In Australia, various manufacturers use R32 in domestic split-systems air conditioning equipment as it is not an ozone depleting refrigerant and has a lower global warming impact than R410a. It is actually rated as an A2L lower flammability refrigerant under AS/NZS ISO 817:2016.
Under the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989, R32 refrigerant is a controlled substance and as a result, technicians and businesses working with R32 will require an appropriate refrigerant handling licence. A refrigerant trading authorisation is also required to acquire, possess or dispose R32 refrigerant.
Storage – Cylinders
While R32 is a derivative of R410a, it requires a different refrigerant cylinder design pressure, so existing R410a cylinders are not suitable.
Some equipment suppliers are selling dedicated R32 reclaim cylinders which are designed for 6.2MPa.
Health and Safety
R32 is classified as a dangerous goods class 2.1 flammable refrigerant which requires additional handling and storage safeguards compared to the class 2.2 non-flammable refrigerants.
The 2013 Flammable Refrigerants Safety Guide developed by The Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air conditioning and Heating (AIRAH) outlines the occupational health and safety risks associated with refrigeration and air conditioning equipment and systems that use flammable refrigerants. Chapters 11 & 12 cover cylinder handling, storage and transport. To read the guide visit www.airah.org.au/technicalresources