What is in this article?:
- EPA Still Debating 2012 Refrigerant Limits
- Many Alternatives
The step-wise phaseout is designed to increase recycling of the refrigerant, promote better refrigerant management and support the transition to new refrigerants.
The EPA’s SNAP (Significant New Alternatives Policy) program, which lists refrigerants that can be used in place of R-22, has approved R-290 (propane) for new food self-contained units, as well as carbon dioxide (R-744) for new vending machines and commercial refrigeration. “We’re trying to get you as many alternatives as we can,” said Witman.
The “up-and-coming” refrigerants, she added, are those with low or zero global warming potential (GWP) such as carbon dioxide, ammonia, HFOs and hydrocarbons. In the U.S., an Albertsons store in Carpinteria, Calif., is using only low-GWP refrigerants (carbon dioxide and ammonia) and “several more pilots are in the works,” she said.
Witman also noted that “there is no news” regarding proposed amendments to Section 608 of the Clean Air Act, proposals that were originally made in late 2010. The most notable proposal would lower the refrigerant leak repair trigger rate — the annual leak rate at which leaks must be repaired — from 35% to 20%. (The average industry leak rate is 25%.) Other proposals include requiring verification and documentation of all repairs; requiring retrofit or retirement of appliances that cannot be sufficiently repaired; and requiring replacement of appliance components with a history of failures.
More news: Target Replaces R-22 in 11 SuperTargets
The EPA is considering an exemption to the Section 608 “no-venting” prohibition when applied to hydrocarbons, and plans to address a petition to remove HFC-134a from the list of acceptable substitutes in the SNAP program. The agency is also preparing for a 2015 labeling requirement and rules governing the allocation of R-22 in 2015 and beyond.
Witman, who has managed the EPA’s GreenChill program since its inception in 2007, noted that the program recently published a progress report featuring testimonials from supermarket participants on “what GreenChill has done for them.” The program, which focuses on refrigerant management and leak reduction, also just released a new fact sheet on “refrigerant leak prevention through regular maintenance” and plans to publish by early 2013 “green guidelines” on DX (direct expansion) refrigeration systems.
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