Technical
Renewable
Understanding the benefits of R32 refrigerant in heat pumps
  |  
Understanding the benefits of R32 refrigerant in heat pumps
R32 refrigerant helps products, such as air source heat pumps, operate more cleanly and effectively.

Grant’s fourth generation of air source heat pumps use R32 refrigerant which is more environmentally friendly compared to other traditional refrigerants. To help Grant heat pump installers further their understanding of this refrigerant, John Morris, one of Grant UK’s Renewable Business Development Managers, explores in this blog the wider range of benefits that R32 refrigerant can deliver.

F-Gas Regulations compliant
Renewable heating products, such as air source heat pumps, are growing in popularity and, over the coming months and years, demand for renewable technologies will further increase as the Government brings about measures to deliver its Clean Growth Strategy to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Manufacturers are therefore striving to develop their products, incorporating design changes to improve efficiencies and make their renewable heating products as green as possible. This is one of the reasons why R32 refrigerant is being used in more and more air source heat pumps.

The other driving force behind the increased use of R32 refrigerant is EU legislation which remains in place here in the UK, despite Brexit. The 2014 EU Fluorinated Greenhouse Gas (F-Gas) Regulations is legislation designed to phase down the use of hydrofluorocarbons, with the introduction of a series of targets which are designed to limit the use of gases which have the highest Global Warming Potential (GWP). GWP is a value given to greenhouse gases (including HFC refrigerants) which indicates their greenhouse effect and impact on the atmosphere. R32 refrigerant has a GWP which is considerably lower than other typical heat pump refrigerants, such as R410a, so it complies with the legislative targets currently set by the F-Gas regulations.

Green credentials
Remaining on the subject of GWP, R32 refrigerant has a GWP of 675 which is 70% lower than the GWP value of R410a refrigerant. It has a less harmful effect on the atmosphere with lower carbon emissions and, furthermore, R32 refrigerant has zero ozone depleting potential as well. R32 refrigerant is therefore more environmentally friendly and it helps increase the sustainability of the products it is used within.

Let us now turn to the make-up of this refrigerant. R32 is a single-component refrigerant which means it has no temperature glide. Refrigerant blends that have two or more components exhibit temperature glide but as R32 only has one molecule in its formation, its saturated liquid and vapor temperatures are the same. By removing the risk for the refrigerant to suffer from glide, the system can recharge and recycle with greater ease. This means that R32 refrigerant not only increases system efficiency (please see below) but less of the refrigerant is needed during operation, further reducing emissions.

High efficiencies & lower energy costs
A key benefit that R32 refrigerant can deliver is greatly improved efficiencies. Its ability to enable a heat pump to recharge and recycle more effectively than some other refrigerants means that the heat pump can run at much higher efficiencies. A more efficient heat pump is greener in operation, uses less energy and can help households reduce their energy bills.

To give specific examples of these high efficiencies in practice, we can look at Grant’s Aerona³ R32 heat pump range. The Aerona³ R32 13kW model achieves a SCOP of 5.41 (at 35ºC), a value which indicates that for each kW of electricity used to run the unit, the heat pump will produce over 5 times the amount of heat. These high performances can in turn realise higher financial returns for homeowners who claim the Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive. A heat pump which has a greater SCOP is producing more heat output for each unit of energy used which can result in higher RHI payments compared to those heat pumps with lower SCOP values.

Hopefully this blog has served to deliver some insight into R32 refrigerant, exploring its green, more sustainable credentials and understanding how these benefits extend into the products it is used within.

Please click here to discover more about Grant’s Aerona³ R32 air source heat pumps.

John Morris
Renewables Business Development Manager at Grant UK