Futureproofing compressed air refrigerant drying

Futureproofing compressed air refrigerant drying

Kaeser Compressors has announced that all its refrigerant dryers will use the new R-513A refrigerant by the end of 2019. Utilising this climate-friendly refrigerant will assist compressed air users in futureproofing their system as Australia transitions to low-GWP refrigerants as part of the Australian HFC phase-down.

Nearly every compressed air station uses refrigeration dryers, since most applications require these machines to deliver a dependable supply of quality dried compressed air.

The European F-gas regulation EU 517/2014 has been in force since 2015. This is intended to minimise the emissions of partly fluorinated greenhouse gases (F-gases) as well as phase-down the sale of HFCs (hydrofluorocarbons), as both significantly contribute to global warming.

This legislation has impacted European manufacturers and operators of compressed air stations because F-gases are used as refrigerants in refrigeration dryers and the refrigerants used up until now are being withdrawn from the market. All refrigerant dryers from Kaeser Compressors will therefore use the R-513A refrigerant by the end of 2019. It is climate friendly and  is designed to provide users with peace of mind when it comes to futureproofing their operation.

Australia will also transition to low-GWP refrigerants as part of the Australian HFC phase-down. Introduced by the federal government, the Australian HFC phase-down commenced in January 2018 as part of Australia’s international commitment to the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol. This sets a quota on the import of specified high-GWP (Global Warming Potential) refrigerants. The HFC phase-down will significantly reduce the amount of high-GWP refrigerants in Australia by gradually reducing the import quota from 100% in 2018 to 15% by the end of 2036.

When planning the purchase of a new dryer, consideration should be given to make sure that the unit uses a refrigerant that will be easy and cost-effective to source for future service work. Other materials may be legal today, but will eventually become prohibited in some countries, or will simply no longer be offered, due to their high global warming potential. This means that those operators who use these materials will soon be faced with the same problem.

It rarely makes sense to retrofit older but functional machines to use new refrigerants. Operators are well advised to take note of the currently used refrigerants in their equipment and to obtain information regarding alternative strategies. Certified service is advisable for all refrigeration dryers in order to provide different solutions with regards to this subject; this is especially true for older systems where refrigerant conversion is uneconomical.

Top image: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Lucky Business

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