R32 refrigerant could be used in Daikin air conditioners in the UK within two years following the planned adoption of the A2L flammability class, and subsequent education and installation testing with the supply chain.
International and European standards and building regulations currently limit the use of flammable refrigerants, thus inhibiting the use of R32 in commercial products such as split systems and VRV technology.
But US body ASHRAE’s A2L flammability class, created for ‘slightly flammable’ refrigerants, is shortly to be adopted within EN standards, clearing the way for its use within the EU. This will be followed by a familiarisation process with the installer sector, which should lead to rollouts within the next two years, said Graham Wright, legislation specialist at Daikin.
R32 has a GWP of 675, compared with R410A’s 2,088, and products that use R32 can achieve higher efficiency both in part load and full load conditions compared to equivalent R410A products, he said.
Speaking at the RAC New Refrigerants Question Time, Mr Wright said the process of working with R32 would not be complicated for installers: “In general the installation of an R32 system is very similar to the installation of an R410A system. However, some caution is needed to ensure no flammable mixture of air and refrigerant can occur. To ensure safety on site installer training will become paramount.”
Some tools required for installation or service of R32 systems need to be suitable for the use with the new refrigerant, including gauge manifolds, refrigerant recovery cylinders, recovery devices, refrigerant leak detector and in some cases a cylinder adaptor, he said.
Other installation tools such as charging hose, scale, torque wrench, flare tool, pipe bender and vacuum pump are the same as for R410A.
The company has this week announced that its first air-to-air heat pump system to use R32 refrigerant will be introduced into mainland Europe in Autumn 2013.