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Natural Refrigerants and their impact

Natural Refrigerants and their impact

Some comments on the use of Natural Refrigerants and their impact on energy conservation for the world…

These comments were taken from a recent publication prepared by the Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heating.

Much of the refrigeration and air conditioning equipment in Australia uses fluorocarbon refrigerants to facilitate the heat transfer process. Fluorocarbon refrigerants are synthetic chemicals, which usually have a high global warming potential, and some still have the potential to cause damage to the ozone layer as well if released to the atmosphere.

Alternatives to these chemicals exist that can help to mitigate some of the environmental risks. Often referred to as ‘natural’ refrigerants because the substances also occur in nature, these alternatives include ammonia, carbon dioxide and hydrocarbons.

These substances have been used as refrigerants for many years, however they are now finding their way into applications where previously fluorocarbons were the preferred option.

Double advantage for the environment and corporate balance sheets…

This article was written by Monika Witt, Chairwoman of Eurammon, the European Initiative for Natural Refrigerants.

Natural refrigerants are inexpensive, available in abundance and can cover nearly every refrigeration application already today. Furthermore, they have a very low global warming potential (GWP) compared to synthetic refrigerants. This alone is reason enough to recommend their use. However, it is just as important that they are highly energy-efficient: after all, more than 80% of the global warming potential posed by refrigerating and air conditioning systems results from system energy consumption and not from refrigerant leaks.

At present, around 15% of global electricity consumption is used to generate refrigeration – resulting in huge savings potential. Measures to save energy throughout the entire service life of refrigerating systems are therefore acquiring increasing significance and can help considerably to relieve the burden on the environment. Here the use of natural refrigerants offers a double incentive for companies: by reducing their energy consumption, they not only cut back on costs but also help to protect the environment.

And so in future, everything points towards the use of natural refrigerants in both ecological and economical terms, in order to safeguard both capital expenditure and the environment in the long term!