Today (4 March), green NGOs and companies throughout Europe and the United States called on national representatives in the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) to vote ‘yes’ in the final IEC vote on whether to increase the charge limit pn A3 (flammable) refrigerants in commercial refrigeration to 500g.

International standard IEC 60335-2-89 currently limits the use of flammable refrigerants in hermetically sealed commercial refrigeration equipment with an incorporated or remote refrigerant unit or compressor to 150g. 

“An important vote concerning climate-friendly alternatives to fluorinated gases has started on 1 March” at the IEC, said ECOS (European Environmental Citizens’ Organisation for Standardization) in a position paper co-signed with NGOs and industry today. “National representatives have now six weeks to decide whether to allow larger quantities of climate-friendly flammable refrigerants in commercial refrigeration.”

The charge-limit increase to 500g from 150g will apply to hydrocarbons like propane and isobutane in commercial refrigeration equipment under the IEC global standard 60335-2-89, which would likely widen the use of hydrocarbons as natural refrigerants worldwide.

The final vote, known as the Final Draft International Standard (FDIS) phase, represents the last step in a lengthy standards process. 

“If the vote is negative, the FDIS will be referred back to the sub-committee to be reconsidered. This could result in a delay of an already lengthy process, as well as an attempt to lower the ambition of the FDIS. The main outcome of a negative vote will be in itself another barrier for the deployment of climate-friendly alternatives to refrigerant gases,” the co-signed paper warns.

The signatories urge the national committees “to vote positively and support the standard”.

ECOS is a signatory along with other environmental NGOs such as the Climate Advisors Network, ECODES (Foundation Ecology and Development), the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), HEAT International GmbH, Legambiente, the North American Sustainable Refrigeration Council (NASRC) and ZERO Portugal.

HVAC&R manufacturers AIT Deutschland GmbH and NIBE also co-signed with shecco, the publisher of this website.  

shecco coordinates LIFE FRONT, an EU-funded project aimed at removing ‘barriers posed by standards’ for flammable refrigerants in refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump (RACHP) applications. AIT, Heat, ECOS and NIBE are also project partners there. 

The EU-funded LIFE ZEROGWP project (aimed at creating the first double duct residential air conditioner with near-to-zero GWP natural refrigerants) also signed the statement.

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