In both technical and non-technical literature, fluorine-containing (HFC) refrigerants are increasingly referred to as ‘chemical’ or ‘synthetic’ refrigerants in contrast to the so-called ‘natural’ refrigerants. Generally ‘chemical’ is now seen by some as being ‘bad’ and is contrasted with ‘natural’, which implies ‘good’.
Its high efficiency and low environmental impact have triggered a widespread resurgence for R290.
Myriad manufacturers of commercial refrigeration have made the move to propane and isobutane inorder to meet the DOE’s new efficiency standards– and prepare for the EPA’s refrigerant changes.
Climate change, greenhouse effect and global warming – scarcely any other issue is so omnipresent and so controversially discussed in the 21st century. Those who are convinced in doubting that climate change is man-made refer to various eras in the history of our planet where the earth has heated up or cooled down drastically even without any contribution on our part. In future too, they see climate change as the result of natural causes, including among others a changed ellipsoid orbit of the earth around the sun.
The decision as to which refrigerant should be used in a refrigerating or air-conditioning system is based on the major criteria of safety, costs and environment protection. But against the background of constantly increasing energy prices, the energy consumption of a system also plays an increasingly important role. Ideally, the chosen refrigerant should have excellent thermodynamic properties, high chemical stability and good physical characteristics. Furthermore, it should have no or only a negligible impact on the environment, while also being inexpensive and available worldwide.
I was going to call this post „Playing With Fire“ but didn’t for obvious reasons. Anyways, in my last post we saw how CO2 (R744) can be used in both a traditional sub-critical as well as in trans-critical cycles which operate almost backwards to each other. Also, when I typed in trans-critical without the hyphen, Spell Wreck asked me if I meant to type ‚transatlantic‘ instead. Um no, but it did remind me of a little bit of history to touch on before we move onto R290. I apologize for the digression but I think you will find it interesting.
A developed society cannot function without refrigeration. At home, in food production and storage (e.g. frozen foods, yogurt, and or coffee), in the production processes of the automotive or chemical-pharmaceutical industry, or for air conditioning – wherever you look, „cooling“ is essential. Industrially generated „coldness“ is a central pillar of modern life. In Germany, 14 % of the primary energy consumed is used for cooling purposes. Negative influences on the environment can be reduced by using natural refrigerants.
Fluorocarbon refrigerants are synthetic chemicals which usually have a high global warming potential, and some still have the potential to cause damage to the ozone layer as well if released to the atmosphere.