What types of refrigerants are used today?
While refrigerants continue to play a vital role in advancing life around the world, there is increasing pressure on the industry to reduce its environmental impact. Here’s a look at the types of refrigerants used today and what the future holds for replacement solutions.
Most common types of refrigerants
The most common type of refrigerants used today across the world are hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). Previously, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) were more widely used, but were phased out following the introduction of the Montreal Protocol in 1987.
R-134a is one of the world’s most used refrigerants, widely embedded in automotive, commercial and residential air conditioning systems, across the world.
R-32 is another commonly used, as an attractive lower GWP solution for air conditioning. The R-407C family of refrigerants, based on blends of R-134a, R-125 and R-32 are suitable for use in refrigeration and air conditioning and have been introduced as lower GWP alternatives to incumbent products.
The phasedown of HFCs
There are a number of legislations and initatives in place to ensure the global phasedown of HFCs, as they continue to have a negative effect on the environment. The Kigali Agreement to the Montreal Protocol has now been ratified by 100 countries, which targets a massive reduction in the use of HFCs, which became widely-used refrigerant substitutes for ozone-depleting substances that have been phased out under the original Montreal Protocol.
Applicable to the European Union, the F-Gas regulations enforce quotas for the amount of HFCs that can be imported into the EU and at the start of 2020, all production of HFC products with a GWP or 2,500 had to be halted.
And at the end of 2020, the US Congress passed the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act of 2020, which supports the transition toward a new generation of refrigerant alternatives, including low-GWP hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), hydrofluoro-olefins (HFOs) and blends.
Low GWP solutions
As a result, we’ve combined our history of innovation with our own drive for sustainability to develop low GWP refrigerants. Our next-gen solutions not only offer a lower environmental impact but a significantly improved performance. With the goal of advancing life around the world, we’re continuing to innovate low GWP solutions to real-life problems, including the COVID-19 vaccine storage and refrigeration obstacle.