In September, AHRI’s research arm, the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Technology Institute (AHRTI), was selected by the U.S. Department of Energy for a $2.1 million funding award to conduct essential research on low global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants. AHRTI will lead a research program in collaboration with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), to establish a database for the thermal and chemical stability of low-GWP refrigerants with lubricants and their long-term compatibility with materials commonly used in air conditioning and refrigeration systems.

Oak Ridge will develop heat transfer and pressure drop correlations for new refrigerants, which will be used for designing and optimizing heat exchangers. NIST will measure property data of low-GWP refrigerant blends and incorporate them into the NIST database. This more accurate blend data will be used to improve confidence in the selection and optimization of blends for particular applications.

The AHRI Research and Technology (R&T) Committee recently approved funding for a project that will evaluate the load-based testing approach for unitary products. The R&T Committee also recommended an assessment of the following research needs:

  • Low emission combustion technologies
  • Common venting
  • Electrification and decarbonization for gas-fired products
  • Refrigerant leak rates for installed equipment
  • Low-GWP refrigerant heat transfer characteristics
  • Low-GWP refrigerant property
  • Low-GWP refrigerant material compatibility and lubricant research

As one of the AHRI Standing Committees, the R&T Committee administers the AHRI research program, recommends and takes measures to promote research activities that strengthen the industry’s competitive position across the globe.