritical refrigeration system developed for high humidity and ambient temperature environments. Designed for a commercial office, the system produces ice for storage in an ice bank at night, to supply chilled water during the day to the office air conditioners. The benefits of running at night is not only because the electrical demand charge is less, but because the ambient temperature is also lower, hence better system performance.

The final award was for a low charge propane chiller for a supermarket commercial refrigeration system in Brazil. The project team of Rogério Marson Rodrigues, Ivair Lucio Soares Junior, Gustavo Galdi Heidinger, Cassio Lucio Simonetti and Edgard Soares Pinto Neto developed a propane chiller to cool a secondary fluid (glycol) which is then used to cool medium temperature cabinets and cold rooms. For low temperature cabinets and cold rooms, CO2 is condensed by the same glycol in a subcritical system.


Congratulating the selected project teams, ASHRAE presidential member and co-chair of the judging committee Sheila J Hayter said: “The projects selected represent long-term, global and energy efficient solutions to lessen the impact of ozone depleting substances,” adding that they set a benchmark for sustainability in developing countries.

The judges who reviewed the entries were Nesreene Ghaddar (Lebanon), Stephen Gill (UK), Roberto Peixoto (Brazil) and James Wolf (USA).

The selected projects were announced at the 31st Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer in Rome. Projects will also be showcased at respective OzonAction Network meetings and at the ASHRAE Winter Conference in Orlando, Florida, in February.  

Related stories:

ASHRAE/UNEP award targets low GWP solutions10 February 2019
USA: ASHRAE and UN Environment have announced an awards programme for innovative designs, research and practices of low-GWP alternative refrigerants applied in developing countries. Read more…

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