Hydrocarbon refrigerants guideline

Safety requirements for the use of fuel gases as a refrigerants (commonly referred to as hydrocarbon refrigerants) are prescribed in the Petroleum and Gas (Production and Safety) Act 2004 (the Act) and subordinate Regulation.

Hydrocarbon refrigerants include:

  • R50 (methane)
  • R290 (propane)
  • R600 (butane)
  • R600a (isobutane)
  • R1270 (propylene).

Only the holder of a gas work licence (hydrocarbon refrigerants) can do work on the gas system of a refrigeration appliance.

You must also make sure that all devices that use fuel gas as a refrigerant are approved before they are sold, installed or used. Check the Register of approved hydrocarbon refrigerant appliances (PDF, 2.4MB) or contact a gas device (type B) approving authority to obtain approval.

Additional safety guidance for using hydrocarbon refrigerants

The Flammable refrigerant gases position paper (PDF, 1MB) is a joint position paper developed by the Heads of Workplace Safety Authorities (HWSA) throughout Australia. Queensland is represented by Workplace Health and Safety Queensland, as well as the Petroleum and Gas Inspectorate.

This paper outlines a common approach to the safe use of flammable refrigerants (such as fuel gases), as demand for them increases throughout the country. It covers a wider range of flammable refrigerants than are regulated as fuel gases under the Act.

The information in this position paper represents best practice and is for general guidance only. It does not replace the specific additional requirements outlined in the Act for use of fuel gas as a refrigerant gas (hydrocarbon refrigerants) in Queensland.

You should also read the Flammable refrigerant safety guide for additional advice. This supplementary industry manual can be purchased directly from Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heating (AIRAH).