AHRI launches a low-GWP alternative refrigerant evaluation programme

In response to environmental concerns raised by the use of high global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants, the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) is launching an industry-wide cooperative research program to identify and evaluate promising alternative refrigerants for major product categories. These include air conditioners, heat pumps, dehumidifiers, chillers, water heaters, ice makers, and refrigeration equipment. The programme is strongly desired by the industry to assess research needs, accelerate the industry's response to environmental challenges raised by high-GWP refrigerants, and avoid duplicative work. AHRI successfully managed the original R-22 AREP in the 1990s, and will again take the lead in coordinating and managing this industry-driven research effort.
AHRI Vice President of Regulatory and Research, Karim Amrane, specifies that "The program will not prioritize these alternatives; rather, it will identify potential refrigerants replacements for high GWP HFCs, and present the performance of these replacements in a consistent and standard manner". The programme will be managed by a technical committee which will be responsible for developing detailed test protocols, prioritizing tasks and ensuring the quality of the results to be published. Once the technical committee is formed, an open solicitation will be made to both US and foreign manufacturers to participate in the programme. AHRI expects to begin testing new low-GWP alternative refrigerants in July 2011.