R290 Propane IPCC 6
More than 15 years ago, AHT Cooling Systems in Rottenmann decided to take a pioneering step. The company has been researching sustainable refrigerants since 1995. As a pioneer in the commercial deep-freeze and food refrigeration industry, it relied on the green refrigerant R290 propane. As a result, AHT is the only global player with a full R290 offering.
Propane (chemical name C₃H₈) is a hydrocarbon. As a natural refrigerant, it is listed under the designation R290. The colourless and odourless gas has similar pressure levels to conventional refrigerants and shows comparable cold transfer capacities. R290 has been used with increasing frequency in heat pumps as well as in air conditioning and refrigeration systems for several years now.
AHT is a pioneer in this field and has been using R290 successfully since 2005. In the meantime, two million units with R290 refrigerant have rolled off the production line at AHT for customers worldwide.
This success of R290 is due to its high energy efficiency and its very good thermodynamic and refrigeration properties. Compared to the former refrigerants R22, R290 is appreciated as an efficient and energy-saving refrigerant. In direct comparison to R502 (replacement for R22) and also R134a, significant energy savings of at least 9 % up to a maximum of 30 % (very different depending on the type of application) could be proven.
The environmentally friendly natural refrigerant is not harmful to the ozone layer and has a low GWP (Global Warming Potential) value. Compared to R22 GWP 1960 (IPCC6) or R404a GWP 4728 (IPCC6), the GWP of 0.02 (IPCC6) means a massive CO2 equivalent saving and thus a very low greenhouse effect. In a globalised world of permanent change, it is of great concern to AHT as an innovation leader to act in a forward-looking and sustainable manner. The use of R290 is a measure that makes a significant contribution to this.
In addition, the AHT can save even more refrigerant with the innovative SPI system (Semi Plug In – System). Since the filling quantities of the individual factory-made refrigeration circuits are less than 150 g R290 and the carrier medium for heat dissipation is not a refrigerant but a water/propylene glycol mixture, there are savings of 95 % refrigerant filling quantity compared to a conventional remote system.
Furthermore, the leakage rates are small and approaching zero compared to the 3.83 % (Source: VDKF data 2014-2018) for commercial remote systems due to factory production.
This means that an annual CO2 saving of approx. 11,000kg can be expected compared to a standard R404a system with a sales length of 27.5 metres.
R290 is therefore also decisive as an alternative, environmentally friendly solution with regard to future use restrictions and bans on fluorinated refrigerants (F-gases) in a number of applications. The phase-down prescribed by the current EU F-Gas Regulation and the associated restrictions on use and even bans are already leading to a noticeable shortage of many common refrigerants with high GWP values. Price increases, some of them drastic, are the result. These developments are also paving the way for less climate-damaging solutions in the field of refrigeration. The refrigerants of the future thus include natural refrigerants such as R290.
The disadvantage of propane as a refrigerant is that it is highly flammable. This means that its use is subject to special safety requirements. This is where AHT can score with its more than 15 years of experience in the safe handling of this refrigerant. In order to be able to offer the highest possible standards, further training and courses are offered in this regard for the worldwide partner network.
It should also be mentioned that in some countries (e.g.: BAFA by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment) the use of R290 is promoted.