Toshiba UK has officially announced the availability of air conditioners using lower GWP refrigerant R32 from the end of May.
As first revealed by the Cooling Post last month, the new refrigerant will be used in Toshiba’s new Mirai premium range of residential wall-mounted air conditioning split units. They will be available in capacities from 1.5 to 4.5kW.
David Dunn, Toshiba director and general manager, said: “Many end users are looking to adopt greener, lower GWP technology. When combined with the advanced features of Mirai, R32 is an attractive option that is more environmentally friendly while delivering superb comfort.”
He added: “As most people will be aware, R32 is classified as slightly flammable under certain, specific conditions. However, following thorough testing and evaluation, it is now widely accepted within the industry that as long as good practice is followed, any risks are exceptionally small and can be managed – and fully acceptable in the light of the significant environmental benefits.”
Toshiba has been producing R32 units for the Japanese market since 2014. To date, some 225,000 units have been installed, without incident, the company says. Across all manufacturers, there are more than 5 million R32 units installed in Japan alone.
Toshiba’s new Mirai range features a number of technical advances, including dustless operation due to a special coating on the cooling coil, a larger heating capacity, and exceptionally quiet operation due to a 13% increase in fan size.
Units are designed to eliminate potential sources of ignition, and are equipped with brushless motors and a power relay instead of a contactor. To reduce flame propagation, both indoor and outdoor units have fireproof steel enclosures surrounding the electrical systems.
Toshiba warns that for installers and service engineers working with R32, the refrigerant is classified as flammable and needs to be handled accordingly. It points to the correct procedures explained in the Hydrocarbon Safe Handling course, which is a top up on the standard F-gas qualification. Toshiba also advises technicians to inform their insurance company and check that tools such as vacuum pumps and recovery systems are suitable for use with R32.