The Industry Technical Council of the Australian Trucking Association warned the trucking industry of safety risks associated with some refrigerants. Chris Loose, ATA Senior Adviser Engineering, said the cheaper gas could lead to disaster when used in vehicle air-conditioning systems.
“Vehicle air-conditioning and refrigeration systems are designed to use specialised automotive refrigerant gases,” said Chris. “These manufacturer-endorsed products have a low fire risk, and newer products have been formulated to have a reduced environmental footprint.
“However, some after-market repairers will ‘re-gas’ refrigeration systems using cheaper, hydrocarbon-based refrigerant gases, often sold as M30. These hydrocarbon gases are highly flammable, and pose a significant safety risk in these systems. In one case, an Australian heavy vehicle driver suffered burns after the re-gassed air-conditioning system in his truck ignited.
“To our knowledge, no heavy vehicle in Australia has ever been designed to use these gases. Vehicle owners using these businesses may not even be informed that their system is being re-gassed using M30 rather than the recommended refrigerants. No matter the cost saving, these gases are not worth the risk.”
The ITC recommends operators exercise caution with any cut-price re-gassing service, and ensure all air-conditioning and refrigeration systems in their fleet use the manufacturer’s recommended refrigerant gas product.