Refrigerant, Lubricant, Retrofit, Reliability, Stability
The refrigeration and air conditioning industry still struggle on a global level to identify a unified direction on next generation lower global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants. This includes what to do for original equipment changeover and retrofit change outs. Refrigerant suppliers are scrambling today to introduce their options to the market, some refrigerants have gained a foothold while others are still being evaluated or developed. Issues like refrigerant flammability levels, charge size restrictions and overall stability have limited a timely and smooth transition to lower GWP options. Despite the unknown situation, lubricant suppliers need to be ready with whatever direction is initiated with the ability to maintain current levels of standards for energy efficiency and reliability. This paper will examine the market through the eyes of a lubricant supplier with focus on how interaction and stabilization of the refrigerant and lubricant within a system needs to be evaluated and potentially improved due to the choice of refrigerants. Emphasis will be placed on finding lubricant and lubricant additive combinations that help to maintain HFC like expected performance with next generation refrigerants in various applications. Lower GWP refrigerant candidates will be evaluated, along with approaches to identifying lubricant formulations that are fit to be used in numerous situations and applications. A variety of testing methods using specialized equipment and techniques will be outlined with various lower GWP refrigerants and lubricant chemistries.