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Mitsubishi Electric UK notes dramatic shift in R32 adoption

Over three quarters of company’s UK sales of RAC and PAC technologies in February 2019 were for R32 systems, reflecting a market shift towards the lower GWP product

Mitsubishi Electric has said that UK demand for RAC and PAC systems has dramatically shifted within the last two years away from use of R410A towards lower GWP R32 refrigerant.

The manufacturer has said that 80 per cent of sales in these segments last month was for technology designed for R32, a product that has a lower level of flammability.

During the same time last year, R32 represented 30 per cent of its RAC and PAC sales, according to Mark Grayston, product marketing manager with Mitsubishi Electric Living Environmental Systems UK.

Ongoing quota restrictions on the amount of CO2 equivalent that manufacturers such as Mitsubishi Electric are able to import to the UK under EU F-Gas regulation has been a key driver in pushing the market towards lower GWP products.

This has proven to be the case even with the low levels of flammability and the subsequent handling challenges that these newer refrigerant products pose that is not present in higher GWP gas.

Mr Grayston said that Mitsubishi Electric’s main focus for R32 products at present was the company’s HVRF technology, where it was in the process of expanding the capacity of outdoor units to between 22kW and 56kW.

He added, “We have already moved the majority of our split systems (between 1.5kW and 14kW) to R32, with further R32 releases to come in 2019.”

Mr Graytson said that changes introduced in the 6th edition of IEC regulation 60335-2-40 would widening the usage envelope for low flammability refrigerant such as R32.

However, he argued that the EN378 safety and environmental standard has not been amended to pick up these changes, meaning some of the challenges to expanding use of the lower flammability refrigerant remained in place.

Mr Graytson said, “With good design and following the manufacturers and regulation guidelines high capacity R32 systems can be designed and installed in most commercial applications. Currently R32 HVRF allows for higher capacity systems to be installed because water is run to each fan coil and therefore we don’t need to deal with refrigerant into the occupied spaces.”

“As consultants and air conditioning installers gain more experience of A2L refrigerants the wider the scope will be for bigger high capacity systems to be released into the UK and European markets.”

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