The Future of Refrigerants

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As strict laws and regulations about the environment are coming throughout the world, the future of the refrigerants will be quite different from today. Let us take a look at the time ahead and see what refrigerants will come forward in the future in the 22nd century and why.

In the late 1980s, some of the people might be familiar with a famous agreement called the Montreal Protocol. Forty-six signatures were there on that protocol by different members on the plan to completely eliminate the use of ozone-depleting CFC’s (Chloroflouro carbons) refrigerants. Then, in 1999, Title VI of the U.S. Clean Air Act changed to achieve this target of phasing out HFC refrigerants. And once again there is a need to get in a new era of refrigerants.

Today an ideal refrigerant will be the one which is a compound (or a mixture of compounds) which has zero toxicity and minimal inflammation risk. The refrigerant would not be expensive to manufacture and give more efficiency than the current R410A and R-22 refrigerants used in existing systems. It would also not deplete ozone and the global warming potential for it will be zero.

Global Warming Potential (GWP)

Global Warming Potential is basically “Atmospheric lifetime multiplied by Infrared Absorbance”. In other words, it is the potential of a refrigerant of causing global warming. The infrared rays pass through our atmosphere. The rays then hitting the surface of the Earth rebounds back into space but stays within the atmosphere which causes global warming to accelerate.

Ozone Layer Hole

The chemicals which deplete the ozone rise up to the stratosphere and the chemicals then swept into the winds of the polar vortex, which is a ring of fast-moving air that circles the south pole. This is the space where all the chemicals are present up there since the first CFC refrigerant ever manufactured.

All of this buildup of chemicals is destroying the ozone layer by making a hole into it. Strictness has been made in every law and regulation to control the use of ozone-depleting refrigerants as the years proceeded. If we take a quick look at why this is causing a hole to burn in the ozone layer of the Earth.

Let’s see our planet Earth, the troposphere and the stratosphere are the first two layers of the atmospheres. The stratosphere is the layer where our ozone exists. It protects us from the hazardous rays of the Sun called UV (ultraviolet) rays which may cause skin cancer.

Refrigerants – The future

All of the refrigerants are somehow dangerous to the environment and have been replaced or will be replaced In the near future. So if anyone of you is working in a refrigeration industry or about to enter it. You will surely observe a massive change of refrigerant evolution over the entire period of your career.

The market of the refrigerants will follow many directions in the future. One of which is the advancements in natural refrigerants such as NH3, Carbon dioxide, and Hydrocarbons. They are very good in terms of having low Global warming potentials and some of them even have zero GWP. They have good thermodynamic properties also and above that all they all are quite cheap to produce.  HFO’s are the refrigerants that may soon replace the HFC’s as they are less harmful to our ozone layer.

Since the laws and regulations have been changing continuously with time. You may have to redesign your refrigeration systems for the new and improved refrigerants. R22, R134a, R410a and R32 will soon be ruled out. Proper consideration is mandatory for the refrigeration system components so that they will function optimally using these different refrigerants.

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