Economically 2019 is the year to shake our dependency on HFC refrigerants

The environmental case against HFC refrigerants is well known and the ‘Global-Warming’ effects these refrigerants have on our planet is widely understood by equipment specifiers and installers, but despite this traditional HFC equipment keeps being specified and purchased.  However, Cooltherm is pleased to report the economic tide is now turning to support being green as the cost of HFC refrigerants continue to climb.

In early 2017 for small DX equipment the cost of the HFC refrigerant within the unit equated to around 1-2% of the total cost of the equipment, and for large water chillers the cost of the refrigerant within the new machines was on average 3% of the total ticket price, by 2019 these percentages have risen to 11% for small DX equipment and up to 23% for industrial water chillers.

If HFC prices continue to rise in line with expectations driven by production quota reductions driven by F-gas legislation the cost of HFC refrigerant within DX plant is predicted to be 22% and 47% for chillers of the total item ticket price.

A good news story: whereas once the green refrigerant solutions were considerably more expensive than HFC machines, we are now seeing equipment operating on refrigerants such as HFO R1234ze and R32 becoming the inexpensive alternative; and for water chillers an alternative low GWP refrigerant is now readily available in the guise of R513a which mimics R134a but with 1/3 the global warming potential, and a full range of R513a chillers are already available at a price point which are notably less then R134a machines.

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