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EPA Proposes Substitute Refrigerants for Stationary Refrigeration/AC Uses

Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to list a number of flammable refrigerants as acceptable substitutes, subject to use conditions, for ozone-depleting substances in the following end-uses: household refrigerators and freezers, stand-alone commercial refrigerators and freezers, very low temperature refrigeration, non-mechanical heat transfer, vending machines, and room air conditioning units. The proposed refrigerants include one hydrofluorocarbon refrigerant (HFC-32) and four hydrocarbon refrigerants (ethane, isobutene, propane and R-441A).

The EPA notes that all of the end-uses in this rule are for stationary refrigeration or air conditioning and that it addressed flammable refrigerants in motor vehicle air conditioning in 1995, finding all flammable substitutes to be unacceptable for such use in unless specifically listed as acceptable subject to use conditions because of flammability risks and the lack of sufficient risk assessment and sufficient information to demonstrate safe use in that end-use at that time. However, in recent years the EPA has listed three low global warming potential refrigerants (R-152a, R-1234yf and R-744) as acceptable subject to use conditions for motor vehicles.

Comments on this proposed rule are due no later than Sept. 8. Requests for a hearing are due by July 24, and if a hearing is held it will take place on or about Aug. 8.

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