COLLEGE POINT, N.Y. - Hydrocarbon (HC) refrigerants are demonstrating their continuing inroads into the North American HVACR market with the announcement that ComStar International and A.S. Trust & Holding have come to an agreement to manufacture, market, and distribute HCR188C1.

The refrigerant is a patented blend of ethane, propane, butane, and other pure hydrocarbons, displaying a zero global warming potential (GWP) as well as a zero ozone-depletion rating.

According to Steve Mella, CEO of ComStar, HCR188C1 is the first hydrocarbon refrigerant approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for sale in the U.S., with the public comment process having been completed. According to Mella, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) said HCR188C1 is non-toxic. ASHRAE is expected to give the refrigerant the designation R-441A. According to Mella, “Standard Standing Project Committee 34 has proposed a toxicity classification of A and a code classification of ‘neither highly toxic or toxic’ for this refrigerant.”

Mella said the refrigerant would soon be in the public comment stage as solicited by ASHRAE. Results are expected by October for a final SNAP ruling to list the refrigerant as an approved alternative refrigerant for use in household refrigerators and stand-alone freezers.

Mella said Intertek Testing Services NA Inc. of Columbus, Ohio, has conducted energy tests that have shown a 48 percent decrease in power consumption when compared to the same units operating with HFC-134a, while using 25 percent of a normal charge of R-134a (by volume) or 40 percent of a normal charge of HCFC-22. The coolant operates in equipment containing mineral oil and can be used as a replacement in appliances and air conditioning systems designed for R-134a and R-22, Mella said.

“Though flammable, the very small amount of this climate-friendly refrigerant required in such systems presents an exceedingly small risk,” said Mella. “Moreover, A.S. Trust & Holding holds a patent on a refrigerant safety service port valve that could be used on larger systems. This unique valve, invented by Richard Maruya and George Whitmyre, operates by shutting down the system when there is a drop in operating pressure.”

He noted that Maruya of A.S. Trust & Holding spent more than a decade developing HCR188C1.

ComStar and A.S. Trust & Holding will blend the refrigerant at ComStar’s Houston facility. The refrigerant will be available through ComStar.

Mella said a line of 18- to 21-cubic-foot refrigerators operating solely with HCR188C1 as the coolant will be available soon.

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Publication date:08/09/2010