Well folks one of the big dogs in the refrigerated transport market, Carrier Transicold, has begun offering R-452A as an alternative refrigerant for their trucks here in America. Most everyone already saw this coming due to their competition, Thermo King, had already begun switching their trucks over to 452A as well. For those of you who do not know these two companies are the kings when it comes to refrigerated transport. When they decide to make a change then the whole industry will change with them.
Both Carrier and Thermo King had been offering R-452A as an alternative in the European Union since 2015, and now that choice is available here in the United States. Notice how I said choice. As of today there are no regulations or planned phase outs of R-404A in the transportation market. 404A is being phased out in other applications such as super market freezers and vending machines but there is not an announced plan to phase it out yet on refrigerated trucks yet…
All that being said it is only a matter of time before EPA regulations work their way towards phasing out 404A for the Carrier market. If you’re going to be purchasing a new unit then I would recommend going with the 452A option. It may be more expensive then what you are used to today but it is an investment for the future and may end up saving you money down the road.
What is R-452A?
R-452A is one of the newer HFO refrigerants. HFO stands for HydroFluroOlefin. These refrigerants are rather new to the market and have started to become more popular due to the benefits they offer when comparing them to the common place CFC, HCFC, and HFC refrigerants. Even today new HFO refrigerants are being developed in the labs at Honeywell and Chemours.
R-452A, or Chemour’s Opteon XP44, is designed to be as a drop-in replacement for R-404A or R-507. The compressor discharge temperature and the flow rate are a near match to 404A/507. That means that you don’t have to the trouble of retrofitting. This is a much easier transition then the whole R-22 to R-410A fiasco. (Please note that before attempting to drop in the 452A refrigerant to call Carrier or Thermo King to ensure that your model doesn’t need component retrofits or software updates. Better to be safe then sorry.)
452A has a zero O-Zone depletion potential. There is no Chlorine involved so there is no risk there. On top of that the 452A has nearly half the Global Warming Potential of 404A. 404 has a GWP of 3,922 times the amount of Carbon Dioxide while the new 452A comes in at 2,141. Obviously, this isn’t the perfect solution and we still have a long ways to go but having the ability to cut the GWP in half on all transport, supermarkets, and vending machines is huge. The bad thing about this is that when the new HFO refrigerant comes out with a GWP of under 1,000 we will have to go through this whole process yet again.
Where Can I Buy R-452A or XP44?
At this time R-452A isn’t too popular yet and because of that it makes it hard to find. If you have direct contact with The Chemours company then I would reach out to them but you may have to buy a few cylinders instead of just one at a time. However, if you are like most of us and don’t have contracts established with the refrigerant manufacturers then you will have to go through a refrigerant distributor or by contacting Thermo King or Carrier Transicold directly.
If you are still having trouble finding a source let me know by following this link and filling out the purchase form. I will look around and reach out to some of my distributors to see if I can get you a source.
Rather you like it or not HFO refrigerants, like the 452A, are going to be the refrigerants of the future. With each year the slow creep and phase out of HFC refrigerants advances and as the HFCs start to fade away the new HFO refrigerants are beginning to take the lime light. As I write this today there are alternatives to R-134a that are becoming more and more popular with US automobile manufacturers. An alternative to R-410A is still being developed but it is only a matter of time before we go through the massive switch again.
If you’re a tech who ends up working quite a bit on supermarket freezers, vending machines, or even a mechanic who will be sticking his hands in on the Carrier/Themo units then I would recommend getting familiar with R-452A and what to expect. For more information on XP44/R-452A check out some of my source links below.