Environmental concerns driving industry change
A disruptive change is currently underway in the heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC-R) market, global safety science company UL states.
Driven by environmental concerns, global promoters are advocating the phase-out of traditional refrigerants in favour of new alternatives with a lower global warming potential.
For example, commonly used refrigerants are coresponsible for global warming, therefore, the company says alternative refrigerants are necessary.
It turns out – UL HVAC global business development manager Nils Meinhardt notes – that most of the alternatives are flammable which puts the industry at the forefront of new challenges and risks.
To mitigate and handle the risks related to flammable refrigerants, a risk assessment is essential. Valid statements on risks and their probability of occurrence can only be obtained through detailed physical tests.
However, these physical tests are costly and time-consuming and as such, most manufacturers will switch to not carrying out all conceivable tests but limit themselves to certain plausible risks.
Meanwhile, computer simulation can be used, for example, to check all types of leakage from an HVAC-R system.
Therefore, decisive parameters including the location, rate of gas leakage and the position of the ignition source can be simulated and changed freely to evaluate the effect of different scenarios in very short time, therefore allowing the manufacturer to identify the lowest risk.
Further, UL’s technical experts are thought leaders in this space and can offer assistance from the earliest stage of product development to installation and global market navigation.
The company’s services are designed to be modular, allowing clients to benefit from UL’s expertise when they need it most.