Change to hydrocarbon charge limit now to go ahead

Change to hydrocarbon charge limit now to go ahead

In a dramatic turnaround the recent International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) voted to reject increasing the allowable charge for A3 flammable refrigerants (hydrocarbons) from 150 g to approximately 500 g has been overturned. The IEC originally voted against increasing the charge limits under the IEC 60335-2-89 standard by one vote from the observing and participating national committees. However, a procedural issue with the vote from Malaysia has meant that their vote has now been discounted. This has changed the decision from reject to accept. According to IEC rules if a country votes negatively they must provide technical reasons. In the case of Malaysia only editorial comments were provided and so their negative vote should not have counted.

This now means that the refrigerant charge limit under IEC standard 60335-2-89 in self-contained commercial refrigeration cabinets will change. For A3 (flammable) refrigerants the charge limit will be approximately 500 g (from 150 g) and for A2 and A2L (low flammable) refrigerants the charge limit will be a maximum of 1.2 kg (from 150 g).

The change in the IEC standard is likely to be positive news for many manufacturers of small commercial cabinets who previously found it challenging to keep the refrigerant charge below 150 g. The decision has the potential to open up the market for hydrocarbons in small to medium sized cabinets where previously the options to use hydrocarbons were limited.

Do contact us if you would like to know more about application and optimisation of hydrocarbon refrigerants in commercial cabinets. For more information contact Alan Foster at RD&T (

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