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Honeywell announces “breakthrough” non-flammable AC refrigerant

Honeywell has announced a new non-flammable refrigerant called Solstice N41 for stationary air conditioning systems that it says could replace R410A, and could also potentially be a rival for R32.

The HFC phase-down has prompted the search for alternatives to high global warming potential (GWP) gases such as R410A. At present, many original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) have switched to the lower GWP refrigerant R32. However, R32’s rating of A2L (mildly flammable) means it is not a completely straightforward replacement.

Solstice N41, also known as R466A, is believed to have a GWP comparable to R32 but with the added advantage of being non-flammable. Although it is still undergoing ASHRAE certification, it has been given a preliminary designation of A1 (non-flammable, non-toxic).

“The innovation comes after years of research and development by Honeywell scientists, who set out to address one of the most vexing regulatory and safety challenges facing the HVAC industry,” the company says. “All other alternatives proposed to date are flammable and require cumbersome changes to safety standards and building codes.”

Honeywell has stopped short of calling Solstice N41 a “drop-in” replacement for R410A, but it does claim that switching over “would require minimal changes to equipment and no additional training for installation and repair technicians. Preliminary data indicates that the refrigerant may allow OEMs to easily convert from R410A.”

“What we created and developed in Solstice N41 is nothing short of a breakthrough,” says Sanjeev Rastogi, Honeywell vice president and general manager of fluorine products. “It is an incredibly promising product that is poised to solve a key problem and become the next global standard for refrigerants.”

Solstice N41 is expected to be commercially available next year.

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