Vehicle manufacturers have used a variety of refrigerants in vehicle mobile air conditioning (MAC) applications and temperature controlled distribution applications.
Different refrigerant types and systems require a variety of dedicated specialist service equipment.
A comparison of Refrigerant types can be made by ;
Global Warming Potential (GWP) and CO2 equivalence
Fluorinated Gas (FGAS) regulations govern the supply and handling of certain refrigerants used in air conditioning and refrigeration systems.
Persons recovering refrigerant have a legal requirement to be F-gas trained and qualified as a refrigerant handler to meet the requirements of 2015 EC regulations and also company registered see Guidance notes
EU reg 2006/40
applies to motor vehicle air conditioning systems.
(Article 6.2) All vehicles after 1 January 2017 can only have air conditioning systems filled using refrigerant with GWP below 150 unless the air conditioning system was fitted before 2017.
(Article 6.3) If an abnormal amount of refrigerant has leaked from the system service providers are not allowed to refill refrigerant until after the air conditioning system has been repaired.
(Article 6.1) Air conditioning systems containing refrigerant above 150 gwp can not be retrofitted to some types of vehicle after 1 January 2017.
See(MAC directive) of EC F-Gas (Fluorinated Gas) Regulations also see http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/air-atmos/fgas/sectors/mobileaircon.htm for more details.
Updated F Gas regulations apply from 1st January 2015
(EU reg 517/2014).
EC 1494/2007 requires secure and clear labelling of products containing Fluorinated Gases 'contains fluorinated gases covered by the Kyoto protocol' with total quantity charged.
EC 842/2006 and EC 303/2008 specifies personnel certification and leak check requirements for stationery air conditioning and refrigeration systems.
EC 307/2008 specifies minimum training requirements for recovering refrigerant from motor vehicle air conditioning systems.
The Motor Vehicles (Refilling of Air Conditioning Systems by Service Providers) Regulations 2009 No.2194 also applies
R12 is a CFC refrigerant which was used on older classic vehicles but was banned in the 1990s due to its damaging environmental effects.
RS24 or R426a is a retrofit refrigerant for R12 systems (source:Agas).
R134a is a HFC refrigerant (GWP 1430) and probably the most common refrigerant currently found in automotive air conditioning systems of vehicles sold up to 2017.
R134a is also used in some transort refrigeration systems, chillers, and commercial cooling applications.
R134a refrigerants must be recovered before disassembly of a vehicle aircon system for repair.
Only Fgas certified personnel can legally recover R134a from a vehicle air conditioner.
Environmental legislation has forced manufacturers of vehicles type approved since 2011, and all new vehicles sold after 1st January 2017 to use low GWP refrigerants below 150. HFO R1234YF refrigerant (GWP 4) has many environmental and cooling benefits over R134a including a lower GWP rating. Certain manufacturers have raised concerns about the use of 1234yf due to potential flammability.
Vehicle air conditioning systems using R744 Carbon Dioxide (GWP 1) have been introduced by some manufacturers.
R744 is already in use in stationary refrigeration applications and operates at extremely high pressures (up to approx 170 bar).
Dry ice can be formed within systems causing blockage.
Carbon dioxide leakage in to vehicle interior may be detrimental and cause nausea, to overcome this a Carbon Dioxide sensor is fitted to the vehicle interior.
High GWP (3922) Blended refrigerant Used in commercial and transport refrigeration applications.
R404a systems undergo limitation due to new regulations coming in to force.
R410a is often found in static commercial air conditioning systems.
R413a is a blended refrigerant used as a retrofit gas on vehicle refrigeration systems previously using R12.
R437a is a blended refrigerant used as a retrofit gas on vehicle refrigeration systems previously using R12.
R448a is a blended refrigerant used in commercial and transport refrigeration applications.
HFO R452a is a blended (Zeotropic) refrigerant used in Commercial vehicle transport refrigeration systems.
Air conditioning & Refrigeration servicing involves the safe recovery of any remaining refrigerant from the air conditioning system by trained and FGAS qualified personnel to minimise environmental damage before any system service maintenance work which would otherwise cause escape of refrigerant is undertaken.
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