In an effort to evaluate the high global warming potential of refrigerants, AHRI has launched a new refrigerant research program.

The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute reports that this new cooperative research program will identify and evaluate promising alternative refrigerants for major product categories. These include air conditioners, heat pumps, dehumidifiers, chillers, water heaters, ice makers and refrigeration equipment.

The endeavor, referred to as the Low GWP (global-warming potential) Alternative Refrigerants Evaluation Program, will research refrigerants.

AHRI said the association successfully managed the original R-22 alternative refrigerants evaluation program in the 1990s, and will again take the lead in coordinating and managing the effort along with industry experts from member companies.

“The intent of the program is to help industry select the most promising refrigerants, understand technical challenges, and identify the research needed to use these refrigerants,” said Karim Amrane, AHRI vice president of regulatory policy and research. “The program will not prioritize these alternatives; rather, it will identify potential refrigerants replacements for high-GWP HFCs (hydrofluorocarbons), and present the performance of these replacements in a consistent and standard manner.”

The program will consist of compressor calorimeter testing, system drop-in testing, soft-optimized system testing, and heat-transfer testing. All tests other than heat-transfer co-efficient measurements are expected to be performed at participating companies’ laboratories, using their own resources at their own expense. Participating companies will include American and international manufacturers. The heat-transfer co-efficient measurements will be contracted out on a competitive basis to universities and private research laboratories.

AHRI expects to begin testing this month.