The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) plans to begin industry-wide research and testing on alternative refrigerants next month. “The intent of the program is to help industry select the most promising refrigerants, understand technical challenges, and identify the research needed to use these refrigerants,” said Karim Amrane, AHRI vice president of regulatory and research, as quoted on

(DuPont R-134a (1,1,1,2-Tetrafluoroethane) refrigerant. Picture by Phroziac {{GFDL}} {{cc-by-sa}})The study could pave the way for widespread use of lower Global Warming Potential (GWP) refrigerants in air conditioners, heat pumps, dehumidifiers, chillers, water heaters, ice makers, and refrigeration equipment.

The program is referred to as the Low GWP Alternative Refrigerants Evaluation Program, or Low GWP AREP (either way, it’s a mouthful). AHRI hopes that they can streamline the learning process and avoid duplicating work by initiating cooperative research and testing. They expect the program to accelerate the industry’s response to environmental challenges from the use of high GWP refrigerants.

A technical committee is developing detailed test protocols for compressor calorimeter testing, system drop-in testing, soft-optimized system testing, and heat transfer testing. U.S. and foreign manufacturers will be solicited to participate in the testing program, using their own resources and at their own expense. Heat transfer coefficient measurements will be contracted out to universities and private research laboratories.

We may not see any results from this for a while, but it’s research that could significantly influence the products and services that we provide our customers.