The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) has voted to increase the charge limits of flammable A3 hydrocarbon refrigerants, such as propane, in commercial refrigeration equipment.
This is an interim vote, meaning that the change must still go through other steps before it is enacted as a global standard. If there are no obstacles that could happen as soon as early 2019. It would then be up to individual countries to adopt the standard.
The proposed increase is from 150g to 500g. Currently, the charge limit restricts the range of applications for these refrigerants to smaller capacity units. The increase could see hydrocarbons being used in larger refrigeration and air conditioning systems.
Marek Zgliczynski, chair of the IEC SC61C subcommittee and manager of commercial refrigeration product engineering for Embraco said: “IEC-89 standard CDV was voted [on and] approved with a 75 per cent ‘yes’.”
He later also said “the battle is not over yet” with regards to the increase eventually becoming the international standard.
Despite national committees on the IEC voting 75 per cent in favor, there was speculation that it might not be approved by minimum required 67 per cent.
The next step in the process will take place during the next SC615 subcommittee meeting in Busan, South Korea, in October. There, the subcommittee from the IEC will decide whether the charge-limit draft should go to the final vote phase, which would happen before the end of 2018.