In 1987 the Montreal Protocol, an International environmental agreement, established requirements that began the worldwide phase out of ozone-depleting CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons).
In 1992 it was amended to establish a schedule for the phase out of HCFCs (hydrochlorofluorocarbons). HCFCs are less damaging to the ozone layer than CFCs, but still contain ozone-destroying chlorine.
The Montreal Protocol is carried out in the U.S. through Title VI of the Clean Air Act, which is implemented by EPA.
HCFC-22 (also know as R-22) has been the refrigerant of choice for industrial process chillers for more than four decades.
Unfortunately for the environment, releases of R-22, such as those from leaks, contribute to ozone depletion.
In addition, R-22 is a greenhouse gas and the manufacture of R-22 results in a by-product (HFC-23) that contributes to global warming.
As the manufacture of R-22 is phased out over the coming years as part of the agreement to end production of HCFCs, manufacturers of industrial process chiller systems are offering equipment that uses ozone-friendly refrigerants.
As part of the Montreal Protocol, effective January 1, 2010, Advantage and other industrial process chiller manufacturers no longer build equipment using HCFC-22 (R-22) refrigerant.
More and more process chilling equipment is being built using HFC-410A (R-410A) since R-22 can no longer be used.
R-410A is highly efficient nearly azeotropic mixture (gases evaporate at nearly the same temperatures) of two gasses ideally suited for replacing R-22 in scroll compressor packages.
R-410A will not damage the ozone.
R-410A has a significantly higher vapor pressure than R-22.
The condensing pressure of R-410A at standard conditions for water-cooled chillers is about 340 psi and approximately 390 psi for air-cooled chillers.
This is slightly higher than high-pressure safety shut-off settings for R-22.
This pressure far exceeds the pressure rating of the components previously used on R-22 systems.
Contractors and technicians need to know that R-410A can only be used in equipment designed for R-410A.
It cannot be used to retrofit existing R-22 equipment due to significantly higher operating pressures.
Furthermore, special service equipment is required, such as a high pressure manifold gauge set, a high-pressure recovery unit, and high pressure recovery tanks.
Where can I buy R-410A?
All authorized refrigerant distributors should have access to 410A.
What about the brands of R-410A?
Puron and Suva 410A are marketing brands for ASHRAE R-410A. Puron is Carrier Corp’s brand name and Suva 410A is the DuPont brand name. Both have the same chemical composition and can be used interchangeably.
Can R-410A be used to retrofit existing R-22 equipment?
No. Because of the much higher discharge pressure and cooling capacity, R-410A should only be used in equipment designed for it.
Do I need different service tools to work on R-410A systems?
Yes. Because of the higher pressure, you should use manifold gauge sets designed for R-410A. In addition, you should use a recovery unit and tanks designed for the higher pressure of R-410A.
What type of lubricant should be used with R-410A?
Use a high-quality POE (polyolester) specified by the compressor or system OEM.
Will R-410A systems have different components than R-22 systems?
Yes. Because of the higher pressure for R-410A, most system components have been designed with increase thickness. In addition, expansion valves specifically designed for R-410A capacity should be used.
Is R-410A a blended refrigerant?
Yes. It is a blend of two refrigerants, HFC-32 and HCF-125 (50/50 vt%), that performs very much like a single-component refrigerant.
How should I charge R-410A?
For optimum performance, R-410A should be removed from the cylinder as a liquid.
Do I need to replace my current industrial process cooling systems that use R-22?
No, R-22 is still available for servicing existing equipment. Chemical manufacturers will be able to produce new R-22 in limited quantities until 2020. Recovered and recycled R-22 is available now and beyond 2020.