The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Technology Institute (AHRTI), the research arm of the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI), released the results of a benchmarking study on the A3 refrigerant R-290, which evaluated the potential risks of leaks and ignitions in a whole room scale setting. All the tests were conducted by AHRTI's subcontractor UL under the supervision of a technical committee consisting of industry experts from AHRI member companies and staff of California Air Resources Board.
"The objective of this project was to test for leaks and ignition of refrigerant R-290, or propane, in whole room scale conditions," said Xudong Wang, vice president of research at AHRI. "The testing scenario simulated a packaged terminal air conditioner and a mini-split air conditioner in a typical motel room, and a single door reach-in cooler and a three-door reach-in cooler in a convenience store," said Wang. "Test results demonstrated potential issues on R-290 charge quantities set by safety standards and possible resolution to mitigate ignition risk."
The aim of the research program is to develop data and insight into the risks associated with the use of Class A3 refrigerants and to generate technical data to support revisions of relevant safety standards, namely IEC Standards 60335-2-40 (for air-conditioning products) and IEC 60335-2-89 (for commercial refrigeration products), and their equivalent North American version published by UL.
This project is part of a $5.6 million research program jointly funded by AHRI, ASHRAE, California Air Resource Board, and U.S. Department of Energy, and is the U.S. industry's effort to phase down the use of high-GWP refrigerants and to facilitate and accelerate the safe use of flammable refrigerants.
The final report can be accessed here.