Honeywell’s Solstice N41 (R466A), the lower GWP alternative refrigerant to R410A in stationary air conditioning, has finally received its A1, non-flammable, non-toxic designation from ASHRAE.
First announced in June last year, R466A contains both R32 and R125, as in the current refrigerant R410A, but adds CF3I, or trifluoroiodomethane, as a flammability suppressant. CF3I is also a major contributor to R466A’s lower GWP of 733.
ASHRAE’s Designation and Safety Classification of Refrigerants Committee 34 (SSPC 34) had provisionally approved the A1 designation for public review last year, and it has since been open to appeal pending full approval by the ASHRAE board.
That process may have delayed Honeywell’s plans. While Honeywell had originally announced that R466A would be commercially available this year, they are now saying 2020. The Cooling Post believes this may be in Q2.
“We developed Solstice N41 to address the many regulatory and safety challenges facing the industry,” said George Koutsaftes, president of Honeywell Advanced Materials. “This product is the first non-flammable refrigerant developed as an R410A alternative, and is also better for the environment, energy efficient, and cost-effective for the end user with minimal conversion required. Safety is paramount and the properties of Solstice N41 make it a groundbreaking technology for the industry.”
Global moves to phase-down higher GWP refrigerants has placed pressure on the air conditioning and refrigeration industry to seek alternatives to gases like R410A with its GWP of 2088. R32 has become a front runner, with all the major manufacturers offering smaller models designed specifically for this A2L refrigerant. However, R32’s flammability has led to reservations in some quarters. Also, that same flammability makes it unsuitable for use in larger systems, particularly the popular VRF systems, and has limited its use in some countries
Although not a “drop-in” replacement for R410A, Honeywell maintains that the adoption of R466A will mean minimal changes to equipment, allowing original equipment manufacturers to easily convert from making R410A units.
In addition, there is no additional safety or liability risk to homeowners and the whole supply chain. Honeywell says Solstice N41 is being extensively tested by over 15 OEMs and leading compressor manufacturers, having accumulated more than 30,000 hours of testing in different applications such as commercial VRF and rooftop units, as well as residential AC.