AHRI’s research arm, the Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Technology Institute (AHRTI), has been selected by the Department of Energy (DOE) for a $2 million funding award to develop an essential low-global warming potential (GWP) refrigerant database in collaboration with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). As part of the program, AHRTI will assess the thermal and chemical stability of low-GWP refrigerants with lubricants and their long-term compatibility with materials commonly used in air conditioning and refrigeration systems. AHRI members will guide ORNL and NIST to develop heat transfer and pressure drop correlations and measure property data for new refrigerants. This program aims to provide U.S. manufacturers with accurate refrigerant data to design, manufacture, and commercialize efficient and reliable HVACR products using environmentally friendly refrigerants.

AHRI will soon launch three new heating research projects. We will work with AGA and CSA on a joint testing program to evaluate gas-fired equipment performance responses to hydrogen-enriched gases. In addition, AHRI will assess the uncertainties and safety implications of hydrogen-enriched natural gas to members’ products. The third project will evaluate the method of testing for rating commercial space heating boiler systems.

As for the ongoing research effort, AHRI is collecting furnace fan test data from furnace manufacturers to understand the variation in Fan Energy Rating (FER) that occurs within, and across, model families, and to assess the root of the variability in furnace FER. AHRI’s flammable refrigerants research is focusing on refrigerant sensors and ignition risk mitigation assessment so that we can avoid overly restrictive or ineffective requirements on our members’ products.