Towards a low emissions future

Use of hydrocarbon refrigerants

Any organisation considering using flammable refrigerants should refer to this informative infographics chart which provides an overview of the regulatory and quasi-regulatory instruments that control the use and handling of flammable refrigerants in different jurisdictions around Australia.

Refrigerants Australia is technology neutral and fully recognises that a broad range of refrigerants will be used in the future to meet demand. 

This includes natural refrigerants, where there are recognised barriers to their timely, effective and appropriate introduction.  Accordingly, Refrigerants Australia has established a Natural Refrigerants Working Group to assist companies to identify and overcome barriers to the use of natural refrigerants in Australia. 

Topics to be considered include safety regulation, training and licensing.  Other topics will also be considered on an as-needed basis.

Policy on use of hydrocarbon refrigerants as drop-in replacements for stationary and mobile refrigeration and air-conditioning applications

The use of hydrocarbon refrigerants as a drop-in replacement is prohibited in most countries in the world because of safety concerns.

For mobile applications, no mainstream vehicle manufacturer in the world has developed a safe system for the use of hydrocarbon refrigerant in any vehicle and most have long since abandoned any investigation of this type of system because of the risk factor.

Incidents leading to injury and death have been reported in various countries as a result of using hydrocarbon refrigerant in stationary equipment not designed for it.

Refrigerants Australia advises the service industry not to use hydrocarbons in any refrigeration or air conditioning system not specifically designed for it, or where its use is not approved by the equipment manufacturer.

There is currently no approved, or safe, procedure for a mixture of a hydrocarbon refrigerant with other refrigerants to be removed from equipment. This has been the source of some concern because of the potential for unnecessary emissions of potent global warming gases.

Added in December 2020

The report commissioned by Refrigerants Australia to consider the regulation of flammable refrigerants in Australia was delivered in December 2020. It provides an overview of the regulatory and quasi-regulatory instruments which control the use and handling of flammable refrigerants in the different jurisdictions around the country. It also highlights key themes and gaps within the regulatory landscape.
The table of regulations of flammable refrigerants can be found on Page 22 of the report.
Added in November 2022:

Worksafe New Zealand has released an excellent summary of the regulations that apply to the use of hydrocarbon refrigerants. It notes that the refrigerants being introduced to replace HFCs and HCFCs are often hydrocarbons which are flammable. This is leading to the regulation of the importation, exportation and use of those refrigerants. This document also contains links to flammable refrigerant fact sheets and safety guides. DOWNLOAD THE STATEMENT