Green refrigerants, also known as environmentally friendly or sustainable refrigerants, refer to substances used in refrigeration and air conditioning systems that have lower environmental impact compared to traditional refrigerants. Traditional refrigerants, such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), have been found to contribute to ozone depletion and have a high global warming potential (GWP), leading to concerns about their impact on the environment.
Green refrigerants aim to address these environmental issues by offering alternatives with lower GWP and ozone depletion potential. Some common types of green refrigerants include:
Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs): While HFCs are still synthetic chemicals, they have lower ozone depletion potential than CFCs and HCFCs. However, many HFCs still have a high GWP, contributing to global warming. Efforts are being made to develop low-GWP HFC alternatives.
Hydrocarbons (HCs): Natural refrigerants like propane (R-290) and isobutane (R-600a) are hydrocarbons that have very low GWP and no ozone depletion potential. They are considered environmentally friendly, but safety concerns related to flammability need to be addressed in some applications.
Ammonia (NH3): Ammonia is a natural refrigerant with zero GWP and ozone depletion potential. It has been used for many years in industrial refrigeration systems. However, due to its toxicity, it is not as commonly used in smaller residential or commercial applications.
Carbon Dioxide (CO2 or R-744): CO2 is another natural refrigerant with a GWP of 1 and no ozone depletion potential. It is being increasingly used in commercial refrigeration systems and some heat pump applications.
Hydrofluoroolefins (HFOs): HFOs are a new generation of synthetic refrigerants designed to have lower GWP than traditional HFCs. They are being developed as alternatives to HFCs in various applications.