CO2 Refrigerant Testing

Currently, it is not an easy matter for decision-makers in commercial refrigeration to make a definitive choice when it comes to refrigerants and system type. Many refrigerant options and system architectures have appeared over the last decade, both in paper and practice. The sector has been in the environmental spotlight in recent years, especially as leakage studies have revealed the true effects of HFC emissions in centralized systems. Considerable reductions in emissions are certainly possible, but they do require changes.

R744 (CO2) is refrigerant grade CO2, used as a replacement for R134a, R1234YF and R404A in ultra-low, low and medium temperature refrigeration applications. R744 (CO2) is becoming increasingly popular due to its excellent properties; with an Ozone Depleting Potential (ODP) of 0 and a Global Warming Potential (GWP) of 1, R744 (CO2) is a natural refrigerant.

R-744 (CO2) is a leading option for environmental reasons, and it can be a winner for power consumption as developments of component technology and application methods continue to reveal potential performance gains. Good experience has been gained with different system configurations over many years, particularly in central and northern Europe. The confidence resulting from this experience ensures that CO2 will be a long-term option in the foreseeable future.

R-744 is not controlled by any regulation, such as the European Fluorinated Gas Regulation, so its use is not as carefully monitored as HFCs and leak detection is not as rigorous. However, high pressures have the potential to make systems unsafe and prone to leaking, affecting performance and reliability. As manufacturers cannot accept this risk, the emphasis of quality checking becomes a priority.

The most reliable and time-effective way to test products at industry standard leak rates is through vacuum helium leak detection. At Vacuum Engineering Services, we offer engineered turnkey solutions for your leak test needs. Since 1992 we have produced over 1300 bespoke Helium leak detection machines designed to leak test products according to the customers’ needs and requirements.

For CO2 refrigeration products, the typical working pressure is 60bar, with proof tests normally conducted at 100bar. With the leak test being the first time the product is exposed to this pressure, it poses a significant safety risk to the user or test operator. With Vacuum Helium Leak Detection, a product failure results in the chamber remaining below atmosphere, meaning operators will remain safe. Another risk associated with product failure is the risk of projectiles being fired from the product. Vacuum Engineering Services work with specialist 3rd party companies to conduct projectile analysis.

Another challenge that arises when testing at pressures of 100bar is generating the high pressure gas. VES have significant previous experience utilizing quality two-stage compressors, allowing accurate and reliable test gas at the pressure that is required. High pressure gas generation can also be integrated into our Helium recovery systems. With the price of helium rising, recovering and reusing test gases is a no-brainer for any plant manager. Recovery systems can be integrated into the footprint of a single machine or can be built as a stand-alone system servicing multiple machines.

We at VES not only produce machines for testing CO2 refrigeration products. The leak test machines we supply are used in a variety of industries; automotive equipment, nuclear industry and fire extinguishers to name but a few. These machines are employed on production lines in operation 24/7 where reliable and repeatable results are of paramount importance.

For any enquiries, additional information or to arrange a meeting with us please contact us.