Evaluation of Safe Refrigerant Charge Limits for Flammable Refrigerants

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Lead Performer: Oak Ridge National Laboratory – Oak Ridge, Tennessee
Partners:
-- AHRI – Arlington, Virginia
-- ASHRAE – Atlanta, Georgia
-- Convergent Science – Madison, Wisconsin
-- Jensen-Hughes – Baltimore, Maryland
DOE Total Funding: $1,000,000
FY17 DOE Funding: $1,000,000
Cost Share: $0 direct; in-kind contribution by ASHRAE to host October 2016 workshop and by AHRI Flammable Refrigerants subcommittee members to attend workshop and project review meetings
Project Term: June 2016 – November 2017
Funding Type: Lab Award

Project Objective

Oak Ridge National Laboratory is investigating the scientific basis of appropriate flammable refrigerant charge limits and mitigation tactics. This project team has performed a literature review to analyze key technology gaps and missing information. Then, a series of tests and companion computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations for relevant cases were performed to calibrate the CFD models. The calibrated models will be used in parametric investigations of a range of equipment and refrigerant leak cases.  Results will be used to generate recommendations for revising charge limits currently used in safety standards and will be documented in a final report and journal publications.

Project Impact

This project will provide the HVAC&R industry with suggested scientifically based appropriate flammable refrigerant charge limits and appropriate mitigation strategies to ensure the safe use of efficient and environmentally friendly refrigerants. This project will enable the widespread use of environmentally friendly, higher-efficiency refrigerants for different applications with the potential of up to 10% reduction in energy consumption and up to 90% reduction in direct global warming potential.

Contacts

DOE Technology Manager: Antonio Bouza
Lead Performer: Omar Abdelaziz, Oak Ridge National Laboratory 

Related Publications

O. A. Abdelaziz, “Flammability Risk Assessment of Alternative Flammable Refrigerants,” presented at 2017 DOE/BTO Peer Review Meeting, March 13-16, 2017, Washington, DC.

Patel, V. K., Abu-Heiba, A., Baxter, V., Abdelaziz, A. draft Journal article, “Review of Flammable Refrigerant Charge Limits and Leak Studies,” to be submitted in 2017.