A commercial refrigerant proving to be an effective replacement for R-22 has found success in a variety of temperature-critical refrigeration applications. According to Arkema in Philadelphia, its Forane 427A refrigerant has stepped in to fill the slot for R-22, which is being phased out of industry use due to regulatory concerns.

The baby food preparation room at Canadian food manufacturer Les Aliments La Mère Poule of Saint-Léonard, Quebec, previously was cooled by an R-22 refrigeration system using a semi-hermetic, reciprocating compressor with a rooftop-mounted condenser, and a ceiling-mounted evaporator assembly. A quick change of the compressor oil to POE, replacement of the system filters, and deep evacuation were performed to accommodate 427A. No changes in settings were required for the expansion valves, pressure controls, or other system components, Arkema says.The retrofit installation demonstrated overall system performance comparable to R-22, Arkema reports.

According to La Mère Poule, overall system performance was nearly indistinguishable from the system's prior performance with R-22. Operating pressures with Forane 427A were close to those measured for R-22, while compressor discharge temperatures and amperage draw were both lower.

The 427A refrigerant, which is U.S. Environmental Protection Agency SNAP-approved, is an easy-to-use, non-ozone-depleting HFC refrigerant. It has one of the lowest global warming potentials of any R-22 retrofit refrigerants available today, Arkema says. Performance similar to that of R-22 can be achieved without a complete oil change because of the high tolerance of 427A to residual original oil (mineral or alkylbenzene) according to the company.