HCFC replacement gathering pace

r22-phaseout-time-bomb-feb-2009With only 10 months to go until the use of virgin HCFC is banned for the servicing and maintenance of air conditioning and refrigeration equipment, IDS Refrigeration is pleased to report that at last many in the market are taking action.

In the last Quarter of 2008, IDS saw sales of R22 replacements reach record levels, bettering the previous quarter by nearly 50%. This is a sure sign that many in the market are starting to act, although IDS acknowledge that many now carrying out conversions are companies that have been assessing the feasibility of carrying out this work for 6 – 12 months.

IDS also sounds a note of caution. There is a long way to go with industry figures indicating that at least half, if not more, of refrigeration and air conditioning equipment EU wide is still dependent on HCFC refrigerant. With the timescale left IDS estimates that it is probably impossible to convert more than 25% of HCFC dependent UK plant still in use before 31st December this year. Those users without a phase out plan in place are almost certain to be caught out when they have a refrigerant leak next year.

IDS data also shows that those carrying out conversions are not just the larger contractors. The common factor with contractors carrying out conversions is that they have invested the time and resources in understanding the problem that will hit unprepared end users in 2010 and beyond, and devoted the time to helping their customers prepare.  Increasingly, replacement programmes have included returning recovered R22 to IDS for cleaning and reclamation for plant operators to use as part of a planned refrigerant management programme in 2010.

A wide range of applications are running on the DuPont™ ISCEON® 9 series refrigerants with selection down to the specific application. Equipment ranges from split AC, VRVs and water chillers, to cold stores, supermarkets and food and chemical process cooling. The majority of conversions have been carried out on direct expansion plant, however the number of low pressure receiver system, thermosyphon chiller and flooded system conversions are increasing.

With the experience gained from these conversions and feedback from its customers IDS is well placed to help those who are still to implement R22 or HCFC replacement programmes.