Dario Ferlin

Dario Ferlin, M.AIRAH

Flammable refrigerants in the retail environment

Flammable refrigerant HVAC&R systems are a viable, energy-efficient, reliable, low-cost and low-CO2-e emissions alternative to conventional synthetic refrigerant systems. Synthetic refrigerant self-contained showcases are now effectively banned in the EU, and most self-contained showcase manufacturers are in the process of transitioning towards propane. Similarly, many smaller HVAC systems are transitioning towards R32 and HFO blends (mildly flammable). 

By not creating a pathway for the use of flammable refrigerants, the pool of synthetic refrigerant HVAC&R equipment available locally will invariably diminish, leading to cost and supply-chain challenges. However, flammable refrigerant systems should not be introduced into the retail environment without a robust field technician governance system that ensures only competent persons are permitted to install or maintain these systems.

A roadmap for the safe introduction of flammable refrigerant systems should require that all HVAC&R installation and maintenance teams undertake nationally recognised relevant units of competencies at registered training organisations. A great first step on this journey could be the online AIRAH Flammable Refrigerants Safety Guide. 

About Dario Ferlin:
Dario has an Honours degree in Mechanical Engineering from Melbourne University. He entered the refrigeration industry in 2001 as a rack design engineer for EPTA (Italy) and collaborated in the first transcritical CO2 projects being piloted in Europe. In 2004, he worked for EPTA as an applications engineer in the export department and oversaw turnkey projects for major supermarket accounts in developing countries. In 2009, Dario relocated to Sydney to work for Woolworths, first in the capacity of a refrigeration engineer focusing on developing the showcase and refrigeration plant specifications, more recently in the role of Innovations Engineer, and presently as the National Sustainable Engineering Manager.