Chemours Officially Launches Opteon XL41 Refrigerant
by Terry McIver
May 10, 2022 - The Chemours Company announced the official launch of Opteon™ XL41 refrigerant (R-454B) for the North American residential and light commercial ducted HVAC segment. The launch was announced in an hour-long, online press conference featuring Chemours executives and executives from three leading original equipment manufacturers that will be using the refrigerant (Carrier, Johnson Controls and Rheem).
"At Chemours, we’re on the road to a greener world, and the role of the HVACR industry is simply stated: creating cleaner, safer and more efficient technologies," Bellezza said. "In the US, our industry is grappling with the demand to comply with the American Innovation and Manufacturing act, which mandates the phasedown of greenhouse gases, such as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) that have high global warming potential. The destination is long term, energy efficient solutions with lower GWP. These solutions are cost-effective, easy to implement and deliver optimum performance, with minimal impact on the environment.
"Chemours is thrilled to commercially launch Opteon XL41 (R454B) for the North American market, as the new generation solution for our HVAC industry," Bellezza continued. "It’s a high performing, environmentally sustainable replacement for 410A in air conditioner, heat pump, and chiller applications." She then referenced Carrier, Rheem and Johnson Controls, as three original equipment manufacturers who have selected Opteon XL-41 to replace refrigerant R-410A in their ducted residential and light commercial packaged products in North America.
Bellezza provided three reasons why those OEMs selected Opteon XL41:
"First, it's sustainable. When compared with R-410A, Opteon XL41 offers a 78 percent reduction in GWP while improving energy efficiency and lowering charge size," Bellezza said.
Bellezza added that Chemours is dedicated to connecting with its customers during this time when important decisions must be made.
"Next, It’s familiar. With operating temperatures and pressures similar to those of R-410A, it minimizes system design changes and enables and easier transition from R-410A platforms. And third, Chemours is a partner that can be relied on," Bellezza said. "We have made significant investments in our Corpus Christi, Tex. plant site, and have one of the largest global facilities of R1234yf, a key raw material in Opteon XL41. Our customers can trust that we will continue to invest to meet increasing market demands for environmentally sustainable solutions. XL41 delivers the right balance of sustainability, performance and ease for future air conditioning and heat pump applications."
Bellezza added that Chemours is dedicated to connecting with its customers during this time when important decisions must be made, as the clock ticks on both the incremental R-410A phasedown and new HVAC system efficiency standards, which go into effect January 1, 2023.
"Our primary goal is to help our industry smoothly transition from HFCs to our Opteon solutions, achieve more efficient thermal management, and advance enduring solutions that meet today’s demands and tomorrow’s opportunities," she said.
View the entire Opteon XL-41 announcement below. The presentation begins at the 8:52 mark.
Messages were delivered by executives from the original equipment manufacturers that have selected Opteon XL41: Justin Keppy, president, Carrier North American Residential and Light Commercial HVAC Products; Mike Branson, president, Global Air, Rheem Manufacturing Company; and Chris Forth, manager of Johnson Controls' ducted systems regulatory codes and environmental affairs.
Carrier is launching Opteon XL41 as Puron Advance (R-454B). "R-454B is Carrier's primary high performance, sustainable, lower GWP solution to replace R-410A in all of our ducted residential and light commercial packaged solutions in North America. After conducting extensive analysis and testing of low-GWP options, more than 25 field trials and being the first to achieve UL-certification, the choice was clear: R-454B is the best replacement for R-410A," Keppy said. "It provides excellent performance in normal and extreme conditions, lower discharge temperatures, longer reliability and installs and services similar to R-410A with minimal changes to design. As with any new product launch, we urge distributors and technicians to review training materials and ensure compliance with relevant safety standards and building code requirements." Those materials will be made available on Carrier's website.
Mike Branson described Rheem's 'Greater Degree of Good' initiative, which kicked of in 2019, to reduce manufacturing's and shipping's adverse effects on the environment, and how Opteon XL41 will help to support that initiative.
"We are well on the way to achieving our goals and exceeding them in advance of Rheem's 100th anniversary in 2025," Branson said. "Through our own ongoing research, innovation and partnership, including our relationship with Chemours, we are confident that Opteon XL-41 and R-454B refrigerant will help us safely and responsibly transition into the future."
Branson added that Rheem will launch all-new heating and cooling platforms at the end of 2022, to meet 2023 emissions regulations. Transition updates from Rheem can be found at Rheem.com/HVACKnowZone.
Chris Forth provided an update on JCI's transition to low-GWP refrigerants and its selection of R-454B.
"JCI's ducted systems business is in the process of converting all of its unitary offerings and some chillers to utilize Opteon XL41. As the pending deadline of January 1, 2025 is fast approaching, we want to ensure that all stakeholders, including distributors, contractors, building owners and homeowners are aware of the transition," Forth said. "JCI's selection of Opteon XL41 came after extensive research and testing, in which we evaluated several low-GWP alternatives across various metrics, including safety, efficiency, capacity, material compatibility, regulatory longevity and ease of service. XL41 proved to be the best choice when taking all these factors into consideration."
Esther G. Rosenberg, director of regulatory advocacy and sustainability, TSS for The Chemours Company, provided a history of refrigerant regulations and an overview of state and federal refrigeration regulations, the principles of GWP, and all that is behind the monumental shift in refrigerant priorities.
Jeff Warther, training and business development manager for Chemours, provided a review of refrigerant flammability and the testing that is used to determine a refrigerant's safety, and dispelled myths that "all flammable refrigerants are the same." He described how it was determined that XL41 has a lower flammability limit (LFL) of 297, which means low risk.
- The LFL of R-454B is about 8 times higher than that of R-290.
- A2L refrigerants are less likely to form flammable concentrations, allowing a larger charge size for larger applications.
- A2L refrigerants are significantly harder to ignite, and are safer to use with many commonly used electrical components.