Microwell is expecting a major milestone coming this year - launching our first heat pumps with ecological refrigerant - R32 - Microwell Green line.
Microwell decided to take this step on the basis of current European standards and also because we care about the environment. We are truly aware that continuously increasing concentration of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere can no longer be ignored.
Without an effective reduction of emission of these gases, there is a big likelihood to face extreme weather fluctuations in the near future. The European Commission has therefore decided to act and started to gradually reduce the use of GHGs with a higher global warming potential - GWP (further info on GWP here).
What is the difference between R32 and R410A refrigerant types?
R410A refrigerant belongs to the category of fluorine greenhouse gases, which represent a combination of two components in a 1: 1 ratio.
To specify in more details, R410A refrigerant is composed of R125 refrigerant (50%) and R32 refrigerant (50%). In general, R125 is characterized by weaker thermodynamic features and high GWP, but is non-flammable.
In contrast, R32 offers low GWP and very good thermodynamic properties, but is slightly flammable.
Thus, the composition of R410A suggests that the additional R125 component is used for safety reasons and for elimination of moderate flammability of R32. However, the addition of this component then logically results in some deterioration in the thermal properties of the air conditioners, not even to mention GWP growth. R410A has a GWP of 2090 and R32 itself has a GWP of 675.
The one-component refrigerant R32 has excellent thermodynamic properties and as already mentioned, it has excellent values. Its use in heat pumps and in air conditioners offers a whole new range of possibilities, as these devices are about 1.5 times more efficient. Furthermore, there is a possibility to reduce the volume of the refrigerant by up to 30% in the heat pump with the same performance. Another indisputable advantage is the possibility of easier filling of the refrigerant in case of leakage. This is because of the composition. R410A is a mixture of two different density refrigerants, making it more complicated to replenish.
Is R32 dangerously flammable?
As mentioned above, the R32 refrigerant is listed as slightly flammable. More specifically, according to European standards ISO5419, ISO817 and EN378, R32 is classified as A2L - slightly flammable. However, manufacturer claims that the refrigerant is completely reliable and meets all safety requirements. Fortunately, all the experiences so far have been giving this claim definite truth. R32 refrigerant has been used in about 5 million heat pumps and air conditioning units since 2013, and so far there has been no single case directly related to refrigerant ignition.