Mitsubishi Electric’s R32 VRF solution


itsubishi Electric has launched the UK’s fi rst viable R32 solution for large-scale air conditioning with the new range of City Multi Hybrid Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) products. This brings all of the benefi ts of VRF air conditioning in R32 format to deliver a system with a signifi cantly lower global warming potential (GWP) than existing solutions.

“There have already been over 500 Hybrid VRF systems installed across Europe since we launched fi ve years ago and we believe this R32 version will increase the market share for this unique VRF solution,” explains Mark Grayston, product marketing manager for the company’s air conditioning systems.

“Not only can Hybrid VRF help remove the need for leak detection, this R32 version delivers the low GWP benefi ts that customers are now searching for.” As part of the F-Gas Regulations, the construction industry has been looking for air conditioning systems that deliver high operational effi ciency whilst minimising the global warming potential of the refrigerants used within these systems. Hybrid VRF delivers a familiar, proven solution to off er businesses a commercially viable alternative to R410A systems.

Existing VRF units use R410A which has a GWP of 2,088, whilst the newly adopted refrigerant, R32, has a reduced GWP of 675, two-thirds less than R410A.

While several manufacturers have introduced R32 models in the room and packaged air conditioning range, no-one has yet introduced a UK model that provides a solution for large VRF systems – until now.

“We already have split air conditioning models on R32 and have introduced Hybrid VRF so that customers have a complete range of R32 solutions regardless of the building or situation,” adds Mr Grayston. “Coupled with this are the rapid price rises of R410A month by month, which place a strain on traditional VRF systems so we want to ensure that both customers and installers not only have an alternative, but also get the added benefi t of increased performance and advanced controls.” Hybrid VRF is suitable for almost any commercial building and has already been installed in a huge variety of applications from offi ces, hotels, residential accommodation, showrooms, care homes, public houses and more, with the system delivering all the design and installation fl exibility of traditional VRF with comfort levels normally associated with four-pipe fan coil systems. “We’ve seen particular growth in Hybrid VRF sales in both the offi ce and hotel sectors and with this R32 version we have sought to answer one of the hottest topics in the UK air conditioning industry on how to tackle low GWP in larger systems,” says Mr Grayston. “Hybrid VRF is also designed to off er customers a future-proof solution that delivers advanced effi ciency with improved corporate social responsibility.” The Hybrid solution is fundamentally diff erent from traditional VRF systems as it uses water throughout the majority of the pipework to transfer simultaneous heating and cooling to diff erent rooms, yet still off ers two-pipe heat recovery, lower annual maintenance costs and the full fl exibility of design, operation and advanced controllability for which the company’s systems are renowned.

At the heart of the new system is a Hybrid Branch Controller (HBC) box, which is connected to the outdoor unit via traditional refrigerant piping. Between the HBC box and the indoor fan coils, the system uses water piping but still off ers high sensible cooling and stable room temperatures for maximum comfort.

“Legislation is also now demanding that leak detection equipment is installed alongside VRF air conditioning when it is used in occupied spaces and this calls for additional equipment costs and added risk, as well higher maintenance bills”, explains Mr Grayston. “This new system does away with the need for leak detection whilst also delivering higher sensible cooling throughout the building”. July 2018 51

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