TAKING the initiative to create a roadshow of seminars designed to help businesses and technicians understand and prepare for low global warming potential refrigerants has attracted international interest for future:gas and the Australasian industry behind it.
Representatives from global vehicle manufacturers attended some seminars and one even suggested the program be extended to Southeast Asia.
International delegates to the recent Montreal Protocol talks in Vienna were variously curious, inspired and suggested future:gas be rolled out to numerous countries around the world.
It could be said that the world-leading future:gas program has instigated a global refrigerant education movement.
With seminar content moving from the why (concerns about climate change), through how (the genesis of R1234yf and R744) and what (equipment and service standards), future:gas answered all the questions relating to the refrigerant rollout.
Going beyond the basics, an explanation of the system engineering required for compatibility and safety with new refrigerants, as well as an insight as to the regulations and safety practices involved in handling flammable and high-pressure products made clear the serious considerations and implications involved when changing one refrigerant for another.
Myth-busting about R1234yf flammability and toxicity, highlighting issues surrounding the high pressures used in R744 systems and the presence of equipment and refrigerant suppliers to explain the availability and pricing of what is necessary to gear up for the changes further ensured that every seminar provided a comprehensive evening of content.
The roadshow attracted more than 1000 attendees in total, with overwhelmingly positive feedback for each event from highly engaged industry participants including technicians and workshop owners, new-car dealership and OEM service managers, training professionals, big-hitters from global vehicle manufacturers and component suppliers plus regulators and industry associations.
Before the seminar series had even hit the half-way point, requests started coming in for repeat events and more regional locations to serve those who missed out.
A success on many levels, future:gas represents a collaboration of numerous industry associations and businesses that contributed funding, provided assistance with promoting or helped with hosting the events.
It was achieved without government input or funding, the heavily subsidised $10 ticket price enabled by the generosity of an industry that believed in the importance of the future:gas initiative and put its faith in the quality of the seminar content.
Greg Picker, executive director of Refrigerants Australia explained why automotive is targeted as a key source of HFC emission reductions and the environmental and political reasons behind the switch to R1234yf and R744.
Representing refrigerant manufacturer Chemours, John McCormack provided a history of R1234yf development, myth-busted the related flammability and toxicity concerns and explained the different flammability ratings applied when the product is in a cylinder or a system.
VASA director and Unicla compressor manufacturer Mark Mitchell delivered a talk about the engineering process of developing systems compatible with R1234yf and the various SAE standards that apply.
Refrigerant Reclaim Australia general manager Michael Bennett provided an overview of the recent automotive refrigerant survey conducted with VASA and groundbreaking research into the safety issues surrounding emission of flammable refrigerants inside a workshop.
Rene Le Miere from stationary CO2 system specialist Bitzer introduced the practical and safety considerations when working with this non-flammable, non-toxic but high-pressure refrigerant and an introduction to what automotive R744 systems will look like.
VASA president Ian Stangroome explained the equipment standards and working practices required when working on R1234yf and R744 systems.
All involved are proud to have played a part in the success of future:gas and to be part of an industry that embraces innovation, education, professionalism and environmental best practice.
It could not have happened without the generosity of A-Gas, Ashdown-Ingram, Bitzer, BOC Gases, Chemours, CoolDrive Distribution, Honeywell, JAS Oceania, Sythree, Unicla, AAAA, AMBRA, ARC, IAME, MTAQ, MTA-SA, MTA-WA, RAA, RRA, RA, SAE-A and VASA.