R290 in air conditioning in China and India - Part I 

By Caixia Mao, Sep 10, 2014, 15:48 2 minute reading

At the 2014 Gustav Lorentzen conference in Hangzhou, China, the use of R290 in room air conditioners was one of the main topics discussed, with a number of papers presented on the subject. Significant progress on R290 AC technology development in China and India was demonstrated, with 80,000 R290 ACs already operating in India, and R290's high levels of energy efficiency validated for scroll compressors in China.

Natural refrigerant propane (R290) is a climate friendly alternative for room air conditioners, and one of the only refrigerants that will enable China and India, significant growth markets, to develop in a sustainable manner. Not only does R290 result in considerably reduced direct emissions, it also increases energy efficiency, and can be used safely. 
Danfoss: latest R290 scroll compressor technology development
The presentation by Leping Zhang from Danfoss Commercial Compressors on the paper “R290 Scroll Compressor Technology” examined the latest developments regarding R290 scroll compressors, comparing this technology to R407C fixed speed heat pump compressor and R410A variable speed air conditioner compressor applications. 
According to the paper, compared to R410A variable speed compressors for AC applications, R290 shows higher EER (Energy Efficiency Ratio).  R290 has similar advantages in heat pump applications when compared to R407C, leading the paper’s authors to conclude that R290 is an excellent refrigerant for variable speed compressors for the two applications investigated. 
India: more than 80,000 R290 split air conditioners
The GL 2014 paper “The first 80,000 HC-290 split air conditioners in India” by D. Rajadhyaksha et al, looked at current R290 technology and market development in India, addressing questions regarding safety and reliability. 
Godrej & Boyce Mfg. Co launched the first commercially available R290 split air conditioner in India in 2012, a product with a high level of efficiency when compared to a range of competing products. To date Godrej has sold 80,000 of its R290 units. In order to expand this market further, the paper recommends that the benefits of shifting to R290 be better conveyed to end consumers. 
In developing an R290 unit, to overcome the lack of clear regulation in India relating to the use of flammable refrigerants in ACs, and the absence of national standards, the paper recommends applying relevant European safety standards, such as EN 1127-1, which specifies general design and construction methods to help designers and manufacturers in achieving explosion safety in the design of equipment, protective systems and components at all stages of its use.
To monitor product safety and reliability, Godrej operates a quality database that includes service feedback and where complaints and faults are systematically recorded. From this database Godrej has calculated that their R290 AC has a fault rate of <0.5% per year, an excellent reliability and safety record. 
To maintain this record the paper’s authors recommend retraining service technicians to handle the particularities of installing and servicing R290 products, a process that needs to go hand in hand with the development of any new products and manufacturing processes.
With regards to the future, Godrej plans to expand the range of R290 products and to integrate new designs and functionality to further reduce the flammability risk associated with hydrocarbon refrigerants. 


By Caixia Mao

Sep 10, 2014, 15:48

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