Following successful trials at various SAB miller sites, Afrox is now supplying the refrigerant gas Forane® 427A to the brewer’s sites in six countries — Botswana, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Ghana and Zambia. Ultimately all SAB Miller sites will be running with Forane® 427A gas.
The supply is being facilitated through environmental cabinet company Intel-Cab, which is contracted by Dimension Data A1 to provide mobile data centres — Portable Facilities Cabinets (PFC) — to SAB Miller Africa. The Forane® 427A retrofit is part of a bigger solution Intel-Cab is supplying to SAB Miller through Dimension Data.
Forane® 427A is a non-toxic, non-flammable, zero ozone depleting potential (ODP) refrigerant. This innovative refrigerant, which is a 100% HFC (hydrofluorocarbon) blend, achieves optimal performance close to that of the refrigerant R-22, which is being phased out worldwide, without a long and costly rinsing of the circuit, owing to its high tolerance toward residual original oil.
“No modification of the installation is required. Forane® 427A is a simplified retrofit solution for existing R-22 direct expansion installations in a large range of applications. It can be used to retrofit low-temperature refrigeration equipment as well as air-conditioning installations,” says Hlengiwe Ntuli, Afrox Product Manager – Refrigerants. “The next steps will be to set up stockholdings of Forane® 427A in each of the countries using this refrigerant via Afrox’s African presence.”
Intel-Cab’s Alex Morwasi says all the air-conditioning units retrofitted with Forane® 427A are working well and are performing to the same cooling levels as previously achieved with R-22.
“Our brief was to convert all R-22 SAB Miller18000 btu mid-wall split air conditioning units to a greener gas. Initially we looked at replacing the R-22 units with R410A, which is a highly efficient nearly azeotropic mixture in which gases evaporate at nearly the same temperatures and which is not damaging to the ozone layer. However, we were unable to source a system that would fit into our already designed PFCs, which acts as a small computer room.
“When our subsequent research led us to Afrox’s Forane® 427A retrofit, this presented the ideal solution, since none of the pipes or valves would need to be changed. Afrox has supported us all the way, even providing a 50 kg sample of the gas at no cost for our initial trials. Their team’s input has been pivotal to the success of this project.”
The conversion from R-22 to Forane® 427A was carried out by first recovering the precharged refrigerant from the new split air conditioning units, removing the compressors from these units and draining the oil from the compressors. The compressors were then flushed to remove all remaining oil using a cleaning solvent (Note: most of the time, only one oil draining of the installation is recommended as Forane® 427A can tolerate a high residual amount of original oil - up to 10-15% of residual AB or mineral oil – in the POE lubricant while maintaining a good oil return. In some cases, Forane® 427A may even be used without changing the original oil if the system has an oil separator and reliable oil return.). Next, the compressors were charged with new polyol ester synthetic oil (POE) and reinstalled into the air conditioning units. The units were then charged with an amount of Forane® 427A refrigerant equivalent to the R22 initial charge. The removed R-22 product can also be returned to Afrox who has the equipment to clean this product ensuring that the HCFCs are not released into the atmosphere.
In terms of the Montreal Protocol, users of the HCFC R-22 in the European Union were subject to a usage and sales ban on virgin product on ozone depleting potential gases from the beginning of 2010. This is being followed by a complete phase-out of HCFCs by 2040. South Africa is also a signatory to the Protocol and local companies who currently import refrigerants containing virgin HCFCs will face heavy restrictions from 2013, in preparation for a similar phase-out.
“Forane® 427A has been tried and trusted in Europe and the United States for the past eight years and is backed up by readily available technical resources,” says Ntuli.
Forane® 427A is manufactured by Arkema in France, a world leading diversified producer of specialty chemicals and longstanding supplier of refrigerants to Afrox and its parent company, The Linde Group.
Issued by: Serendipity Events, Promotions & Exhibitions
On behalf of: Afrox
Editorial contact: Loll Thomson (011) 467 2133 / Mail to: loll@
Client contact: Hlengiwe Ntuli / Mail to: Hlengiwe.Ntuli@
Date: 12th February 2013