To mitigate climate change and protect the environment by reducing emissions of fluorinated greenhouse gases (F-gases), the European Parliament imposed the EU Regulation on F-gases No. 517/2014 to gradually reduce the use of HFCs to 21% by 2030. In accordance with these regulations, future air conditioning and refrigeration systems shall use refrigerants with lower GWP values, and many existing systems will have to replace the refrigerants with alternatives ones.
HFO refrigerants, including R1234ze which can be applied to stationary refrigeration systems, are categorized as having zero ozone depletion potential (ODP), low-GWP thus offering a more environmentally friendly alternative to HFC refrigerants. Operating conditions and performance of R1234ze are in line with those of R134a, and it can replace R134a in the new refrigeration equipment, water chillers, and heat pumps.
The capacities of the cooling systems based on R1234ze refrigerant are lower than those achieved with R134a, but R1234ze systems consume less power, and the final result is a slightly higher energy efficiency ratio of R1234ze based systems. At the same time, the capacity issue restricts R1234ze usage as a drop-in replacement for the current R134a refrigeration systems.
FLAMMABILITY AND TOXICITY
HFO refrigerants have been identified as being mildly flammable under some non-operational conditions. In terms of operational safety, ASHRAE classified R1234ze in the safety group A2L. Toxicity investigations and compatibility tests of the materials used in the refrigeration circuits have shown positive results for R1234ze. Some lubricants show increased chemical reactivity which can be suppressed by the addition of stabilizers.