RETA, IIAR Develop CO2 Training Materials

As hydrofluorocarbons and hydrochlorofluorocarbons are being phased out, there is a growing emphasis on natural refrigerants. To help improve safety and educate those within the industry, IIAR and the Refrigerating Engineers and Technicians Association are working to create safety standards and develop educational materials

Dave Rule, president of IIAR, said ammonia and carbon dioxide are the most common natural refrigerants being used, and he is seeing more ammonia and CO2 being used together in cascade systems. “Because of that and because new technology has brought different types of equipment designs, both ammonia and CO2 are able to be used in places they wouldn’t have been before,” he explained.

As a result, Rule said he is seeing an increased need for safety standards and technical training related to CO2 . IIAR is addressing safety and is in the process of developing new standards. “We want to make sure the engineering and safety designs are correct, adequate and introduced to the industry in a timely manner. We also need to ensure the technicians and the engineers have the appropriate safety standards,” Rule said.

IIAR offers a CO2 handbook and is in the process of updating it to make it more current, Rule said. “All of this surrounds the emphasis on natural refrigerants being used more prevalently,” he said.

The Refrigerating Engineers and Technicians Association is developing new training materials jointly with members of the North American Sustainable Refrigeration Council on both commercial and industrial applications of CO2 as a refrigerant.

“As CO2 becomes more accepted in both the commercial and industrial markets, the need for trained and skilled technicians and operators will increase. This need can be somewhat filled by on-the-job training, but additional methods will be needed to fully address the job opportunities,” said Jim Price, education manager for RETA. “Those with training and certifications will be best prepared to take advantage of the opportunities.”

Price said it will take about one year to produce the training materials, and RETA is halfway through the process. He anticipates multiple paths of study, including selfstudy, traditional brick-and-mortar classroom learning, seminars and online learning. He said multiple certification opportunities will be available.

“The paths may include general CO2 studies, commercial systems, industrial system and combined studies,” Price said, adding that the details of the study paths and certifications will be presented once the study material is closer to completion.

Although the common principles of refrigeration apply to CO2 , there are some important differences that need to be understood. “Pressures are different, much higher than we are used to seeing in typical ammonia refrigeration systems. New terms that are not familiar to us have to be learned and understood such as triple point, critical point, and transcritical,” Price said.

In addition, simple tasks, such as system charging, system pump downs to opening the system, may have to be relearned.

“In many ways RETA and IIAR are working together to address the more common use of CO2 ,” Rule said.