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Date: 22/11/2017

Keep a lid on the rising cost of refrigerants

The cost of refrigerants is about to steeply increase over the short to medium term, potentially adding significant running costs to NZ dairy farmers’ milk cooling systems.

What is causing the price increase?

The price increase is due to the way the pricing is structured. Imported refrigerant costs are based on the variable carbon price which is passed on to the end user. The importers pay per ton of carbon based on the refrigerant GWP (Global WarmerPotential) number e.g. R404A has a GWP of 3922.

All imported refrigerants now have a zero Ozone Depletion Potential(ODP) although the common HFC (Hydrofluorocarbon) refrigerants that are used still have a relatively high GWP.

The phase down of high GWP F-Gas refrigerants has been indicated by the government as beginning in 2019 and consultation on how the phase downshould be managed has begun.

What does this mean for NZ dairy farmers?

The refrigerant that you have in your system now can stay there. Refrigerant only needs to be changed if you lose some via a leak or upgrade your system.

Additionally, as lower GWP refrigerants are produced, interim refrigerants will be used for new system installations or to replenish existing systems whose refrigerants have already been phased out e.g. R12, R22 etc.

Using a new lower GWP refrigerant in existing systems can cause performance changes, some will have positive or negative effects on the overall performance. The table below shows how a system will operate at a higher discharge temperature, although it will have a slightly improved COP (Co efficient of Performance) when operating on the new R449A compared to R404A.

Causes for increased refrigerant use and what you can do to limit costs

Don’t get bitten by the steep increase in refrigerant costs.Make sure your milk cooling system is serviced to help prevent loss.

Carrying out a regular preventive maintenance check will help identify any noticeable or potential refrigerant leaks that could be remedied at the time of the visit. This includes eliminating any excessive vibration from the fans and compressor, and any support or additional brackets for copper pipework.

Tru-Test offers a range of proactive servicing plans along with reactive servicing. All servicing is carried out by our nationwide team of specialist milk cooling technicians. We also support our milk cooling customers with a 7-day call centre.

For farmers wanting complete peace of mind and an annual visibility on their milk cooling maintenance costs, Tru-Test also offers an Asset Care Plan which can be extended to include otherTru-Test on-farm cooling equipment.

Talk to your local Tru-Test On-Farm Milk Cooling specialist today to book a Chiller Check Service or to find out more about our Asset Care Plans.

Stay on top of your milk cooling maintenance to keep a lid onincreasing refrigerant costs.