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DuPont meets Telecom Italia’s needs for environmental compliance

According to EU regulation 2037/2000 and future decrees relating to chemicals and the ozone layer, the recharge of refrigeration and air-conditioning systems with virgin HCFC refrigerants (predominantly R-22) will be banned from 31st December 2009 onwards. Around 15,000 tons of R-22 are in use in Italy, a large amount of which is used in air-conditioning systems at commercial and residential premises. With the deadline less than one year away, there is a need for imminent action to avoid supply shortages, refrigeration unit outages, product losses and, in the worst case, administrative penalties. The Italian telecommunications company, Telecom Italia, is one of the first major corporations in the country to react, and has devised a comprehensive action plan to convert its existing air-conditioning units to DuPont ISCEON MO29 refrigerant.

More than 25,000 air-conditioning installations are still running on R-22 at Telecom Italia's offices and buildings across the country – an issue the company is seeking to address in light of the forthcoming ban and its own environmental policies. For nearly two years, Telecom Italia has been testing different alternatives to replace R-22, as Alberto Landucci from the company's energy management department in Rome explains: "Air-conditioning units are indispensable for our operations. Without them, the entire system would break down." The company had therefore sought a solution which was one hundred percent reliable. At the same time, it required an eco-friendly product which did not deplete the ozone layer and which complied with legislation. Energy and cost efficiency were also very important criteria.

The solution was found in ISCEON MO29 (R-422D), the easy-to-use, non-ozone-depleting HFC refrigerant designed to replace R-22 in existing direct expansion water chillers for air-conditioning systems in residential and commercial premises, as well as medium and low temperature refrigeration systems. An initial conversion test, conducted by Telecom Italia technician Alessandro Muzzarelli on a Hiross close control unit in Trento (with a refrigerating capacity of 30 kW), showed an average coefficient of performance (COP) of 5 with ISCEON MO29. A subsequent test on a similar unit (capacity 27 kW) in Merano confirmed the speed and ease of the conversion from R-22 – an important element for Telecom Italia's future plans. "The entire conversion did not even take two hours – this is ideal from a cost and effort point of view, " confirms Alberto Landucci. Additionally, the conversion in Trento, carried out last year by Muzzarelli, has allowed the realization of energy savings.

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