A-gas, the UK-based refrigerants supplier, is urging the refrigeration corporation to switch to low global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants, before shortages of favoured R404A hits the industry.

R404A is the most widely used refrigerant in the industry, but is coming under greater scrutiny due to its high GWP. A-gas is suggesting switching to Solstice® N40 (R-448A) and Opteon® XP40 (R-449A), which both have lower GWPs and can offer improvements in energy efficiency.

A-gas claims the new refrigerants can save between 5-10% on the running costs when used in large cold store operations, and states they have lower discharge temperatures – below 100°C – meaning compressors could have a longer lifespan.

Supplies of R404A will shrink over the next two years and by 2018 there simply won’t be enough to go around.

John Ormerod, A-Gas Managing Director, said: “Time is running out but some contractors are still ignoring the fact that supplies of R404A will shrink over the next two years and by 2018 there simply won’t be enough to go around. It is no good making the switch at the last minute – there is a huge bank of equipment out there which will have to be updated with low GWP refrigerants.”

“The low GWP credentials of Opteon XP40 and Solstice N40 – a more than two-thirds reduction on R404A – make them an obvious choice for those considering a change of refrigerants. They are also very closely matched to R404A in terms of their refrigeration capacity.”

The EU introduced regulations on the use of fluorinated greenhouse gases (F gases) like hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and sulphur hexaflouride (SF6), at the end of 2014.

The regulation affects anyone who manufactures, uses or services equipment that contains F gases, like refrigeration and air conditioning systems, solvents or aerosols, produces or wholesales F gas, imports or exports F gas, or equipment containing F gas, to or from the EU.