Honeywell recently unveiled Solstice® N41 (provisional R-466A), a nonflammable and lower global-warming-potential (GWP) refrigerant for use in stationary air conditioning systems. Once on the market, the company stated that Solstice N41 will be the lowest GWP, nonflammable, R-410A replacement refrigerant available worldwide. The refrigerant received a provisional number and a preliminary A1 designation from ASHRAE, a key milestone needed to bring the product to market.

The innovation comes after years of research and development by Honeywell scientists who set out to address one of the most vexing regulatory and safety challenges facing the HVAC industry. All other alternatives proposed to date as R-410A replacements are flammable and require cumbersome changes to safety standards and building codes.

“What we invented and developed in Solstice N41 is a remarkable breakthrough,” said Sanjeev Rastogi, vice president and general manager of fluorine products, Honeywell. “It is an incredibly promising product that is poised to solve a key problem and potentially become the next big global advance for refrigerants.”

With numerous regulations (including Europe’s F-Gas regulation and the internationally adopted Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol) requiring the phase down of high-global-warming products, the HVAC industry has been looking to replace the current industry standard refrigerant, R-410A, with an energy efficient, nonflammable, and lower GWP solution with a similar or better performance.

“Solstice N41 offers a unique combination of benefits. With a GWP that is 65 percent lower than R-410A, it is energy efficient and environmentally preferable,” said Rastogi. “Moreover, the costs associated with moving to Solstice N41 pale in comparison to those required for conversion to a flammable refrigerant. It is the logical economic choice.”

In addition, early testing indicates that switching to Solstice N41 would require minimal changes to equipment and no additional training for installation and repair technicians. Preliminary data indicates that the refrigerant may allow OEMs to easily convert from R-410A.

In response to Honeywell’s announcement regarding R-466A, Paul T. Stalknecht, president and CEO, Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) said, “The development of a non-flammable alternative refrigerant is welcome news for contractors who have been concerned about the push to adopt flammable refrigerants without a strong focus on safety and contractor and technician training. However, it is far too early to determine if R-466A is a viable alternative for the residential marketplace. ACCA looks forward to receiving additional information and sharing input from the contracting industry about these developments.”

“ACCA is committed to working with refrigerant producers and equipment manufacturers to foster the adoption of refrigerants that are non-ozone depleting and have low global warming potential,” said Glenn Hourahan, ACCA senior vice president of technical and engineering. “It will be awhile before the industry considers adopting this potential alternative refrigerant, because manufacturers and contractors need to know how it will perform in the field and study possible negative side effects on the application. Therefore, ACCA remains committed to working with our industry partners to ensure training is in place for products that are considered mildly flammable and have been recognized by much of the industry as viable alternatives to R-410A.”

Publication date: 6/29/2018

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