Emerson Leads the Development of A2L-Qualified Refrigeration Solutions
Over the next decade, global, federal and state regulations will phase down the use of legacy hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants. As grocers make the transition to the next generation of eco-friendly alternatives, A2L refrigerants quickly are emerging as viable successors. Delivering reductions below 300 and 150 global warming potential (GWP), A2Ls have wide applicability across commercial refrigeration equipment and are among the few alternatives capable of meeting current regulation thresholds.
A2Ls are manufactured using a variety of chemical compositions — including those with high hydrofluoroolefin (HFO) content, pure HFOs, pure HFCs and various blends — enabling them to achieve needed GWP reductions while offering excellent performance characteristics. The A2L “lower flammability” classification will require strict adherence to the UL 60335-2-89 safety standard and follow proper refrigerant management and risk mitigation strategies. Leak detection sensors, sufficient ventilation and safety shut-off valves (SSOVs) may be required in some remote systems with larger A2L refrigerant charges.
To help grocers comply with regulatory mandates and meet their sustainability goals, Emerson is leading the development of A2L-qualified Copeland™ compressors and components. They are currently in the process of qualifying all their compression lines for use with lower-GWP A2L refrigerants while developing the advanced leak detection sensors and controls technologies that retailers need to help ensure A2L safety, preserve their refrigerant investments, and maximize system performance.
Select A2L-qualified compressor models are available for sale today, while samples of compressors within the A2L qualification process (and their performance data) are available on request. New Copeland variable frequency drives, EVM and EVH series — which are paired with Copeland variable-speed scroll compressors — have also been qualified for use in systems with A2L and A3 refrigerants.
A2L refrigerants are applicable across a broad spectrum of equipment within the commercial refrigerant sector. With charge limits greatly exceeding those proposed for R-290, A2Ls deliver approximately 20 percent more compressor capacity than R-290. A2Ls offer a higher-capacity alternative in self-contained applications and a lower-GWP solution for distributed and/or remote system applications, such as outdoor condensing units (OCUs) or mini-racks used in smaller-format outlets. These unique characteristics could also provide lower applied costs than CO2 in comparable applications.
Although the use of A2L refrigerants in U.S. commercial refrigeration is still limited, the stage is set for their wider adoption over the next several years. The recent update to UL 60335-2-89 (second edition) includes guidance for the use of A2Ls in self-contained and remote (distributed) applications — a crucial first step that paves the way for approval by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Regardless of which A2L applications may become more commonplace, A2Ls will give retailers another high-performance, lower-GWP option for their next-generation refrigeration portfolios.
Explore how Emerson is leading the development of safe, reliable A2L-qualified refrigerant technologies for applications in food retail, restaurants and convenience stores.