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Increasing the R290 Charge Limit for Integral Display Cases

A 2022 product standard from the EU Commission increased the charge limit for most flammable A3 refrigerants from 150g to 500g in self-contained cabinets, accelerating the transition to natural refrigerants in commercial refrigeration. Β For mildly flammable alternatives (A2 and A2L), the limit increased from 150g to 1.2kg.
Refrigerated Display Cabinet

The Background

In August 2022, the EN60335-2-89 standard for display case cabinets was published by the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC) and would be harmonised with the machinery directive 2006/42/EC after publication in the Official Journal which was expected by the end of 2022.

This new revision developed the concept of building an integral display case with a propane charge of up to 500g. This is one further step towards a broader adoption of R290 and will facilitate its use in commercial refrigeration.Β 

Recent Changes

Although the retail industry has already installed cabinets with 500g circuits based on the standard EN378, the release of this product standard will facilitate the adoption of single circuit cabinets, allowing for a more systematic approach to accelerate the transition to natural refrigerants in commercial refrigeration.

The EU Commission listed new EN -89 in the list of harmonized standards with the Machine Directive. Manufacturers from now can consider it for presumption of conformity to this directive

The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) revised its safety standard IEC 60335-2-89, and increased the charge limit for flammable refrigerants in self-contained commercial refrigeration appliances.

This is important news, as the move to low GWP refrigerants will mean commercial refrigeration will make increasing use of flammable refrigerants like propane (R290) and isobutane (R600a).

The charge limits have increased from 150g to 500g for the most flammable A3 refrigerants. For mildly flammable alternatives (A2 and A2L), the limit has increased from 150g to 1.2kg.

Refrigerant Gauges

Calculating Charge Size Based on Room Size

The new, higher limits only apply to some applications, and only in rooms of a certain size. They will also take time to be reflected in revisions to national-level regulations.Β 

The maximum charge size is restricted by the size of the room. The minimum room size (in m2) is equal to:
  • The refrigerant charge (in kg), divided by
  • One quarter of the LFL* (in kg/m3) multiplied by 2.2 (the assumed height of the room)
Example oneΒ 
A system with 153g of R290 would require a minimum floor area of:Β 
0.153kg / 2.2m x (0.25 x 0.038kg/m3) = 7.3m2

Example two
A system with 494g of R290 would require a minimum floor area of:
0.494kg / 2.2m x (0.25 x 0.038kg/m3) = 23.6m2

Previous restrictions only allowed for 4 x LFL of R290. That is 4 x 0.038 = 0.152kg (152g)
The updated restrictions now allow for 13 x LFL of R290. That is 13 x 0.038 = 0.494kg (494g)

The revised IEC 60335-2-89 flammable refrigerant rules apply to appliances where the compressor is contained inside the main appliance housing.

*lower flammable limit
Colorimeter
Refrigerant flammability parameters including Lower Flammable Limit for R290 and R600
Here is an extract from the FGAS - EU Legislation Update:-

NOTE The test is not carried out on motor-compressors complying with IEC 60335-2-34.22.110 The refrigerant charge of flammable refrigerant in appliances with an incorporated refrigerant unit or motor-compressor shall not exceed 13 times the LFL of the flammable refrigerant or 1.2 kg in any refrigerating circuit, whichever is smaller.Β 

The LFL is expressed in kg/m3. The LFL values for refrigerants are given in Table 102.

Other Restrictions

Other restrictions include:
  • Remote condensing units should not have more than 150g of flammable refrigerant in any one refrigerating circuit.
  • Systems with flammable refrigerant must be hermetically sealedβ€”so soldered connections are acceptable but flare connections are not. Other connections, such as O-rings and Schraeder service valves may be acceptable, depending on their design.
  • The rules only apply to refrigerants with a density mass heavier than air, so will sink if they leak.
  • When the system runs, it should not generate excessive vibration in the compressor or the piping that leads to it.Β 
The flammable refrigerant charge limits in IEC 60335-2-89 are per circuit. It is possible to have a greater charge in a system if there are multiple circuits. This is considered safe, as the main risk is from a leak rather than an ignition in the system itself.

The manufacturer must ensure the calculations are correct and that the unit is labelled correctly, in a way that meets the standard. But it is the responsibility of the user to ensure the unit is installed in a way that complies with the regulations.



Article published:
31/10/2023
Written by Mervin Chumun, Technical & Applications Manager

More Recent Articles

More About Commercial Refrigeration

Increasing the R290 Charge Limit for Integral Display Cases

A 2022 product standard from the EU Commission increased the charge limit for most flammable A3 refrigerants from 150g to 500g in self-contained cabinets, accelerating the transition to natural refrigerants in commercial refrigeration. Β For mildly flammable alternatives (A2 and A2L), the limit increased from 150g to 1.2kg.
Refrigerated Display Cabinet

The Background

In August 2022, the EN60335-2-89 standard for display case cabinets was published by the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC) and would be harmonised with the machinery directive 2006/42/EC after publication in the Official Journal which was expected by the end of 2022.

This new revision developed the concept of building an integral display case with a propane charge of up to 500g. This is one further step towards a broader adoption of R290 and will facilitate its use in commercial refrigeration.Β 

Recent Changes

Although the retail industry has already installed cabinets with 500g circuits based on the standard EN378, the release of this product standard will facilitate the adoption of single circuit cabinets, allowing for a more systematic approach to accelerate the transition to natural refrigerants in commercial refrigeration.

The EU Commission listed new EN -89 in the list of harmonized standards with the Machine Directive. Manufacturers from now can consider it for presumption of conformity to this directive

The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) revised its safety standard IEC 60335-2-89, and increased the charge limit for flammable refrigerants in self-contained commercial refrigeration appliances.

This is important news, as the move to low GWP refrigerants will mean commercial refrigeration will make increasing use of flammable refrigerants like propane (R290) and isobutane (R600a).

The charge limits have increased from 150g to 500g for the most flammable A3 refrigerants. For mildly flammable alternatives (A2 and A2L), the limit has increased from 150g to 1.2kg.

Refrigerant Gauges

Calculating Charge Size Based on Room Size

The new, higher limits only apply to some applications, and only in rooms of a certain size. They will also take time to be reflected in revisions to national-level regulations.Β 

The maximum charge size is restricted by the size of the room. The minimum room size (in m2) is equal to:
  • The refrigerant charge (in kg), divided by
  • One quarter of the LFL* (in kg/m3) multiplied by 2.2 (the assumed height of the room)
Example oneΒ 
A system with 153g of R290 would require a minimum floor area of:Β 
0.153kg / 2.2m x (0.25 x 0.038kg/m3) = 7.3m2

Example two
A system with 494g of R290 would require a minimum floor area of:
0.494kg / 2.2m x (0.25 x 0.038kg/m3) = 23.6m2

Previous restrictions only allowed for 4 x LFL of R290. That is 4 x 0.038 = 0.152kg (152g)
The updated restrictions now allow for 13 x LFL of R290. That is 13 x 0.038 = 0.494kg (494g)

The revised IEC 60335-2-89 flammable refrigerant rules apply to appliances where the compressor is contained inside the main appliance housing.

*lower flammable limit
Colorimeter
Refrigerant flammability parameters including Lower Flammable Limit for R290 and R600
Here is an extract from the FGAS - EU Legislation Update:-

NOTE The test is not carried out on motor-compressors complying with IEC 60335-2-34.22.110 The refrigerant charge of flammable refrigerant in appliances with an incorporated refrigerant unit or motor-compressor shall not exceed 13 times the LFL of the flammable refrigerant or 1.2 kg in any refrigerating circuit, whichever is smaller.Β 

The LFL is expressed in kg/m3. The LFL values for refrigerants are given in Table 102.

Other Restrictions

Other restrictions include:
  • Remote condensing units should not have more than 150g of flammable refrigerant in any one refrigerating circuit.
  • Systems with flammable refrigerant must be hermetically sealedβ€”so soldered connections are acceptable but flare connections are not. Other connections, such as O-rings and Schraeder service valves may be acceptable, depending on their design.
  • The rules only apply to refrigerants with a density mass heavier than air, so will sink if they leak.
  • When the system runs, it should not generate excessive vibration in the compressor or the piping that leads to it.Β 
The flammable refrigerant charge limits in IEC 60335-2-89 are per circuit. It is possible to have a greater charge in a system if there are multiple circuits. This is considered safe, as the main risk is from a leak rather than an ignition in the system itself.

The manufacturer must ensure the calculations are correct and that the unit is labelled correctly, in a way that meets the standard. But it is the responsibility of the user to ensure the unit is installed in a way that complies with the regulations.



Article published:
31/10/2023
Written by Mervin Chumun, Technical & Applications Manager

More Recent Articles

More About Commercial Refrigeration