02. October 2020 | Industry Insights
Which refrigerant do you use? Common refrigeration technology functions almost exclusively with synthetic refrigerants. For example, they are used in chillers, air-conditioning systems, as blowing agents in sprays, foams and insulating materials, and as fire-extinguishing agents. In stationary and mobile cooling systems, over 80% of the refrigerants are HFCs.
Synthetic refrigerants, HFCs (short for hydro-fluorocarbons) and F-gases were originally developed to replace CFCs and HCFCs, which fell into disrepute because of their damaging effect on the ozone layer, and have been gradually banned since 1987. By introducing the F-gas Regulation, the EU has decided the same fate for HFCs. Nevertheless, they are still in use almost everywhere.
You may know from personal experience that synthetic refrigerants are highly effective. However, they also have devastating consequences for the planet. Unlike their predecessors, they do not damage the ozone layer, but they are finite and have been proven to contribute to global warming.
Their global warming potential (or GWP, the unit of measurement in which the global warming potential of the respective refrigerant is given in comparison to CO2) is up to 24,000 times higher than that of CO2. For example, the most widely used refrigerant, R134a, has a global warming potential 1,430 times greater than CO2, with R410A having a GWP 2,088 times greater.
In principle, F-gases are used in a closed circuit and do not come into contact with the environment – if it were not for the problem of refrigerant leaks. HFCs are present in gaseous form under normal ambient conditions, which therefore makes them volatile.
For this reason, losses during filling and disposal of the plant as well as through leaks in continuous operation are unavoidable, especially given the usual long service life of the plants. For example, a survey of various European supermarket chains shows that refrigerant leaks alone account for a whopping 15-39% of total emissions.
From an operational perspective, fluorinated greenhouse gases are increasingly becoming a cause for concern. Stricter operational and safety requirements mean that a high level of maintenance is required, as leaks must be repaired immediately by certified technicians and companies in order to prevent emissions. This is both expensive and time-consuming.
Do you already have reliable, legally complaint and almost maintenance-free cooling? Contact us directly, we will be happy to advise you on the various possibilities for your application!
The magnitude of the problem is illustrated by the example of greenhouse gas emissions from the industrial sector, which is the second largest source of emissions. The industry is responsible for one fifth of Germany’s CO2 emissions. The common refrigeration systems powered by F-gases account for a large part of this.
Are you looking for a sustainable, natural alternative to harmful F-gases? Learn more about the new eChiller120 for your application and register for the big product launch at the end of October!