Pursuant to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) SNAP program, Final Rule 21, Protection of Stratospheric Ozone: Significant New Alternatives Policy Program New and Changed Listings, lists propane as an acceptable alternative as a refrigerant, subject to use conditions. The new law became effective January 3.

Propane (R-290) is acceptable (subject to use conditions) as a refrigerant in new very low temperature refrigeration equipment, in new self-contained commercial ice machines and in new water coolers. In addition, EPA is exempting propane in these end-uses from the venting prohibition under CAA section 608. (The Clean Air Act allows EPA to exempt specific refrigerants from the venting prohibition where EPA finds that it does not pose a threat to the environment.)

Among the changes, EPA changed the listing status of several refrigerants as unacceptable for use. They include

  • New Centrifugal Chillers. The following refrigerants are unacceptable as of January 1, 2024, except where allowed under a narrowed use limit:  FOR12A, FOR12B, HFC-134a, HFC-227ea, HFC-236fa, HFC-245fa, R-125/134a/600a (28.1/70/1.9), R-125/290/134a/600a (55.0/1.0/42.5/1.5), R-404A,R-407C, R-410A, R-410B, R-417A, R-421A, R-422B, R-422C, R-422D, R-423A, R-424A, R-434A, R-438A, R-507A, RS-44 (2003 composition) and THR-03.  In addition, propylene (R-1270) and R-443A are unacceptable for new centrifugal chillers as of January 3, 2017.
     
  • New Cold Storage Warehouses. The following refrigerants are unacceptable as of January 1, 2023: HFC-227ea, R-125/290/134a/600a (55.0/1.0/42.5/1.5), R-404A, R-407A, R-407B, R-410A, R-410B, R-417A, R-421A, R-421B, R-422A, R-422B, R-422C, R-422D, R-423A, R-424A, R-428A, R-434A, R-438A, R-507A and RS-44 (2003 composition). In addition, propylene (R-1270) and R-443A are unacceptable for new cold storage warehouses as of January 3, 2017.
     
  • New Positive-Displacement Chillers. The following refrigerants are unacceptable as of January 1, 2024, except where allowed under a narrowed use limit: FOR12A, FOR12B, HFC-134a, HFC-227ea, KDD6, R-125/134a/600a (28.1/70/1.9), R-125/290/134a/600a (55.0/1.0/42.5/1.5), R-404A, R-407C, R-410A, R-410B, R-417A, R-421A, R-422B, R-422C, R-422D, R-424A, R-434A, R-437A, R-438A, R-507A, RS-44 (2003 composition), SP34E and THR-03. In addition, propylene (R-1270) and R-443A are unacceptable for new positive-displacement chillers as of January 3, 2017.

Read the rule as reported in the Federal Register at https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2016-12-01/pdf/2016-25167.pdf.