Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Ministers from 25 Nations Commit to Scaling Up Voluntary Action to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants

UNEP.ORG

Thu, Dec 6, 2012

Rapid Growth of Country Members-from 6 to 25 in Less Than 12 Months - Underlines World-Wide Interest in Voluntary Initiative

Climate and Clean Air Coalition Partners Review Progress on Fast Action From Curbing Emissions from Landfills to Cutting Smoke from Heavy Duty Vehicles

Doha (Qatar), 6 December 2012 - Six new countries today joined an international effort aimed at fast action on reducing black carbon, methane, some hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and other short-lived climate pollutants (SCLPs).

The announcement by Chile, the Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, the Maldives, the Netherlands and the Republic of Korea brings to almost 50 the number of partners in the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC)-a voluntary initiative aimed at maximizing the health, agricultural and climate benefits of swift action on SLCPs.

Today at a ministerial meeting during the UN Climate convention meeting partners underlined their commitment to a suite of priority actions, reviewed progress and pledged to re-double efforts to reduce SLCPs.

Fast action on black carbon and methane have the potential to slow a global temperature rise by up to 0.5 degrees C by 2050, reduce air pollution-related deaths by as much as 2.4 million and crop losses by around 30 million tonnes annually.

Scientific assessments indicate that the near term benefits in places like the Arctic and on glaciers in mountain regions could be even higher.

While HFC emissions currently represent a small fraction of the current total greenhouse gases (less than one percent), their warming impact is particularly strong and, if left unchecked, they could account for 7 to 19 percent of CO2 emissions by 2050.

The Coalition, which was launched initially by six founding countries and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) in February this year, is already acting on several fronts.

  • It is supporting an initial group of 10 major cities including Rio de Janeiro, Lagos, Stockholm, Accra, and New York to accelerate methane reductions from landfills and black carbon or 'soot' from burning wastes
  • It has joined forces with the Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles to reduce black carbon emissions or 'smoke' from heavy duty vehicles such as trucks by accelerating the introduction of low sulphur fuels and tighter emission standards in Asia and Latin America.Through the Green Goods Movement Supply Chain Partnership, the Coalition will initiate market-driven, public-private partnerships designed to accelerate the adoption of emission-reducing and fuel saving technologies, as well as the adoption of operational strategies in the global freight transportation supply chain
  • Working with leading oil and gas companies to reduce methane and black carbon emissions from flaring and leaks-in doing so the Coalition aims to save fuel losses while tackling the second largest source of man-made methane emissions
  • Developing SLCP action plans in a variety of countries - including work already started in Ghana, Mexico, and Bangladesh - to identify "quick win" opportunities to reduce SLCPs
  • Hosting the second International Technology Forum to showcase a range of climate-friendly alternatives to HFCs in order to curb their growth as replacement gases in refrigeration and other kinds of equipment
  • Launching a global awareness-raising campaign to increase political attention and build capacity to mitigate the impacts from SLCP emissions from brick production
  • Establishing a Scientific Advisory Panel of eminent experts to guide the Coalition's work

Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director, said: "Fast action on SLCPs is not an alternative to urgent action under the UN Climate convention process-without serious and significant cuts in emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) now and in the future, the world will be unable to keep a global temperature rise this century under 2 degrees C".

"Swiftly reducing SLCPs does however represent a supportive and additional action with near term benefits that need to happen anyway-indeed for the human health and food security benefits alone, set aside the climate ones, nations need to be acting if they are serious about a transition to an inclusive Green Economy and realizing sustainable development," he added.

Any activities that reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, including SLCPs, can be part of the solution. However, action on SLCPs must be complemented by deep and rapid cuts in CO2 if global mean temperature increase over the 21st century is to be held below 2 degrees C.

Additional Quotes by Partners:

Hiroyuki Nagahama, Minister of the Environment, Japan:

"Japan fully endorses the framework for the Coalition and meaningful actions focused on SLCPs that aims to realize co-benefit between climate change and air pollution. Japan is advancing its international cooperation related to SLCPs such as through co-benefit projects in Asia which address both global warming and air pollution."

Hadiza Ibrahim Mailafia, Honourable Minister, Federal Ministry of Environment, Nigeria:

"Nigeria is focused on developing her economy with minimal ecological footprint and we are setting priorities at achieving zero flare in the oil and gas sector, reducing black carbon from cooking with wood fuels, waste burning and diesel engines as well as methane from the agricultural sector. We will reduce the emission of SLCPs from all sectors in Nigeria for the health of our people, protect the environment and create green jobs."

Todd Stern, United States Special Envoy for Climate Change:

"I'm encouraged by the strong growth of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition since our founding less than 10 months ago.  We started with 6 country partners; we now have 25 plus the European Commision and key non-state partners like the UN Environmental Programme and the World Bank.  Today, we gathered together to redouble our efforts to quickly reduce short-lived climate pollutants.  Working together - countries, international organizations, businesses, and NGOs - we can  achieve substantial near-term climate benefits, save lives, and improve crop yields, all in a way that fully complements the aggressive action we all need to take on CO2."

Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action:

"To further increase the European Union's ambition between now and 2020, and in line with the Coalition's initiative on HFCs, the European Commission recently proposed legislation that would reduce sales of these powerful greenhouse gases in the EU by almost 80%. This would save the equivalent of 625 million tonnes of CO2 by 2030. By demonstrating that suitable, safe and energy-efficient alternatives to these pollutants are already available and affordable in many sectors, this bold step aims to encourage others to take similar measures."

United Nations Development Programme Administrator Helen Clark:

"To tackle climate change, the whole world must develop differently and that requires engaged citizens and bold leadership, willing and able to take on entrenched interests and leave behind failed models.  As the actions of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition build momentum, UNDP looks forward to being part of the united effort with the Coalition partners to try new approaches and achieve widespread benefits for sustainable human development".

Lena Ek, Minister for the Environment, Sweden:

"The best researchers in the field have joined our Scientific Advisory Panel whose task is to ensure that what we do has a scientific basis."

Peter Kent, Minister of the Environment, Canada:

"Taking action to reduce short-lived climate pollutants strengthens the global effort to make near-term progress on climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants. By extending our efforts in complementary fora such as the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), we are tackling global climate goals that can improve the health of millions of citizens around the world. Canada is proud to be a founding member of the CCAC and is encouraged by today's announcement of six additional country partners."

Mark Dreyfus QC, Australia's Vice Minister, Ministry of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency:

"Australia is committed to taking action to reduce short lived climate pollution. The science suggests that acting quickly to reduce SLCPs , which have a strong warming impact, has the potential to slow down warming by 2050. Tackling these pollutants is also beneficial to human health, air quality, crop yields and ecosystems".

Jochen Flasbarth, President of the Federal Environment Agency, Germany:

"Germany fully supports the CCAC and the common target to reduce significantly short lived climate pollutants. We believe that activities under the CCAC can play an important role by helping increase mitigation ambition before 2020 on our way to a new climate treaty under the UNFCCC."

Pam Pearson, Director and Founder, International Cryosphere Climate Initiative (ICCI):

"Climate change is impacting cryosphere regions such as the Himalayas and the Arctic far more quickly than researchers anticipated even a few years ago.  If we are to maintain even portions of these regions in the face of rapid climate change, we need tools for immediately slowing down global and regional warming, while also working urgently on CO2.  Reductions of SLCPs offer the only real opportunity to achieve this. The CCAC provides a platform to intensify these actions, for example on domestic wood burning and agricultural burning in Arctic nations, where ICCI is working today to have immediate positive impacts for Arctic sea ice and glaciers."

Frederic Hauge, Founder and President of the Bellona Foundation:

"Reducing the emissions of Methane and Black Carbon affecting the Arctic is precarious. Bellona Foundation is determined use our 26 years' experience in the Arctic to reduce flaring and methane leaks from oil and gas infrastructure in the region."

Durwood Zaelke, President of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development (IGSD): 

"The Coalition has the potential to be the catalyst for cutting the rate of climate change in half for the next 30 to 40 years, while saving millions of lives a year and preventing significant crop losses."

Romina Picolotti, President of CEDHA, Ex Secretary of Environment and Sustainable Development of Argentina:


"If you want better quality in the air that you breath, if you want to substantive contribute to avoid further global warming, if you want to improve your crops productions, if you want to avoid premature deaths of children and woman then work on reducing SLCPs.  Reducing SLCPs could cut the current rate of global warming by half, the rate of warming in the Artic by 2/3, and the rate of warming over the elevated regions of the Himalayas and Tibet by at least half over the next 30 to 40 years. Slowing the rate of climate change and reducing near-term impacts have the potential to provide global benefits for climate, crops and health.

Notes to Editors

With the joining of six new countries, the CCAC has today grown to 25 country partners, the European Commission and 23 non-state partners-for a full list and for more details on the Coalition please go to  www.unep.org/ccac

Fact sheets on the key areas of work of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition are available here.

About The Climate and Clean Air Coalition

The Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (CCAC), is a voluntary partnership of governments, intergovernmental organizations, private sector representatives, environmental actors and other members of civil society. Established in February, 2012, CCAC's primary focus is to catalyze action for the reduction of short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) in the atmosphere such as black carbon, methane and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). 

The CCAC aims to catalyze fast action on SLCPs to achieve major global and regional climate benefits, and improvements in public health, food and energy security. The CCAC Secretariat is hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Coalition's work is supported by a newly established Scientific Advisory Panel, comprised of 8 eminent people. The mission of the CCAC is entirely complementary to efforts to reduce CO2, in particular efforts under the UN Climate convention.

Coalition Initiatives

  • Cities reducing emissions from waste: Landfills are the third largest source of methane globally. The Climate and Clean Air Coalition is now working with an initial group of over 10 major cities around the world, like Rio de Janeiro, Lagos, Stockholm, Accra, and New York, to undertake a variety of new efforts to reduce methane from landfills and black carbon from burning waste. Participating cities will act as ambassadors in their regions for showcasing best practices, piloting new financing mechanisms, and building an extensive international action network.
  • Phasing down HFCs in cooling equipment:  HFCs are increasingly being used for air conditioning, refrigeration, foam, and other sectors as replacement gases-many have high global warming potential. The Coalition is working with governments, companies and international organizations to promote energy-efficient technologies as alternatives to HFCs. In December, the Coalition is hosting an International Technology Forum to showcase a range of climate-friendly alternatives.
  • Reducing Black Carbon Emissions from Heavy Duty Diesel Vehicles and Engines:  First activities are underway, supporting leading countries in Asia and Latin America to develop best practices for adoption fuel and emission standards for heavy duty diesel vehicles and engines-through the Green Goods Movement Supply Chain Partnership, the Coalition will initiate market-driven, public-private partnerships designed to accelerate the adoption of emission-reducing and fuel saving technologies, as well as the adoption of operational strategies in the global freight transportation supply chain.
  • Mitigating Black Carbon and Other Pollutants From Brick Production.  A global awareness-raising campaign has been launched to increase political attention and build capacity to mitigate the impacts from brick production, with first activities underway in Latin America that will be expanded to Asia and Africa.
  • Accelerating Methane and Black Carbon Reductions from Oil and Natural Gas Production.  Several leading companies are currently engaging with the CCAC in discussions in an attempt to collaboratively design mechanisms and voluntary commitments to achieve substantial methane and black carbon emission reductions.  The oil and gas sector currently contributes 22 percent of global, manmade methane; estimates show that a significant portion of these emissions can be reduced at zero net cost.
  • Promoting SLCP National Action Planning (NAP).  Rapid development of NAP will enable countries to identify achievable 'quick-win' benefits and prepare the ground for large-scale mitigation measures geared to their unique national circumstances. Work has started in Bangladesh, Ghana and Mexico and a guide and a rapid emissions and scenarios assessment toolkit will support replication.
  • Financing Mitigation of SLCPs.  The Coalition will work with governments, the private sector, donors, financial institutions, expert groups and investors' networks to bolster financial flows toward SLCP mitigation.

For more information, please contact:

Nick Nuttall, Acting Director UNEP Division of Communications and Public Information/UNEP Spokesperson on +254 733 632755, nick.nuttall@unep.org or visit www.unep.org/ccac.

UNEP Newsdesk (Nairobi), on +254 20 762 3088 / +254 207625022, E-mail: unepnewsdesk@unep.org

 
Click here for original article: http://www.unep.org/newscentre/default.aspx?DocumentID=2700&ArticleID=9348

New Reports on Refrigerants Released

Research Balances Low GWP with Energy Costs

Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration NEWS Vol. 247 No. 16
 
October 29, 2012
weighing cost-effectiveness of refrigerantsTwo new reports that provide detailed studies of refrigerants have recently been released. The research is evaluating how newer refrigerants — ranging from HFC and HFO f-gases to natural refrigerants such as ammonia, CO2, and HCs — stack up against the current crop of popular refrigerants. One report focuses on refrigerants with low global warming potential (GWP), while the other focuses on the cost effectiveness of refrigerants.
The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) is in the midst of a Low Global Warming Potential Alternative Refrigerants Evaluation Program (Low-GWP AREP). The approved test reports are due at the end of the year or early 2013, but some preliminary results were presented during the 14th International Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Conference recently held at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind.
The cost-effectiveness of refrigerants were reviewed in a report titled “Lifecycle Climate Performance (LCCP) of Various Refrigerants and System Options” from Emerson Climate Technologies that was presented at the fall Food Marketing Institute and Store Development Conference in Phoenix.
Low GWP
The ongoing Low-GWP AREP is testing 38 potentially low GWP refrigerants that could be used as alternatives instead of higher GWP refrigerants. “These refrigerants represent what the industry currently feels have great potential to replace HCFC-22, R-134a, R-404a, and R-410A,” said AHRI’s Xudong Wang, who presented the paper at Purdue.
Noting the phaseout of R-22 by 2040 in developing countries and 2030 in developed countries, Wang said HFCs such as R-410A and R-134a “have come under close scrutiny due to global warming concerns.”
For the paper, five familiar and commonly used refrigerants — R-134a, R-404A, R-410A, R-22, and HFC-407C — were set as “baseline refrigerants.” Then testing and evaluation of the newer refrigerants was conducted to compare with each of the baseline refrigerants.
Some of the new refrigerants are being tested with more than one of the baseline refrigerants, others with just one of the baseline. They span the gamut of familiar refrigerants (such as R-32, ammonia, and propane) to some of the newer HFOs such as 1234yf (already being used in automotive air conditioning in Europe) to experimental developmental refrigerants from several refrigerant manufacturers.
And the refrigerants stretch across the board from those with the A1 safety rating, the A2L slightly flammable rating, and A3 flammable.
As noted by Karim Amrane, AHRI vice president, regulatory and research, “This is a cooperative research program to identify suitable alternatives to high GWP refrigerants. This research is strongly desired by OEMs to access research needs, accelerate the industry’s response to environmental challenges, and avoid duplicate work.”
While the AHRI paper deals with such aspects, Wang noted, “The performance of air conditioning and refrigeration systems using these candidates needs to be evaluated to ensure acceptable system capacity and efficiency.”
Cost Effectiveness
According to Rajan Rajendran, vice president of engineering services and sustainability for Emerson Climate Technologies, the issue of efficiency was one reason that prompted the LCCP project.
“New synthetic lower GWP refrigerants and natural candidates are options for air conditioning, heat pump, and refrigeration applications,” he said.
But he noted during the presentation at the FMI conference, “A Life Cycle Climate Performance approach to system design and refrigerant choice adopts a holistic approach to refrigerant selection factoring in safety, environment, performance and total costs.”
Rajendran made the FMI presentation with Michael Saunders, director, end user technical sales and support.
One of the matrixes shown to an audience of supermarket engineers detailed “emerging lower GWP refrigerants for new and existing applications.” Many of those were the same ones in the AHRI study.
The LCCP study looked at three categories of current applications: unitary a/c, commercial a/c, small chillers; refrigeration; and large chillers and mobile refrigeration. The grid then plugged in “new LGWP refrigerants for OEM use,” such as the HFOs and developmental refrigerants that would be used in new rather than retrofit applications. In addition, developmental synthetic refrigerants for existing applications were looked at. Also looked at were what the study referred to as “today’s refrigerants,” such as those in the R-400 series (including -404A, -407A, -407C, -407F, and -410A).
Rajendran encouraged the store engineers as well as contractors to “minimize LCCP with options available today to meet your needs.” He noted, “Many lower GWP synthetic candidates will soon become commercially available. These candidates target keeping performance the same and reducing GWP and LCCP.”
He added, “Natural refrigerants like NH3 (ammonia), CO2, and R-290 (propane) should be considered when they make sense.” He noted that “regulations, safety, economics and performance have to favor choice over all alternatives.”
Among specific findings:
• There are alternatives to R-404A including R-407A and R-407F “that give good performance overall with lower GWP and lower LCCP.”
• The traditional air conditioning refrigerant R-410A is a “good option in medium temperature (refrigeration) and acceptable in low temperature applications with system redesign.”
• Options are available for R-22 stores needing conversion. Cited were “R-407A, R-407C, 407F, R-438a, etc.”
Even as the industry works on future refrigerants, Rajendran said that “many benefits can be achieved now with existing technologies.” He said these include “a focus on energy efficiency improvement, maintenance, and refrigerant containment.”
Publication date: 10/29/2012
 
Peter Powell is Refrigeration Editor. E-mail him at peterpowell@achrnews.com.
 
 

Advocacy: R-22 Update

HARDInet.org
 
Submitted by Vanessa Spates on December 21, 2012
 
Because the EPA will not have finalized its rule pertaining to the allocation and production rights for R-22 by the end of the year, distributors should prepare for circumstances similar to those faced in the early part of 2012. Specifically, it will be illegal for producers to manufacture or import R-22 after the 1st of the year until they (suppliers) receive a "no action assurance" letter or waiver from EPA which will allow a resumption of normal business practices while the rule is being finalized.
In 2012, suppliers received the "no action assurance" letter from EPA in the third week of January with a mandated reduction in the amount of R-22 available for production or importation. Distributors should prepare for both another delay in the issuance of "no action assurance" letters by the EPA and a further reduction in the amount of R-22 which will be allocated. In 2012, approximately 55 million pounds of R-22 were allowed for production/importation in the United States and it is the recommendation of HARDI that distributors plan for another significant reduction in R-22 availability, likely to 45 million pounds nationally.
 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Inha researchers propose mixture of R-1234yf and R-134a as non-flammable, low GWP alternative to R-1234yf for MACs

Greencarcongress.com
 
13 December 2012
 
Researchers from Inha University in South Korea have proposed a solution to the recently re-ignited debate over the safety (flammability) of R-1234yf, targeted for use as a low global warming potential (GWP) replacement for R134a for mobile air conditioning (MAC) systems. An azeotropic mixture of 88.5-90% R-1234yf and 10-11.5% R134a can solve the flammability issue associated with R-1234yf while still delivering a low (<150 gwp="gwp" p="p" refrigerant="refrigerant" say.="say." they="they">
Over the last several years, the automotive industry has been tracking to replace the MAC refrigerant R-134a, which has a global warming potential (GWP) of 1,430, with the lower-GWP refrigerant R-1234yf (GWP = 4). Three separate SAE-led efforts had validated the choice.
In September, however, Daimler derailed the adoption of R-1234yf when its internal testing raised concerns about its flammability and thus questions on its safe usage as a replacement refrigerant in MAC systems. Daimler said that it would not use the chemical in its products. (Earlier post.) Subsequently, a fourth SAE International Cooperative Research Program (CRP) was launched to further analyze the safety of R1234yf. (Earlier post.)
The team from Inha University is proposing an azeotropic mixture—a liquid mixture of two or more substances that retains the same composition in the vapor state as in the liquid state when distilled or partially evaporated under a certain pressure—of R-1234yf and R-134a as a replacement.
In a study, they measured the drop-in performance of R-134a, R-1234yf and R-1234yf/R-134a mixtures at three compositions of 5%, 10%, and 15%. Their test results showed that the COP, capacity, discharge temperature of R-1234yf and R-1234yf/R-134a mixture are similar to those of R-134a. For R-1234yf/R-134a mixture, flammability decreases as more R-134a is added and at compositions of more than 10% of R-134a, the mixture becomes non-flammable.
Since HFO1234yf/HFC134a mixture with 10-11% HFC134a is non-flammable and azeotropic and has no ODP and GWP of less than 150 meeting the requirement of European mobile air-conditioner directive, it can be used as a long term environmentally friendly solution for various HFC134a applications including mobile air-conditioners with minor modifications.
—Lee et al.


At present, Inha University holds the Korean patent on the formulation, but there is no international patent—anyone can use it free outside of Korea, noted Dr. Dongsoo Jung of Inha’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and corresponding author of a paper describing the work.
Resources
Click Here for the original Article: http://www.greencarcongress.com/2012/12/inha-20121213.html
 

Friday, December 14, 2012


  California carbon market faces challenges


Risk.net ‎- 22 hours ago

 
California’s first auction for carbon allowances on November 14 was hailed as a success by state officials. But the fledgling market must survive a barrage of legal challenges before it can truly take off. Alexander Osipovich reports

The past few years have been gloomy for US emissions traders and environmentalists concerned about climate change. But on November 14, they finally had something to celebrate. On that day, California held the inaugural auction of its new cap-and-trade programme, kicking off what promises to develop into the world’s second-largest carbon market after the European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS).

California says it has absorbed the lessons of other cap-and-trade programmes and designed its market to be robust and effective in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. That has stoked cautious optimism among advocates of carbon trading, who were disappointed when federal cap-and-trade legislation stalled in the US Senate in 2010.

“Everybody’s watching what happens in California, not only in the US and Canada, but also around the world, to see how it plays out,” says Fabio Nehme, Houston-based head of environmental products at EDF Trading North America. “If it’s successful, it could have a broad impact beyond the US and Canada. It will export momentum to similar cap-and-trade initiatives in other parts of the world.”

In a free market, leakage is tough to address when you’re sort of an island and standing on your own

But first, California’s experiment will need to survive existing and potential legal challenges. State officials hailed the debut auction as a success, pointing out that it went smoothly and drew interest from dozens of market participants. However, market participants say the result of the auction was marred by a last-minute lawsuit that caused buyers to hesitate, pushing the price of California Carbon Allowances (CCAs) down to rock-bottom levels.

The auction was the first in a series of planned quarterly sales by the Sacramento-based California Air Resources Board (Carb), which oversees the cap-and-trade programme. The central goal is to reduce California’s greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. To accomplish that, Carb has established an emissions cap for the state’s largest polluters and will gradually lower it over three compliance periods, which cover 2013–14, 2015–17 and 2018–20. Companies may comply with the rules by either reducing emissions or purchasing CCAs. These represent one tonne of carbon dioxide equivalents and must be surrendered annually beginning in November 2014.

Results of the first auction, which Carb released on November 19, surprised some market participants. Despite the fact that the auction for 2013 CCAs was more than three times oversubscribed, indicating healthy demand, they cleared at a price of $10.09, just nine cents above a $10 floor price established by Carb. Traders in the forward market had expected the price to be closer to $12, according to carbon market analysis firm Thomson Reuters Point Carbon. One reason for that dislocation, say analysts and market participants, was a lawsuit filed just one day before the auction by the California Chamber of Commerce, a Sacramento-based business lobby. The November 13 lawsuit challenges Carb’s right to auction CCAs and characterises the programme as an unlawful tax.

“[It] may have caused some parties to pause, if they thought that the whole programme could be deemed unlawful,” says Steven Kelly, director of policy at the Sacramento-based Independent Energy Producers Association (IEPA), a trade group representing independent energy producers and power marketers. If the programme is struck down by a court ruling several months from now, companies might find they have spent millions of dollars on CCAs that are now worthless, he notes. “It’s not really clear that they would get their money back,” says Kelly.

Pay as you pollute

The crux of the lawsuit is Carb’s plan for polluters to buy a portion of the CCAs they require, rather than giving 100% of the allowances away for free. During the first compliance period, large industrial firms such as oil refineries will receive free allowances representing an average of 90% of their emissions, but they are required to buy the rest, either at auction or in the secondary market. Moreover, Carb says that in future compliance periods it will reduce the proportion of allowances given away for free. Since Carb has also imposed a $10 floor price for each CCA, companies may find themselves shelling out significant amounts of money for the allowances they need, which has led to some grumbling the auctions are really a money-raising scheme for the cash-strapped state government in Sacramento. Indeed, the November 13 lawsuit notes that the state governor’s 2012–13 budget “assumes that $500 million from [Carb’s] auction can be used to offset general fund costs”.

The Chamber’s lawsuit reflects worries by energy companies that California’s cap-and-trade programme will saddle them with stiff compliance costs. “We believe the goals of the programme can be met without an auction process,” says Chris Chandler, manager of a Los Angeles refinery owned by US downstream firm Phillips 66. “In an economy that has over 10% unemployment, you have to ask, can California manufacturing afford to pay what will eventually be billions of dollars to the state just to stay in business?”

Carb denies that its aims are to raise money for the state, insisting that its auctions have been designed to make CCAs a scarce commodity with genuine value. Some emissions traders agree. “While Carb is taking some well-advised measures to allocate carbon allowances for free when necessary, their decision to sell a significant portion of them and make sure they have a dollar value from the get-go will help ensure their programme is real and has more bite,” says Jonathan Burnston, manager for environmental markets at Karbone, a New York-based brokerage firm.

Though the lawsuit attracted a great deal of attention, it has a “low probability of success”, says Kevin Poloncarz, a San Francisco-based partner in the environmental and energy practice of law firm Paul Hastings. According to Poloncarz, California’s cap-and-trade programme faces a much more serious threat: a potential lawsuit arguing that Carb is violating the US constitution, which grants the federal government the power to regulate interstate commerce and limits the ability of states to regulate economic activity outside of their borders.

The key issue in such a lawsuit would be Carb’s efforts to stop leakage, the phenomenon in which cap-and-trade programmes can cause emissions to shift to different jurisdictions.

But even those sympathetic to the goals of Carb’s programme see that as a difficult challenge for the agency to tackle.

“In a free market, leakage is tough to address when you’re sort of an island and standing on your own,” says Gary Hart, Alabama-based senior market analyst at brokerage Icap Energy. “It’s kind of hard to put up walls at the border.”

California imports much of its electricity from other US states, with the level of imported electricity standing at about 30% in 2011, according to state government statistics. Consequently, Carb crafted the cap-and-trade programme to account for the emissions of out-of-state generators in an attempt to ensure it doesn’t lead to greater emissions from power plants elsewhere. That led to a complex set of rules applying to “first deliverers of electricity” – companies in California that receive power from sources outside the state. Under those rules, first deliverers must account for the greenhouse gas emissions of power sources located outside California and comply with the cap-and-trade scheme accordingly. They are also prohibited from resource shuffling – or making changes that reduce the emissions reportable to Carb, but do not actually lower the total level of emissions they produce. This could involve modifying power purchase agreements so that electricity from a wind farm is routed into California, for example, while electricity from a coal-fired power plant is redirected into Nevada instead.

Boundary dispute

These rules have come under fire from energy firms based outside of California, with lawyers warning they could be challenged on the grounds that Carb is reaching beyond its jurisdiction. While there are persistent rumours that such a legal challenge is in the works, no lawsuits had been filed at the time Energy Risk went to press. Nonetheless, if a legal challenge succeeded on those grounds, it would be a serious blow to California’s efforts – with Poloncarz at Paul Hastings suggesting it would require a major rewrite of the current regulations.

Carb says it is ready to fight back if such a lawsuit emerges. “We have been very careful in how we’ve structured this programme and we really think that it will stand up to any legal challenge,” says a Sacramento-based spokesman at Carb.

If California’s programme survives, carbon traders are hopeful it will create a robust market that can serve as a model for other cap-and-trade schemes. “Carb has been thoughtful and careful in designing this programme, taking into account the lessons learned from cap-and-trade programmes developed elsewhere in order to avoid similar difficulties,” says Nehme of EDF Trading North America.

One aspect of California’s programme that has won praise from traders is its framework for emissions reporting, which was designed to avoid the problems that initially plagued the EU ETS. Launched in 2005, the European scheme saw prices for allowances crash more than 50% in April 2006 after the release of the first EU-verified emissions data, which showed regulators had hugely over-allocated allowances when launching the ETS. In contrast, California issued guidelines for reporting emissions in 2008 and has been collecting annual emissions data from firms ever since, boosting confidence in the structure of the market.

“We have a pretty accurate inventory that gives us a good idea, facility-by-facility [and] sector-by-sector, of what we’re dealing with,” says the Carb spokesman. “We learned from the EU, because when they launched they didn’t have a lot of the verification in place.”

Another way in which California has learned the lessons of other cap-and-trade programmes is in its handling of carbon offsets – or projects designed to mitigate emissions. The world’s leading carbon offset market, the United Nations’ Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), has been criticised for providing offsets to schemes that do not actually reduce overall emissions, as well as its bureaucratic process for approving new projects. To avoid similar problems, Carb has agreed to partner with offset registries, such as the Los Angeles-based Climate Action Reserve, which are expected to be far more efficient than the CDM. Carb has also imposed rules requiring third-party verification of offset projects to ensure they are achieving genuine emissions reductions.

Despite this, Carb’s approach to offsets has been criticised by industry groups. Under the rules, companies can only satisfy 8% of their compliance mandates through the use of California Carbon Offsets (CCOs), while the rest must be satisfied through CCAs. In addition, Carb has only approved four protocols for offset projects to date, leading to concern there could be a shortfall of CCO supply. Since offsets help to hold down the price of allowances, this has led energy companies to worry that an offset shortage could add to already significant compliance costs.

“We are big supporters of offsets,” says Catherine Reheis-Boyd, president of the Western States Petroleum Association, a Sacramento-based trade group. “They are a very good way to minimise costs in complying and we believe that the 8% cap should be escalated dramatically and more protocols should be issued as soon as possible.”

California’s push to create a cap-and-trade programme was initially part of an even grander experiment to create a regional carbon market. That was the idea behind the Western Climate Initiative (WCI), a consortium of US states and Canadian provinces created in 2007. But the WCI did not live up to these expectations. The six other US states in the body eventually left, amid a difficult political environment for supporters of cap-and-trade programmes. That left California as the lone US member, together with British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec. Currently, California and Quebec are looking to harmonise their rules in an attempt to link their markets – something Carb expects to happen in 2013.

Whether more linkages take place, and whether California can help inspire carbon markets elsewhere in the world, depends on whether the programme survives its initial challenges. In the meantime, Kelly at IEPA says the spectre of legal action will inevitably create uncertainty for market participants. “It creates problems, obviously, for electric generators and industrial guys trying to figure out what to do,” he says. “So hopefully we can get these litigation issues resolved… as quickly as possible, and can move on from there


Original article can be found at www.Risk.net

California Carbon Rises to Eight-Week High After Quebec Votes

Bloomberg

By Lynn Doan - Dec 13, 2012

California carbon futures rose to the highest price in almost two months after Quebec approved changes to allow links between their cap-and-trade systems.

Carbon markets in Quebec and California will be connected next spring, and their governments will hold the first joint auction of carbon allowances in August, Yves-Fran├žois Blanchet, Quebec’s minister of sustainable development, environment, wildlife and parks, said in a statement on his agency’s website.

“Quebec’s action sets the stage to link our two emissions-trading programs to provide a model that other states and provinces can join,” Mary Nichols, chairman of the California Air Resources Board, said in a statement on her agency’s website.

The board voted in June to delay a decision on aligning with Quebec’s carbon system after a bill was signed into law requiring approval from the governor. The agency will now request the governor’s review, Nichols said today. Should the programs come together, companies could use carbon permits issued as part of Quebec’s cap-and-trade program to comply with emission limits in California, which will start the world’s second-largest carbon market on Jan. 1.

Futures based on California carbon allowances for 2013 advanced 30 cents to $13.75 a metric ton, the highest since Oct. 19, according to data compiled by CME Group Inc. (CME)’s Green Exchange.

Under California’s program, the state will cap carbon emissions from power generators, oil refineries and other industrial plants and cut that limit gradually to reduce emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Companies bound by the cap can sell allowances to other emitters and investors. The state plans eventually to regulate 85 percent of the greenhouse gasesreleased in California.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lynn Doan in San Francisco at ldoan6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at dstets@bloomberg.net

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Beyond or Beside HFCs

The Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration NEWS VOL.247 NO.14

By Peter Powell

December 3, 2012
 
My column in the Nov. 12 issue of The NEWS focused on HFCs, especially low GWP HFCs as retrofits for R-22 systems. This column will focus on what I used to call “beyond HFC” refrigerants, although these days, the term might be “other than HFC” refrigerants.
Let’s look at the refrigerant options now available or soon to come and then how they factor into the HFC picture.

Refrigerant Options
First, consider ammonia beyond its industrial applications. It appears to be entering the commercial sector. Trade associations like the International Institute of Ammonia Refrigeration have long advocated its value in commercial. That was noted in papers at IIAR’s conference this past spring. And a report from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) GreenChill Advanced Refrigeration Partnership announced that a supermarket with ammonia as part of its refrigeration system would be coming on line in the near future.
The next — and by far the highest profile for several years — non-f-gas refrigerant has been CO2. No other refrigerant has generated as many case histories and glowing testimonies coming into my email box. And this past year, The NEWS has reported extensively about the technology in both cascade and transcritical applications. It is that latter approach that is causing wider use of CO2. At the same time, it is a refrigerant not all that familiar to those who typically work with HCFCs and HFCs. In fact, it is not a manufactured refrigerant; it is naturally occurring. How it is captured, packaged, and distributed for use in mechanical refrigeration systems has typically taken place outside the HVACR wholesaling network. And there is a learning curve for technicians, and there may be certain zoning and code issues depending on where it might be used.
HCs got a boost in 2012 with EPA SNAP approval for some HCs in some applications. It didn’t open a floodgate of places to use it, but it is a start. Part of the acceptance relates, again, to codes and zoning laws as well as liabilities and available equipment. One recurring theme I heard from contractors is that they would be willing to work with HCs — if equipment and warranties are in place and if it is allowed by municipalities.
HFOs are refrigerants being developed by several refrigerant manufacturers who traditionally have developed CFCs, HCFCs, and HFCs. One HFO — 1234yf — got a bit of pushback in 2012 when one automotive manufacturer balked at using it in auto a/c in place of HFC-134a, which was supposed to be facing phaseout in automotive in Europe. The question raised by the end users over safety of the yf was countered by the refrigerant manufacturers who said there was not a safety issue.
That same safety issue does not appear to be a factor on the stationary side since automotive and stationary systems are so different. HFOs do carry an A2L safety rating (which means slightly flammable) although advocates say it would take some doing to create a spark that could cause a problem. Work continues on a wide variety of HFOs in stationary applications and they have remained refrigerants high on the radar screen at the biennial HVACR-related conferences at Purdue University. They were discussed in 2010 and even more so in 2012.

Refrigerant Variety
CO2, HCs, HFOs, and ammonia seem to be gaining more and more attention in commercial refrigeration in North America. They seem to be doing so regardless of the future of HFCs. Whether growth is due to fears of possible phasedowns in HFC production or just because they are proving to be viable ways to create refrigeration is unclear.
But what is clear to refrigeration contractors is that CO2, HCs, HFOs and ammonia merit attention. If an installing contractor is no longer around and end users call you to work on their systems, it would be best to ask a lot about the system — including the refrigerant. How much you know about a wide variety of refrigerants may be a factor in getting more jobs in the future.

Publication date: 12/3/2012
Peter Powell is Refrigeration Editor. E-mail him at peterpowell@achrnews.com.
 

Retrofit Away From R-22

The Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration NEWS VOL.247 NO.14

December 3, 2012

a warehouse-type food store in California
A real-world example of a retrofit of an R-22 system with an HFC was a warehouse-type food store in California.
Two recent projects demonstrated successful retrofitting of HFC refrigerants into existing HCFC-22 systems. These projects, which were highlighted by Arkema, detail the processes with regard to HFC-427A in refrigeration and air conditioning applications.
Refrigeration
In one project, a warehouse-type food store in California underwent the retrofit. According to the case history, Tim Grant, HVACR engineering supervisor for Fiesta Foods, was looking for an HFC with easy retrofit, good performance, and low GWP for 10 food warehouse stores.
The retrofit was first tested at one store. The HFC was retrofitted into systems operating at -25˚F, 15˚, and 25˚ with a total of 12 compressors and racks divided among three suction groups with two receivers. The compressors used alkyl benzene (AB) oil and that oil remained in the system following the retrofit.
The retrofit was done by store mechanical refrigeration technicians. No components were changed during the retrofit, except for the filter driers. Some minor settling adjustments were made to the TXV and controls to optimize the system.
According to those involved in the project, the refrigeration racks reached their set temperatures quickly after the retrofit thus avoiding downtime or food spoilage. Operating pressures were similar with the HFC as with R-22. In addition, compressor discharge temperatures were reduced after the retrofit and compressors were said to run cooler than before.

Air Conditioning
On the air conditioning side, R-427A was used to retrofit the air conditioning unit for Solar Supply’s warehouse office in Lake Charles, La. The company is an HVACR wholesaler. One reason for the project was for the company to have firsthand experience with the refrigerant in a retrofit application.
According to the case history, Brent Miller’s Heating and A/C performed the retrofit with the refrigerant manufacturer’s technical service personnel on site for support.
The system consisted of a 3.5-ton heat pump, utilizing an orifice as the expansion device. The air handler was connected to the rooftop-mounted condensing unit with a 10-foot vertical riser.
Initial readings were taken in the morning to verify system performance with R-22 before the original refrigerant charge was recovered. The filter drier and the Schrader valve caps and cores were replaced. A deep vacuum was drawn before recharging with the HFC. Charge weight of the HFC was optimized and readings were taken to compare to R-22’s system performance.
According to the case history, the system operated as expected with no significant differences in system performance observed. Office temperatures were considered comfortable. Operating pressures of the HFC closely matched those of R-22 while the compressor ran at lower amps and discharge temperatures.
Publication date: 12/3/2012

Click here for Original Article: http://www.achrnews.com/articles/121530-retrofit-away-from-r-22

Retrofit Round-up: Plenty of Options

The Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration NEWS VOL.247 NO.14

By Peter Powell

December 3, 2012
 
an HFC refrigerant retrofit option
Here is one the HFC refrigerants being offered as a retrofit option for use in R-22 systems.
Because no one HFC refrigerant can be retrofitted efficiently into the entire range of R-22 equipment, a wide and sometimes changing variety of HFCs have entered the market. The NEWS contacted a number of refrigerant manufacturers asking them to discuss some of their most popular HFCs for R-22 retrofits, the range of applications, and servicing tips.
While this can provide a guideline, The NEWS urges readers to contact refrigerant manufacturers directly to discuss the specific R-22 system being considered for retrofit and what HFC refrigerants might best work in such applications. This listing is in alphanumerical order according to ASHRAE designations.

R-407A
Gus Rolotti, technical marketing director of Arkema’s North American fluorochemicals business, described R-407A as a refrigerant for low- and medium-temp refrigeration. “Both R-407A and R-407C are well proven in the industry and provide good performance coupled with a lower GWP. They require the use of a POE oil.” Because of that, there needs to be a changeout of the mineral oil in an existing R-22 system.
Noted Rolotti, “First, fix any leaks and identify components that may need to be replaced or fixed. Recover the R-22 completely, repair/replace any components as identified earlier and pull the system into a deep vacuum. Remove the required amount of mineral oil either by flushing with an external agent or using the R-22 from the system. Once most of the mineral oil is removed, replace it with POE oil and pull the system into a deep vacuum again. Refill with the appropriate amount of the retrofit refrigerant and run the system to set up controls and operating conditions. It is recommended that the filter drier is always replaced when the system is opened to ensure that there is fresh desiccant available to dry the system.”

R-407C
Arkema’s Rolotti considers R-407C a choice for air conditioning. Retrofit procedures are similar to those with R-407A refrigerant.
In his comments regarding R-407C, Ron Vogl, technical marketing manager for Honeywell Refrigerants, described it as a choice for residential and light commercial a/c applications. The retrofit process for R-407C, he said, involves recovering R-22. Then, regarding oil, Vogl said, “POE is recommended. If existing MO is used, the addition of some POE to the system is required for proper oil return.” The use of the refrigerant requires a minimum of 20 percent POE for close-coupled a/c systems with no liquid receivers. No TXV change required, but minor adjustments may be needed. Replace any O-rings, seals, and other elastomers used in the system. In most air conditioning and heat pump systems this only applies to the Schrader valve seal and cap seal material. The next step is to evacuate and recharge. (Pounds of 407C = pounds of original refrigerant x 70.6 divided by 73.9.) Then adjust system safety and operating controls; label system indicating refrigerant and charged lubricant.

R-407F
According to information supplied by Honeywell, R-407F is for retrofits involving medium- and low-temperature refrigeration applications (supermarkets, cold storage, and process refrigeration); direct expansion system design only.
The retrofit process involves the following: recovering R-22; one compressor oil change (POE required), use synthetic lubricant as specified by the compressor manufacturer; no TXV change or adjustments; elastomeric O-ring replacement; change liquid line filter driers, suction filters and oil system filters if present; evacuate and recharge (pounds of 407F = pounds of original refrigerant x 69.2 divided by 73.9); adjust system safety and operating controls; label system indicating refrigerant and charged lubricant.

R-421A
Will Gresham, national sales manager of Dynatemp International, said R-421A “has only two components, requires no oil changes, and contains no hydrocarbons.” Its application range, he said, is “air conditioning split systems, heat pumps, supermarket pak systems, dairy chillers, reach-in storage, bakery applications, refrigerated transport, self-contained display cabinets, and walk-in coolers.”
To retrofit, he said, “In order to have a baseline comparison of the system after the retrofit, an initial evaluation of the system’s operational characteristics should be recorded. The next step is to completely evacuate R-22 from the system and change the liquid line filter driers. Noting that an oil change from MO to POE is not required, the final step is to charge and label the unit with R-421A, taking into account the manufacturer’s recommended R-22 charge and the desired operational characteristics, e.g., superheat/subcooling.”

R-422B
R-422B, according to Gordon McKinney, vice president and COO of ICOR International, is for low-, medium- and high-temperature applications. It is being used, he said, “in direct expansion applications ranging from residential a/c and commercial a/c to industrial process cooling.” He added that because it is a zeotrope, it is not recommended for use in flooded applications. He said that R-422B’s “efficiency difference from R-22 will depend on the system. Testing has showed a 5 percent decrease in current, 10 percent lower discharge temperature, and a 1 percent increase in WB/DB evaporator temperature in air conditioning. In refrigeration, R-422B’s compressor run time will be longer, a 0˚F SET/110˚ SCT may have a 20 percent longer run time; a 25˚ SET/110˚ SCT may have 15 percent longer run time.”
The conversion process involves recording pre-conversion data; recovering 100 percent of the R-22 refrigerant in accordance with EPA guidelines; installing a new filter drier; leak checking the system; evacuating system to a minimum 500 microns; initially charging the system with 95 percent of the existing charge; removing liquid only from the R-422B cylinder; running the system to check subcooling and/or superheat; properly labeling system, and recording post conversion data. Critical seals (elastomers) may need to be replaced.

R-422C
This refrigerant is for medium- and low-temperature applications, said ICOR’s McKinney. “We have seen kW-usage to be as much as 30 percent lower and system Btu capacity to be higher.”
The retrofit process is the same as for R-422B. McKinney did say regarding R-422C that the TXV power element will need to be changed to a 404A/507A element and critical seals (elastomers) may need to be replaced.

R-422D
R-422D “has higher efficiency and capacity versus R-22 for low-temp applications, and is mineral oil compatible,” said Joyce Wallace, North America marketing manager, DuPont Refrigerants. “It can be used in low- and medium-temperature applications. The high mass flow rate makes it unsuitable for air conditioning applications due to the component changes that must be completed.”
Honeywell’s Vogl said R-422D is a “near drop-in for residential and light commercial a/c application.”
The retrofit process is as follows: recover R-22; no oil change or TXV change in most installations; replace filter drier; replace elastomeric seals and Schrader valve; evacuate and recharge (pounds of 422D = pounds of original refrigerant x 70.9 divided by 73.9); label system indicating refrigerant and charged lubricant.

R-424A
R-424A, according to ComStar International’s Steve Mella, is said to work with MO, AB, and POE oils with air conditioning as well as medium-temp refrigeration temperature ranges of 20 to 50˚F. He said air conditioning applications include rooftops, splits, window, heat pumps, plate-type and tube-in-type heat exchangers, and non-flooded chillers. Refrigeration applications include walk-in coolers, beverage coolers, and display cases. It works with TXVs, cap tubes, and fixed orifice devices.
Retrofit procedures include collecting baseline data, recovery of R-22, evacuation to 500 microns, liquid charge to 90 percent then add as needed, adjust superheat on TXV, adjust pressure controls, and check SST and SCT. Following the retrofit, service techs should expect suction pressure to be 10 to 15 psig lower and discharge pressure to be 20 to 25 psig lower.

R-427A
Arkema’s Rolotti said R-427A is “a hybrid blend for both air conditioning and refrigeration applications. R-427A mirrors R-22’s operating pressures, allowing it to be used in a wide range of systems and has a high tolerance to mineral oil. Its performance would be slightly below that of R-407A or R-407C in their particular applications, but would perform adequately in most cases while allowing for a retrofit that does not require all the mineral oil to be removed.”

R-434A
ComStar’s Mella said R-434A applications include “water cooled and process chillers for air conditioning and MT and LT refrigeration such as with coolers, freezers, display cases, and ice machines in the -40 to +50 degree range.” It works with TXVs. It is also suitable for and is operating successfully in flooded systems, said Mella. The retrofit procedures, efficiency changes, and service aspects are similar to R-424A.

R-438A
According to Wallace of DuPont, R-438A “combines R-22 pressure-enthalpy characteristics with mineral oil compatibility in an HFC refrigerant that can be used in R-22 replacement over a wide range of evaporator temperatures. It matches R-22 in terms of capacity and efficiency in most systems, but with a significantly lower discharge temperature, which may prolong the life of the compressor. It’s compatible with all lubricants. It is used in low-, medium-, and high-temperature applications but is seeing the most usage in air conditioning applications.”
To retrofit: Consult retrofit guidelines, check baseline R-22 performance, remove R-22 from the system, replace filter drier, replace Schrader valve core seals, pull vacuum on system, charge system with R-438A, and label system.

Publication date: 12/3/2012
Peter Powell is Refrigeration Editor. E-mail him at peterpowell@achrnews.com.
 

Retrofitting with HFCs

The Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration NEWS VOL.247 NO.14

December 3, 2012
using HFC for retrofit into a R-22 system
The year 2012 began with uncertainty over supplies of virgin HCFC-22 due to proposed Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) production allowances. And even though the year is nearing the end without a final allowance number, the industry has been working all along with a “worst-case scenario” production number.
So, more than ever, the industry has been looking for alternatives to R-22 to keep the huge existing base of R-22 equipment up and running. More reclamation has been one option. But at the same time, attention is being paid to a large number of HFC refrigerants that can be retrofitted into R-22 equipment.

The Facts
Early in 2012, the EPA “proposed to significantly reduce allowances to produce and/or import virgin R-22 ranging from 11-47 percent per year over the period 2012-2014 for servicing existing R-22 equipment,” according to a statement from DuPont. The company said, “In the absence of a final rule for 2012, the EPA issued an Assurance of No Action letter in January which gave the EPA authority to implement the maximum reductions for 2012. Either the final rule or another Assurance of No Action letter will need to be issued for 2013.”
So the math is simple: Around 100 million pounds of virgin R-22 was produced in 2011. Expect about 55 million pounds in 2012 and significant reductions through 2014.
HCFCs are being phased out because of issues with ozone depletion potential (ODP). It is happening internationally in most countries at a much faster pace than in the United States.
The fact that the phaseout of R-22 is taking place globally caused Bitzer to state in a recent report, “Due to this situation, enormous consequences result for the whole refrigeration and air conditioning trade. Therefore close cooperation exists with scientific institutions, the refrigeration and oil industries, component manufacturers as well as a number of innovative refrigeration and air conditioning companies” to address the changes taking place. One part of that is HFCs as retrofit refrigerants.
HFCs do not have the ODP issue and are at present not subject to any official phasedown directives. Thus, they have caught the eye of manufacturers, contractors, and end users as a way to keep existing R-22 systems running without R-22.

A Cautionary Tale
But there are challenges in doing so. According to Will Gresham, national sales manager for Dynatemp International, “When retrofitting an R-22 system with any HFC refrigerant, the technician must be acutely aware of the system’s operational characteristics before the retrofit. R-22 systems were designed and developed to perform ideally with R-22, and measures must be taken to ensure the system achieves maximum efficiency with a refrigerant that is not R-22.
“Every R-22 retrofit is unique, with some systems needing little to no change to achieve the desired operational characteristics, while some may need additional modifications, such as changing the orifice or TXV size to achieve the same efficiency.
“Any time a retrofit is called for, it is only prudent that a technician take the unique characteristics and performance of each system into account.”

Narrow Ranges
One important aspect regarding HFC retrofit refrigerants is that “no one refrigerant can replace R-22 best in its (R-22’s) entire application range, so we have alternatives depending on the intended application,” said Gus Rolotti, technical marketing director of Arkema’s North American fluorochemicals business.
In general, noted Rajan Rajendran, vice president of engineering services and sustainability for Emerson Climate Technologies, “One has to be careful retrofitting HFCs into HCFC systems — components, oils, etc., all need to be looked at carefully.”

System Performance
System performance is another issue contractors need to factor into their choices.
Jeff Staub, application engineering manager of Danfoss, said, “Based on the choice of refrigerant, there can be a loss in system capacity which could directly affect the system resulting in a lack of cooling for products or buildings. There could be a significant loss in efficiency which could negatively affect utility bills for an end user.
“However, if a proper system evaluation is performed and considerations are taken to ensure the continued reliability of the system, then retrofitting should be seen as a viable alternative to the use of HCFC in refrigeration applications.”
According to Ron Vogl, technical marketing manager for Honeywell Refrigerants, “Generally speaking, one can see system improvements after a retrofit as a result of recommissioning the equipment. These performance improvements are the result of properly setting up the controls and system operating valves such as thermal expansion controls, which may have wandered from setpoint due to lack of maintenance, etc.
“For proper performance, it is a must to evaluate the head pressure management controls (if present) during the retrofit. Setting up the evaporator operating pressure and the system’s condensing pressures for the selected replacements specific pressure temperature relationship is imperative. Leaving R-22 setpoints will lead to subpar performance and/or increased energy consumption.
“The technician must be aware that all new HFC substitutes for R-22 are blends and possess glide. The technician must get comfortable with terms such as bubble and dew and know where to apply these values.”

Publication date: 12/3/2012
Peter Powell is Refrigeration Editor. E-mail him at peterpowell@achrnews.com.