Residential refrigerators using HCR-188C1, with Zero Global Warming Potential (GWP) and a Zero Ozone-Depletion rating, will soon be assembled and sold in the United States, according to ComStar International and A.S. Trust & Holding. The companies have come to an agreement to manufacture, market, and distribute the hydrocarbon refrigerant.
The refrigerant – the first hydrocarbon refrigerant approved by the EPA for sale in the United States - is a patented blend of ethane, propane, butane, and other hydrocarbons.. The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has listed HCR188C1 as non-toxic. The refrigerant is also listed with ETL (Intertek). The refrigerant was designed to serve as a replacement for chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). It will soon be in the public comment stage as solicited by ASHRAE; results are expected by October for a final SNAP ruling to list the coolant as an approved alternative refrigerant for use in household refrigerators and stand-alone freezers.
ComStar and A.S. Trust & Holding had Intertek Testing Services NA test HCR188C1, and say the test results have “shown it to display properties superior to R-134a,” the HFC often used today as a refrigerant in refrigerators, freezers, and air-conditioners. Refrigerators running with HCR-188C1 showed a 48% decrease in power consumption when compared to the same units operating with R134a. This was achieved using a 25% (by volume) of the normal charge of R134a or 40% of a normal charge of R22. The coolant operates effectively in equipment containing mineral oil and can be used as a direct replacement in appliances and air-conditioning systems designed for R134a and R22.
Though flammable, the suppliers say, the small amount of this refrigerant required in such systems 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.
The refrigerant will be blended at ComStar’s Houston, TX facility.
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