New EU project to remove barriers to flammable refrigerants

In a bid to remove barriers currently facing flammable refrigerants in refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump (RACHP) applications, the EU’s new project ‘Flammable Refrigerant Options for Natural Technologies – Improved standards & product design for their safe use (FRONT)’, aims to help increase the availability of suitable alternatives.

The project, led by shecco, is funded under LIFE, the EU’s financial instrument supporting environmental, nature conservation and climate action projects throughout the bloc.

LIFE FRONT is a demonstration project with best-practice elements, combining two main objectives under the EU’s Climate Action – Climate Change Mitigation 2016 priority area.

The project aims to remove “barriers posed by standards” for flammable refrigerants in RACHP applications. It also seeks to increase the “availability of suitable alternatives” in those areas, by improving system design to address flammability risk and encourage the use of climate-friendly alternatives to fluorinated gases.

LIFE FRONT is coordinated by a consortium of six partners including shecco as the project leader, AHT, ait-deutschland (AIT), European Environmental Citizens Organisation for Standardisation (ECOS), HEAT, and NIBE. The project began in mid-June 2017 and work will continue until end-July 2020.

“shecco is proud to join efforts with leading experts in the field to raise awareness and remove barriers for the safe use of flammable refrigerants such as hydrocarbons. We are confident that LIFE FRONT will have a positive impact in facilitating the expansion of natural refrigerants in the European RACHP market, and create a positive ripple effect for other regions beyond Europe,” said Alvaro de Oña, Group COO, shecco.

The project will result in Europe’s largest leakage size and simulation database for equipment using flammable refrigerants, as well as testing of different configurations of equipment with increased refrigerant charge to determine to which extent is safe to operate with bigger amounts of flammable refrigerants.

LIFE FRONT project objectives:

  • Support the EU and international standardisation process for flammable refrigerants;
  • Reduce safety risks from improved system design for air-conditioning, refrigeration and heat pump applications using flammable refrigerants;
  • Engage in technology capacity-building for EU equipment manufacturers;
  • Remove non-technological knowledge barriers across relevant European groups;
  • Improve Europe’s competitiveness for RACHP equipment using non-fluorinated refrigerant alternatives, and;
  • Support an effective and timely achievement of the EU 2030 climate targets.

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