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U.S.-Manufactured Fridge Will Use R-441A Refrigerant
Nov 19, 2010
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A.S. Trust & Holdings is finalizing energy reduction efforts on the Climate Friendly 188 residential refrigerator, which will use a proprietary hydrocarbon-blend refrigerant called HCR-188C1. The refrigerant will be blended at ComStar International's Houston, TX facility and manufacturing of the 21-cu-ft home refrigerator/freezer is also expected to within the United States.

As reported by ApplianceMagazine.com (July 21, 2010), the HCR-188C1 refrigerant was certified by testing agency Intertek as having zero global warming potential (GWP) and zero ozone depletion potential. A.S. Trust & Holdings expects the refrigerant will receive the official designation "R-441A" in January 2011 at the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) annual meeting.

The refrigerant is said to be the first hydrocarbon refrigerant approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for sale in the United States. The blend is designed to replace hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) R-134, which has been commonly used in refrigeration applications since the 1990s. HFC-134a use is being phased-out in most appliance applications due its high GWP. A.S. Trust estimates that the refrigerant charge of HCR188C1, at 37 grams, will be about 25% of the amount of R-134 by volume.

The refrigerant is a patented blend of ethane, propane, butane, and other hydrocarbons. ASHRAE has listed HCR188C1 as non-toxic.

ComStar and A.S. Trust said that Intertek test results show it to display properties "superior to R-134a.” Refrigerators running with HCR-188C1 showed a 48% decrease in power consumption when compared to the same units operating with R-134a. Though flammable, the suppliers said, the small amount of the refrigerant required residential appliances presents very little risk. In addition, A.S. Trust & Holding holds a patent on a Refrigerant Safety Service Port Valve that could be used on larger systems to shut down the system when there is a drop in operating pressure.

Future product plans include room air-conditioners using the new refrigerant.

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