Steven Mella, CEO of ComStar International and Richard Maruya of A.S. Trust & Holding have come to an agreement to manufacture, market and distribute the hydrocarbon refrigerant known as HCR188C1. Sources say the coolant — a patented blend of ethane, propane, butane and other pure hydrocarbons — displays a Zero Global Warming Potential (GWP) as well as a Zero Ozone-Depletion rating and is the first hydrocarbon refrigerant approved by the EPA for sale in the US. The public comment process was completed on July 9.

The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has proclaimed HCR188C1 to be non-toxic; in addition, the coolant is now a listed refrigerant with ETL (Intertek). HCR188C1, designed to replace environmentally harmful chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), will soon be in the public comment stage as solicited by ASHRAE.

Results are expected by October for a final SNAP ruling to list the coolant as an approved alternative refrigerant for use in household refrigerators and stand-alone freezers. (SNAP refers to the EPA’s Significant New Alternatives Policy initiative, a part of the Clean Air Act.) Intertek Testing Services NA, Inc. of Columbus OH has tested HCR188C1 and shown it to display properties far superior to R134A, a high-GWP HFC commonly used in today’s refrigerators, freezers and air conditioning systems.

For example, in refrigerators running with HCR188C1, energy tests have shown a 48% decrease in power consumption when compared to the same units operating with R134a, all while using just 25% of a normal charge of R134a (by volume) or just 40% of a normal charge of R22. The coolant operates effectively in equipment containing mineral oil and can be used as a direct replacement in appliances and air-conditioning systems designed for R134a and R22.

Though flammable, the very small amount of this climate-friendly refrigerant required in such systems presents an exceedingly small risk, sources say. A.S. Trust & Holding holds a patent on a Refrigerant Safety Service Port Valve that could be used on larger systems. This unique valve, invented by Richard Maruya and George Whitmyre, operates by shutting down the system when there is a drop in operating pressure. Maruya has spent more than a decade developing the HCR188C1 formulation.

Comstar and A.S. Trust have also agreed to blend the coolant at ComStar’s Houston, Texas facility. HCR188C1 will be available through Comstar. Sources from ComStar report it will soon release a line of 18- to 21-cu.ft. refrigerators assembled in the U.S. and operating solely with HCR188C1 as the coolant.

A.S. Trust & Holding has spent more than a decade developing hydrocarbon (HC) combinations for new coolant fluids that are based on purely green chemistry, friendly to the climate and also energy efficient.