The Associate of Equipment Manufactures (AEM), a North American organisation, continues to pursue the formal process that could allow off-road machinery to use R1234yf instead of increasingly restricted R134a.
AEM, aimed at advancing the success of global industrial equipment manufacturers, has been working on substitution reports for a range of machinery – including those used in agriculture, mining, construction, forestry and turf maintenance.
Its first report, focused on agricultural tractors, showcases how that the reduction in the availability of R134a will pose problems for cab refrigeration solutions and suggests that R1234yf, following risk analysis and compliance with the United States’ Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP), would prove a viable and effective substitute.
AEM materials management director John Wagner said: “The efforts of AEM’s SNAP Application Development team serve as an example of equipment industry stakeholders from a variety of competing companies coming together and proactively asking for a change that will very positively impact the environment and significantly reduce global warming potential of the refrigerant.”
SNAP, which forms part of the US Clean Air Act, aims to provide suitable alternatives for ozone-depleting substances.
The reports provided by the AEM, the first of which was submitted in December 2019, will be used by the EPA to assess the suitability of the proposed replacement – and take into account the environmental and human risks posed by the substitute. Once the risk analysis is complete, and after 90 days has passed, the use of the substitute can be approved if deemed appropriate.
The change from R134a to R1234yf would echo that of the automotive industry’s widespread changeover to the more environmentally friendly refrigerant.