Extension of Danfoss’ flammable refrigerant lab: 3000 m² to drive refrigerant transition and beyond

Thursday, July 19, 2018

The use of flammable refrigerants is expected to increase in the air conditioning and refrigeration industry. Danfoss is therefore expanding its flammable refrigerant lab for compressors located near Lyon, France, where their main R&D and manufacturing site for commercial compressors is located. Here, Danfoss tests new generations of scroll and reciprocating compressors with alternative refrigerants.

Rapid transition

In 1985, a hole in the ozone layer was discovered. Governments around the world leaped into action, recognized the need to control the production and consumption of ozone-depleting substances.

The Montreal Protocol came into force in 1989 following its ratification by several countries, including the European Economic Community. With successive measures to slow down global warming, this protocol prepares for the progressive phase out of HFC refrigerants by 2050. More immediately, the F-gas Regulation requires a 37% reduction of CO2 emissions for the industry in Europe in 2018.

The transition to alternative refrigerants has gained speed since 2017, generating costs related to tests, development, and training for the entire industry. Danfoss’ flammable refrigerant ATEX* lab, which opened in 2011, is one of several strategic investments to manage this change with their OEM partners. This lab, combined with Danfoss’ Applications Development Centers (ADCs), provides flexibility and access to the highest level of component and application expertise in the industry, helping Danfoss’ commercial partners choose the refrigerant option(s) that best meet their needs.

An ATEX technology lab for the transition to flammable refrigerants

The ATEX compressor lab is the first of its kind in Europe and is now the largest, following its expansion to six times its original size. The ATEX certification means that the building and working processes have been designed specifically for Explosive Atmosphere conditions (ATEX) and qualify for management of flammable refrigerants. This installation complements an infrastructure formed by modeling experts and workshops.

France is the ideal place to develop and test new compressors and refrigerants, as it has many highly qualified professionals. Our proximity to our European production unit, at the heart of the most advanced region in terms of transition, fully convinced us,” comments Noel Ryan, President of Danfoss Commercial Compressors.  

This lab enables Danfoss to replicate its full range of tests with refrigerants up to class A3 and help professionals make the transition to A2L / A3 class alternatives (slightly to highly flammable). It has more than 50 test benches, capable of testing compressors from 0.5 to 60 TR (1.76 to 210.97 kW) and parallel compressors from 0.5 to 240 TR (1.76 to 843.84 kW) per circuit. It includes performance test rooms for energy, capacity, and acoustic tests, as well as reliability test rooms for oil and endurance tests.        

“Danfoss is opening the way to a sustainable refrigeration industry. For more than a decade now, we have played an active role and planned ahead for new regulations.  We provide our customers with a high level of flexibility, as there is no single solution, and we develop the most relevant options from a systems point of view for the air-conditioning, commercial heat pump, and refrigeration markets,” adds Noel Ryan.

The inauguration of the ATEX lab is planned for this September.

Further information about Refrigerants is available at www.refrigerants.danfoss.com

More information about Commercial compressors is available at cc.danfoss.com