When German manufacturer Wieland introduced its K65 CO2 copper-alloy piping solution – which contains 2% iron – 15 years ago, sales moved slowly, but now “everyone wants it,” said Florian Diesch, Sales Manager of Wieland, during EuroShop last month.
Food retailer Tesco was the first to pioneer this product in the U.K. in its drive to be greener and soon others like Aldi and Lidl followed suit. Today, the European renewable energy regulations are driving the uptake of this piping, said Diesch, except for Russia, where there is still a surplus of skilled stainless steel welders from the Soviet years.
The piping isn’t only suitable for use with CO2 applications; some even use it for chiller tubes, as it isn’t as thick as conventional piping and thus reduces the required material. According to Diesch, Wieland is also looking at developing different sizes of the pipe to expand the range to other refrigerant types and applications.
The K65 piping is designed to be is both lightweight and easy to weld, making it a great solution for CO2 projects around the world, said Wieland.
Because the pipe is mainly made of copper, it behaves like copper – except that it’s much stronger and can withstand the high pressures of CO2, explained Diesch. “This increases the strength of the copper without making the pipe heavier.”
As copper in itself isn’t strong enough to withstand the pressures of CO2, stainless steel has often been the preferred choice for piping. However, stainless steel piping is heavy requires a qualified welder. K65 piping, behaves the same as copper, so any plumber who can work with normal copper piping, can weld it, Wieland said. It is also much quicker to weld, enabling less downtime for maintenance or repairs, the company added.