IIAR developing safety standard for CO2

Venturing beyond traditional ammonia systems, group is targeting CO2, low-charge ammonia and commercial applications.

As it continues to branch out from its focus on traditional large-charge ammonia systems, the International Institute of Ammonia Refrigeration (IIAR) is developing a standard for CO2 that will specify criteria for the safe design and operation of CO2 refrigeration systems like cascade and transcritical.

“We hope to complete it a year from now,” said Eric Smith, vice president and technical director of IIAR, during a webinar this week hosted by the Environmental Protection Agency’s GreenChill Partnership.

IIAR is also developing guidelines for low-charge ammonia systems that will enable end users “to be compliant with the [EPA’s] General Duty Clause” for safety, added Smith, who expects the guidelines to be ready in six months. IIAR is based in Alexandria, Va.

On the training front, IIAR’s year-old education program, Academy of Natural Refrigerants, has certified about 100 people who have taken a course on the IIAR-2 operational and safety standard for ammonia refrigeration, which was updated last year. IIAR will add classes on IIAR standards 4, 5 and 8 on installation, start-up and decommissioning, and will introduce courses on CO2 next year, Smith noted.

IIAR’s Ammonia Refrigeration Foundation (ARF) is partnering with the U.S. Department of Defense and RETA (Refrigeration Engineers and Technicians Association) to help military veterans find jobs in the HVAC&R industry, and is also working with Praxair on a diversity grant that would offer opportunities to low-income individuals to “be exposed to our industry,” he said.

Smith acknowledged that while IIAR has traditionally served the industrial refrigeration industry, it “has a real interest in using natural refrigerants for commercial systems”. To that end, the group is “hoping to gain interest from more people in the commercial world”. That was reflected in the venue of the webinar, GreenChill, which works with food retailers to reduce leaks and adopt advanced refrigeration systems.

The IIAR-2 standard’s recent update aims to promote the use of ammonia in the commercial industry, including new information on low-charge packaged systems, Smith said.