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R32 in VRVs and VRFs still 'years away' says Daikin

Daikin expert says they will not ‘rush into’ mildly flammable refrigerant in complex AC systems

Daikin has moved to quell press speculation that it will imminently offer R32 in its VRV systems.

Speaking at RAC’s F-Gas Question Time, Daikin UK legal specialist Graham Wright confirmed that products using the mildly flammable refrigerant would be limited to split systems initially. He said that the more complex systems would not be converted to R32 unitl the installer community was comfortable with the refrigerant, and after the revised EN378 standards had been published, making it acceptable to end-users from a legal standpoint.

At Daikin’s meeting for its top-level D1 partners last week, a poll of the installers showed 77 per cent were happy to start using mildly flammable refrigerants, although over half said they hadnt had specific training with them yet.

The first R32 installation in the UK was undertaken by D1 installer Young Air Conditioning in Malvern last year and Daikin launched its R32 Emura range of splits at the beginning of 2016.

EN378 is expected to be published in October this year, containing new maximum charge size calculations for all forms of refrigerant, taking into account both toxicity and flammability. Mr Wright said that that Daikin’s approach would be to  simplify the EN378 charge calculating process by making the calculaions app-based, and that apps for this purpose are currently under development.

Mr Wright said that that EN378 would be a watershed for those working with mildly flammables, bringing confidence to the end-user and allowing countries whose building standards depended on the EN standard, such as France, Italy and Spain, to specify the refrigerants.

Earlier this month Toshiba announced it would be launching an R32 range of residential wall-mounted split units at the end of May. The Mirai range will be available in capacities from 1.5 to 4.5 kW.

Wholesaler Climate Center is now stocking R32 in all of its 45 branches nationwide. From 2025 any gas with a GWP higher than 750 will be banned in new split air conditioning systems.R32 is a single component, zero ODP gas with a GWP of 675, significantly less than R410A, which has a GWP of 2088.

Climate Center notes the use of R32 will lead to a reduction of refrigerant charge of up to 30%. This means that heat exchangers and components can be made smaller resulting in more compact systems.

The firm said: ”At present gauges, manifolds, leak detectors and recovery equipment suitable for R32 have been available however no other wholesalers have been able to offer R32 refrigerant off the shelf.”

Robert Franklin, National Development Director at Climate Center, said: “Climate Center is committed to distributing lower GWP refrigerants, however new legislation has inevitably conjured up concern across the industry in terms of how it will affect businesses. We have been working extensively to ensure that it has minimal impact on our customers by making sure they are up to date with F-Gas regulations and have the resources to comply.”

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