ATLANTA — The AHR Expo is a marquis event for the refrigerants industry, and Chemours enjoys attending in order to connect with customers, as well as showcase its latest refrigerant solutions, said Allison Skidd, marketing manager, North America Fluorochemicals, Chemours.
This year, the company was particularly excited to talk about one of its more recent and significant product milestones, R-454B, which will be sold commercially by Chemours as Opteon™ XL41. The new replacement for R-410A was recently selected by Carrier for its residential and light commercial ducted a/c equipment.
“This is the first major North American OEM to announce their long-term plan to replace R-410A and signals the beginning of the next phase of design for air-conditioning equipment,” said Skidd. “We have seen a marked increase in interest in Opteon XL41 because it provides long-term viability in the face of existing or upcoming HFC phasedown regulations.”
Skidd highlighted some product features of R-454B.
- It is the only product with a GWP of less than 500 that closely matches the properties and performance of R-410A while requiring minimal equipment redesign.
- It offers comparable capacity with improved energy efficiency (up to 5 percent, depending on system design and conditions), and its discharge temperatures are a much closer match to R-410A than R-32; and
- It is miscible and compatible with existing POE lubricants, and its pressures and overall operating envelope are more compatible with existing R-410A units.
Chemours also announced its Corporate Responsibility Commitment, which includes a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emission intensity by 60 percent. To meet this commitment, Chemours is building the Discovery Hub, an innovation center in Newark, Delaware, which is expected to be completed in early 2020.
Other exciting news that Chemours shared included:
- The acquisition of Icor Intl. in April 2018;
- A partnership with the National Hockey League in May 2018, whereby Opteon was named the official refrigerant solution of the NHL; and
- A $300 million investment to construct the world’s largest facility for manufacturing HFOs, located in Corpus Christi, Texas, which supports customers in their growing demand for low-GWP products.
Going into 2019, one of the trends Chemours is observing is the level of interest and inquiry for A2L (mildly flammable) refrigerants.
“We believe these will play a key role in the future of air conditioning, refrigeration, and chiller systems as more states enact SNAP-like rules to phase down HFCs,” said Skidd. “We are working closely with industry stakeholders to implement standards and codes and also to bring about the tools and training needed to handle mildly flammable refrigerants safely.”
In order to support the installers and techns who will be working with flammable refrigerants in the not-too-distant future, Chemours is planning a Training and Technical Support Center (TTSC) for the HVACR service sector, which will open in Indianapolis in the spring.
One of the bigger challenges for 2019 will be the regulatory uncertainty in the U.S., specific to the phasedown of HFCs.
“If 2018 is any indication, there will continue to be significant efforts to gain alignment on the need for consistent federal or state regulation of HFCs,” said Skidd. “The uncertainty presents an opportunity in that Chemours is uniquely positioned to offer a full range of refrigerants to meet the varied equipment and regulatory requirements and to work with OEMs, system integrators, installers, and retailers to identify the right solution for their business. And where an obvious solution does not currently exist, we employ the talent and expertise of our innovation team, who work closely with industry partners at the earliest stages of development.”
Another 2019 challenge will be the production allowance of R-22, which is only 4 million pounds this year, 55 percent less than in 2018.
“Chemours is one of the major allowance holders of R-22,” explained Skidd. “If customers are expressing concern about R-22 availability or price (volatility), it is worth a reminder that retrofit options are available with Freon™ MO99 and NU-22B for air conditioning applications, and XP40 is available for refrigeration applications. We encourage our customers to leave the uncertainty of R-22 behind and make the switch to Freon MO99, NU-22B, or Opteon XP40.”
Publication date: 2/18/2019