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WASHINGTON — In support of the Obama administration’s Climate Action Plan, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced that its Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program is proposing the addition of hydrocarbon refrigerants for several select HVACR applications.
This proposed action would expand the list of SNAP-approved substitutes to include more low-global warming potential (GWP) alternative refrigerants that can replace both ozone-depleting substances and high-GWP hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).
“Last June, President Obama introduced a broad set of initial steps designed to slow the effects of climate change, including reducing potent greenhouse gases,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “This proposal is a great example of how businesses and EPA can foster innovation by working together to identify refrigerants that better protect our environment.”
After receiving input from industry, environmental groups, and others, EPA said it is proposing to list additional low-GWP hydrocarbon refrigerants in six refrigeration and air conditioning applications: stand-alone commercial and household refrigerators and freezers; very low temperature refrigeration; non-mechanical heat transfer; vending machines; and room air conditioning units. The proposal also adds one lower-GWP HFC (HFC-32) that has just one-third the GWP of the conventional refrigerants currently being used in room air conditioning units. EPA said these refrigerants are already in use in many of these applications in Europe and Asia.
In addition to adding these alternative refrigerants, EPA is also revising the current venting prohibition to account for four of these substitutes, as current evidence suggests that their venting, release, or disposal does not pose a threat to the environment.
EPA will accept comments on the proposal for 60 days following publication in the Federal Register.
For more information about EPA’s SNAP program and the proposal, visit www.epa.gov/ozone/snap/index.html.
Publication date: 6/30/2014