Since the Montreal Protocol mandated the phase-out of CFCs many years ago, Trane’s Engineered Conversion™ program enabled existing installed chillers to operate with the lower ozone depleting alternatives. The program methodology, however, entailed far more than simply addressing compatibility issues and retrofitting the refrigerant. Rather, our engineering approach was to consider the current system dynamics and loads and re-design the equipment from a manufacturing perspective to deliver the desired optimum characteristics for the site whether that was full load efficiency, cooling capacity or part load operation. As a result of this comprehensive approach to the refrigerant phase-out challenge, the vast majority of the equipment converted by Trane over the past two decades continues to operate as or more reliably and efficiently than when they were initially installed.
The industry is now in the beginnings of a second wave or evolution to refrigerant alternatives that are not only non-ozone depleting, but also possess very low global warming potentials. Trane, with the largest installed base of water chillers in the world, has extended the Engineered Conversion™ principle to this next generation of refrigerants including R-514a which has been designed to take lower pressure equipment currently operating on R-123 to the next phase in its life cycle.