Refrigerants: Past, Present, and Future

Refrigerant technology is rapidly changing in an effort to reduce the effects of climate change. In the 1990s, the focus was on ozone depletion potential (ODP) prompting the change from Chlorofluorocarbons to Hydrofluorocarbons. In the 2020s, the focus is on Global Warming Potential (GWP). Most HFC refrigerants are blended gases from four main components of HFC fluids. Each component has advantages and disadvantages (tradeoffs). Hydrofluoroolefins (HFOs) are the next generation chemical technology but like HFCs there are advantages and disadvantages. Two other technologies; hydrocarbons (A3) and CO2 systems will also be part of the solution. We will review these advantages and disadvantages in addition to new regulations and code compliance.

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