DANFOSS Vice President of application and technology Torben Funder-Kristensen presented a five-part seminar to VASA Director Mark Mitchell at the recent World Cold Chain Summit to Reduce Food Waste in Singapore, covering all aspects of refrigerant choice and related issues.
In his presentation, Mr Funder-Kristensen, who has long been a friend of VASA, explained the thorough process, developed over more than 10 years, that Danfoss undertakes when developing products for highly flammable hydrocarbon refrigerants:
“First you have to develop purpose scenarios based on application experience. Also, establish knowledge on current standards and legislation then perform a process of risk assessment and conclude on the probability of scenarios. Make them as an internal standard for framing product activities with flammable refrigerants and then advise and get acceptance from an insurance company. Finally, top management will approve and deploy the results through the relevant product manager.”
Danfoss also restricts the sale of components for use with hydrocarbons to ensure they are being used safely. For example, North American legislation limits HC refrigerant charges to less than 150g, meaning Danfoss products designed for HCs can be sold there.
However, Mr Funder-Kristensen explained that for “countries with missing legislation on mandatory use of safety standards, special agreements have to be signed with customers to ensure safety”.
“Even though components are available, safety standards like ISO 5149 need to be in place before the system can be implemented,” he said.
“Danfoss requires an addendum to the customer contract regarding safety precautions in relation to flammability”.
All Danfoss components sold for use with flammable refrigerants comply with ATEX zone 2 standards relating to safety in explosive environments.
“Even in the improbably case of a leak, Danfoss components will never be the ignition source,” said Mr Funder-Kristensen.
He also highlighted the importance of global standards, such as ISO 5149, in rolling out new refrigerants to ensure common working practices, technological alignment and legal conformity.
“The last point is very important from and industry point of view, as it reduces the risk and provides legal certainty when new products are developed,” he said.
A recurring theme throughout the five-part presentation was that cost, safety and environmental impacts must be equally considered when developing systems and selecting refrigerants.
It is clear from these presentations that Mr Funder-Kristensen and his colleagues would regard the practice of retrofitting R12 and R134a automotive systems with hydrocarbons as madness.
Each of the five below videos are around eight minutes long, but they are well worth watching.