HONEYWELL has announced a new non-flammable refrigerant for medium temperature commercial refrigeration applications with a GWP (Global Warming Potentials) below 150.
The arrival of R471A, which Honeywell has dubbed Solstice N71, could provide a solution for end users struggling to comply with new standards, including those in the UK, EU and California that limit refrigerants with a GWP greater than 150 in new systems.
As of January 1 this year, European F-gas regulations prohibit the placing on the market of new airtight commercial refrigerators and freezers using a refrigerant with a GWP of 150 or more. The same prohibition applies to multipack centralized commercial refrigeration systems with a rated capacity of 40 kW or more. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is also reportedly considering similar nationwide regulations that could come into effect in 2024.
Although promoted only for medium temperature applications, the new R471A seeks to provide an answer to many premises in the UK and Europe which strictly prohibit the installation of any equipment containing a flammable substance.
R471A is an A1 blend of the low GWP HFOs R1234ze(E) and R1336mzz(E) (78.7% and 17%, respectively) with 4.3% of the quencher HFC227ea. This combination gives it a GWP of 148.
In a statement, Honeywell said, “The Solstice N71 offers superior eco-efficiency compared to traditional R-404A stores and CO2-based systems, allowing customers to achieve their sustainable goals while using conventional equipment. In particular, Solstice N71 offers significantly higher energy performance in medium temperature applications, with a 13% reduction in energy consumption compared to R-404A and more than 30% energy reduction compared to CO2-based systems according to Honeywell modelling.
R471A has been around for a few years and was first mentioned in Bitzer’s Refrigerant ratio 21 released in 2020. While Honeywell’s latest announcement only mentions its performance against R404A, it was also previously considered a replacement for R134a.
In describing the new gas as an alternative to R134a, the Bitzer report indicates that it has an even lower volumetric refrigeration capacity than R515B – another Honeywell non-flammable A1 refrigerant offered as an alternative by many chiller manufacturers – which had a 20% lower capacity than R515B. R134a but similar energy efficiency.
“The supermarket industry, along with countless other sectors, continues to face ever-changing regulations that make it difficult to maintain performance and sustainability,” said John Keating, vice president and general manager of the Honeywell’s stationary refrigerant business.
“We anticipated this latest transition for refrigerants and are proud to present an innovative next-generation solution that the industry has been missing. Solstice N71 is a revolutionary refrigerant that provides grocers with a low-GWP and operationally safe solution, enabling our customers to reduce their carbon footprint and comply with new regulations.