Environmental Simulation Systems Without F-gas.

Weiss Technik switches to R744 (CO2)

The revised EU regulation on fluorinated greenhouse gases has been in force since 11 March 2024. With the introduction of the "self-contained refrigeration systems" device category, all environmental simulation devices will have to be converted to new refrigerants by January 2025 instead of 2030 as planned. Exceptions only apply because of "security requirements".

The new GWP limit of 150 is only achievable with flammable gases or CO2 (R744). Since temperature and climate test chambers contain a high-performance heating system in addition to a chiller, flammable refrigerants cannot be used. Weiss Technik already demonstrated this with the introduction of R469A/WT69 in 2019 and had its own refrigerants certified as A1 (non-flammable, non-toxic). At that time, components for CO2 were not available for typical device sizes or were very expensive. In recent years, this has changed. The prevailing pressure in CO2 refrigeration systems (57 bar at 20°C) requires high-pressure components up to 120 bar. These have been available for several months in the quality required for sophisticated environmental simulation systems and have already been tested by Weiss Technik for more than 8,000 hours each. Test chambers powered exclusively by CO2 are now being delivered to beta testers.

R744 (CO2) is a very powerful refrigerant that has many advantages up to its physical limit at -56°C. Components are smaller and therefore more energy-efficient. The noise level of the test chambers is lower. The acquisition costs are lower compared to complex -70°C cascade systems. The F-Gas Regulation does not apply to pure CO2 refrigeration systems, so the leakage tests prescribed there are no longer necessary.

For devices filled with F-gases, the leak detection obligation continues to apply, and it has even been tightened. After a repair, it is now necessary to wait at least 24 hours before the mandatory leakage test is performed.

Weiss Technik will convert a large part of its products to CO2 with GWP 1 by the end of 2024. Customers must be prepared for the discontinuation of many unit models with today's refrigerants in the course of the year. Depending on the delivery time, orders can still be placed until autumn, but delivery must still take place in 2024. Weiss Technik will provide details at our "Expert Day" events in October 2024.