Key Topics

1) Predictive analysis: What will future regulations entail for the refrigeration and building industries, including owners of facilities, given the fact that climatologists are stoking fears that even what is being done is inadequate in reversing the phenomenon of catastrophic climate change?

2) Refrigerants in the context of climate change mitigation initiatives across the United States, like the New York Climate Action Plan. What HVAC systems are being considered by building owners? How are refrigerants featuring in the strategic planning of building-retrofit activities? Are the right refrigerant choices attracting incentives for building owners?

3) In the context of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issuing a decision to vacate the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) Rule 21, what next for EPA in its bid to delist certain HFCs that are being used as replacements for ozonedepleting substances? What do building owners need to look out for to safeguard their asset-related investments for the foreseeable future?

4) In the wake of the introduction of refrigerants with GWP lower than 10 and negligible or zero ODP, is the search for the ideal refrigerant over? Or, are issues like unacceptable operating pressures and lower volumetric capacity for a given application stretching the search?

5) How much mileage does the argument that energy efficiency of the chiller overrides the GWP performance of refrigerants have?

6) Is R410A (GWP of 2,088) still the best bet for the DX sector? With the phase down of HFCs, the price of R410A has climbed to unprecedented levels, a cause for concern among contractors, plus its availability in adequate volumes for new and existing buildings. What are the implications for North America?

7) How do some mildly flammable and non-flammable refrigerants stack up from a climate change mitigation point of view?

8) Building codes and mildly flammable refrigerants.

9) The protracted search for a long-term solution: What is the significance of a high-speed compressor working with low pressure refrigerants that comes with the avowed promise of having a low GWP, of being non-toxic and non-flammable, under normal operating conditions, and of offering stability and compatibility with oils and with such metals as aluminum, copper and steel during tests carried out at 175 degrees C? Can it be used in VRF systems, with its avowed nonflammable and non-toxic nature unburdening contractors and building owners from the need for installing leak detection and specific ventilation technology? Is non-flammability a clincher for deployment in most DX units, given that building codes are becoming tighter from a fire safety point of view?

10) Refrigerants recovery

11) Illegal trade in refrigerants: The urgent need to tackle the menace. Implications for North America from the evasion of antidumping duties. Concerns about the quality and purity of illegally imported refrigerants, which, if flammable, can cause safety issues for technicians, and also affect the performance of HVAC equipment; antidumping duties on HFC blends and R134a – is it enough to levy duties only on imports of the refrigerants, or should HFC components also be brought under the purview?

12) Non-compliant refrigerant cans – for example, 2Q cans for R134a – and the risk of explosion

13) The evolving area of IR-based sensors for non-intrusive monitoring of potential leakage of refrigerants in restricted areas, including chiller plant rooms.

14) SPECIAL SESSION: Practical challenges in retrofitting supermarkets and other specialized facilities to non-flammable HFOs

15) SPECIAL SESSION: The post-R22-phaseout scenario: How building owners persisting with R22-dependent equipment can get onto the peace-of-mind pathway of reliability and cost predictability

Discussion narrative (Topic #15)

1) The current dynamics and impact relating to R22, post the EPA mandated January 1, 2020 deadline, which made it illegal for R22 to be either manufactured in the United States or be imported. What is the road ahead for owners of ageing R22-dependent systems? What are the various scenarios being played out across the United States?

2) Profiles in decisive and indecisive action:

  • Ageing systems often equate to leaky systems. How are building owners faced with leaky R22-dependent systems coping in a scenario where they can no longer smugly refill them?
  • What has the phase out meant for customers, who had to carry out – or who are facing the prospect of carrying out – maintenance and repairs?
  • What if the repair in question necessitates adding R22 in the system? Are there any options other than relying on reclaimed or previously produced R22? If no, what have been – or what are – the cost implications?
  • How have those owners that have converted their existing R22- dependent systems to be able to run on a different refrigerant fared so far? What is the predicted lifetime of the rejigged systems? Can they say with any measure of certainty that the converted systems will run in a reliable and cost-predictable manner for a substantial period, giving them a positive ROI on the cost of conversion?