The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has added another HFC-based refrigerant to its listing of alternatives to R-12. The EPA, under its Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program, added SP34E to the list.

The announcement came from Solpower Corp., a U.S. distributor of the refrigerant. The product is currently made in Canada and has been available in that country as well as Australia and Japan, according to the company.

The approval enables SP34E to be used as an acceptable substitute for R-12 in virtually all applications except centrifugal chillers, according to the EPA.

In EPA documents, the refrigerant is said to be “acceptable for use as a substitute for CFC-12 in the following end uses: household refrigerators and freezers, refrigerated transport, retail food refrigeration, cold storage warehouses, vending machines, water coolers, and reciprocating chillers.” The EPA also said that, “SP34E is acceptable for use as a substitute for CFC-12, subject to use conditions for motor vehicle air conditioning.”

Further, the federal agency noted that, “Flammability testing by an independent laboratory has determined that SP34E as blended is not flammable. SP34E has no flash point.”

According to Mark Robinson, president and ceo of Solpower, “SP34E has passed some of the most stringent requirements worldwide for use as a replacement refrigerant. We are now finalizing a distribution agreement with a U.S. company that has a national network.”

A sales and marketing campaign is scheduled for launch this year.

According to Solpower, the refrigerant is a “near drop-in replacement for R-12 in mineral oil-based refrigerant applications.

“It is a single-component refrigerant with trace additives.” The company said it is 98.5% R-134a, but the additives mean a change-out from mineral oil is not needed in retrofits.

For more information, contact Solpower at 4742 W. Adams St. #2, Phoenix, AZ 85009.

Publication date: 02/12/2001