Johnson Controls plans for R513A as drop-in replacement for R134a
In response to growing legislative pressure to use refrigerants with lower GWPs, Johnson Controls has made the decision to enhance its HFC product lines by confirming that all screw and centrifugal chillers (air-cooled and water-cooled) will be fully future-compatible with R315A. This refrigerant is an HFC/HFO blend and has a GWP of 631. It is suitable as a drop-in replacement for R134a, which has a GWP of 1430. It has a low toxicity and is not flammable.
The optimised efficiency for chillers using R513A is 4% less than for R134a.
Scott Willocks, HVAC sales manager at Johnson Controls Building Efficiency UK & Ireland, explains, ‘As the industry is by now well aware, there are three specific HFC bans in place that directly affect the air- conditioning business.
‘Although, none of those bans will directly impact on the use of R134a (GWP of 1300) in chiller plant, there is however a requirement to reduce the use of HFCs in Europe to 21% of the current position in phased steps by 2030. As a result, the search is on for an efficient, low GWP, low-toxicity, non-flammable, low cost alternative to R134a.
Given that the major contributor to CO2 emissions over the lifetime of a chiller is related to the chiller operating efficiency, not the refrigerant used, lunging to a low GWP refrigerant solution that results in a reduced chiller operating efficiency may be akin to “throwing the baby out with the bathwater”. Now is a time for calm heads.’
Following extensive research, Johnson Control concludes that R134a continues to give the best balance of cost/kg, efficiency, GWP, toxicity and flammability. However, to alleviate any uncertainty and concerns about the price and availability of R134a over time, Johnson Controls has recognised the need to future proof its chillers.