United States

The US EPA has published a long-awaited proposed rule allowing the use of certain hydrocarbons in new household refrigerator and freezer equipment. Hydrocarbon refrigerants have now been used for over 10 years in countries such as Germany, the UK, Australia and Japan, mainly because of their zero-ozone depletion potential and very low global-warming potential. The US EPA is proposing to list 4 types of hydrocarbons, namely isobutane, propane, HCR-188C and HCR-188C1 as acceptable substitutes, subject to use conditions, for ozone-depleting CFC-12 and HCFC-22 in household and light commercial applications. Propane will be allowed in stand-alone retail food refrigeration, and the three others in household refrigerator and freezer-equipment. The charge limits for the former are 150 g and 57 g for the latter. Since 1992, over 300 million hydrocarbon-refrigerant fridges have been produced worldwide and 40% of the world's domestic refrigerators are now using isobutane. www.hydrocarbons21.com