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HQ 962980

MARCH 3, 2000

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 962980 JAS


TARIFF NO.: 8419.90.80

Moudood A. Aslam
Cristopia Energy Systems
165 Via Catarina
San Dimas, CA 91773

RE: NY C86245 Revoked; Thermal Energy Storage Nodules

Dear Mr. Aslam:

In NY C86245 which the Director of Customs National Commodity Specialist Division, New York, issued to you on May 6, 1998, thermal energy storage nodules for use with a latent heat thermal energy storage tank were held to be classifiable in subheading 3926.90.98, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), as other articles of plastics. In response to a letter from the Carrier Corporation, dated July 1, 1999, we have reconsidered this classification and determined that it is incorrect.

Pursuant to section 625(c), Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1625(c)), as amended by section 623 of Title VI (Customs Modernization) of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act, Pub. L. 103-182, 107 Stat. 2057, 2186 (1993), notice of the proposed revocation of NY C86245 was published on January 26, 2000, in the Customs Bulletin, Volume 34, Number 4. No comments were received in response to that notice.


Thermal energy storage nodules are hollow spherical shapes of polyethylene filled with a eutectic salt solution phase change material (PCM). Together with an insulated thermal energy storage tank these nodules comprise a thermal energy storage system (TESS). Submitted literature indicates these nodules are available in 77-mm diameters for industrial refrigeration applications and in 96-mm diameters for commercial air conditioning systems utilizing water chillers as the refrigerating unit. The latter is said to be their principal use. The nodules permit thermal energy to be stored at
temperatures between –33 C and +27 C. In operation, the nodules are placed in the storage tank which is connected by piping to one or more liquid chillers. The chillers produce a cold, glycol-based transfer fluid that circulates around the nodules at a temperature below the freezing temperature of the PCM which causes it to crystallize. This allows the nodules to absorb cold from the transfer fluid. When energy demand increases, the glycol-based transfer fluid is again circulated at temperatures higher than the PCM fusion temperature, thus allowing a controlled energy release which chills the liquid. This chilled liquid circulates through coils where fans blow the cooled air either through individual room units or through the central air conditioning system.

In reviewing NY C86245 we have been asked to consider a provision in heading 8418, HTSUS, as parts of refrigerating or freezing equipment or, alternatively, an equivalent provision in heading 8415, HTSUS, as parts of air conditioning machines.

The HTSUS provisions under consideration are as follows:

8415 Air conditioning machines, comprising a motor-driven fan and elements for changing the temperature and humidity...; parts thereof:

8415.90 Parts:


8418 Refrigerators, freezers and other refrigerating or freezing equipment, electric or other...; parts thereof:



8419 Machinery, plant or laboratory equipment, whether or not electrically heated, for the treatment of materials by a process involving a change of temperature, such as...cooling; parts thereof:


8419.90.80 Other


Whether the thermal energy storage nodules are parts of machines or apparatus of heading 8415, 8418, or of heading 8419.


Under General Rule of Interpretation (GRI) 1, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), goods are to be classified according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes, and provided the headings or notes do not require otherwise, according to GRIs 2 through 6.

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System. Though not dispositive, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the Harmonized System. Customs believes the ENs should always be consulted. See T.D. 89-80. 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (Aug. 23, 1989).

Air conditioning machines of heading 8415 that utilize water chillers as the refrigerating unit are classifiable in subheading 8415.82.00, HTSUS, and parts thereof in subheading 8415.90.80, HTSUS. A TESS, consisting of an insulated tank and thermal energy storage nodules, is capable of substituting for a water chiller and, when imported with an air conditioning machine, would be classifiable in subheading 8415.82.00, HTSUS. But, as to the classification of the nodules themselves, it is necessary to determine the classification of the TESS, of which they are more
immediately parts. If imported separately, water chillers are classifiable in subheading 8418.69.00, HTSUS, as other refrigerating or freezing equipment. But, notwithstanding the TESS may substitute for a chiller, they are not similarly classifiable. Absorption liquid chiller/heaters principally used to produce chilled water for space cooling in commercial buildings, but also used to produce hot water for heating, are classifiable in subheading 8418.69.00, HTSUS. See HQ 962279, dated December 23, 1998, and HQ 961196, dated January 8, 1999. These are machines generally consisting of a burner, condenser, evaporator, cooling tower, absorption unit, circulation pump, and heat exchanger. A TESS, on the other hand, requires cooled water from a chiller to charge the eutectic salt solution phase change material in the nodules. As imported, the TESS is not a machine and is incapable of producing anything. The available evidence does not support classification of the TESS in heading 8418.

The ENs on p. 1271 state that heading 8419 covers machinery and plant designed to submit materials (solid, liquid or gaseous) to a heating or cooling process in order to cause a simple change of temperature, or to cause a transformation of the materials resulting principally from the temperature change. In this case, the thermal energy nodules in the TESS change temperature, i.e., become colder, by absorbing cold from water supplied by a liquid chiller. The TESS, therefore, conforms to the 8419 EN description, and the nodules qualify as parts.


Under the authority of GRI 1, the Thermal Energy Storage System (TESS) is provided for in heading 8419.89.90, HTSUS. The thermal energy storage nodules, being integral parts of the TESS, are classifiable in subheading 8419.90.80, HTSUS.


NY C86245, dated May 6, 1998, is revoked. In accordance with 19 U.S.C. 1625(c), this ruling will become effective 60 days after its publication in the Customs Bulletin.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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