Refrigerant applications – where are refrigerants applied in real life?
Refrigerants are not so familiar with people who don’t work in the chemical industry – still being crucial to many industries and making our current lifestyle possible. How would a life without a refrigerator sound? Or the idea of not being able to buy medicine that need refrigeration? Housing without cooling and car without air conditioning?
Where refrigerants are really used and applied to? We decided to create a short listing of the industries that use refrigerants. Would you have known about all of these applications refrigerants are used in? For a detailed description of the operation of a particular refrigerant, click on the link for the desired refrigerant. A new window will open with the chemical data of the refrigerant.
1) Grocery stores
Fruits, veggies, meat, milk products – these would not make it through the shipping-display-purchase process without refrigerants.
R404A is one of the most common refrigerant applied in supermarket refrigeration systems until the recent years, but the substance has quite high GWP (global warming potential), which means it is not the greenest option there is. Regenerated R404A is still available till the year 2030 – in circuits containing less than 10 kg of the substance.
Alternative refrigerants for R404A are for example R407A, R407F, R442A, R448A, R449A, R452A , while the most ecological competitor may be R1234yf .
Carbon dioxide – CO2, – also known as R744 – is also an option for more environmental friendly cooling.
Transportation trucks, ships and trains need cooling when food and other delicate supplies are shipped long distances. R134A and R1234yf are some of the refrigerants that are applied to transportation cooling. The older options – with higher GWP – are refrigerants like R404A, R407F, R410A, R452A. See a listing of alternative refrigerants from our article here.
Air conditioner is basic housing supply – it allows both cooling and heating of spaces. R407C, R410A, R134a, R1234yf and R1234ze are some of the refrigerants that are applied to air conditioning equipment. Ground source heat pump is also a housing supply that needs refrigerant in order to function.
See the alternative refrigerants from here.
The majority of modern domestic refrigerators and freezers run on R600A, isobutane.
4) Pharmaceutical applications
Variety of medicine needs cooling in order to preserve the crucial components of the substance. Two of the most common cooling refrigerant in pharmaceutical warehouses may be R1234ze and R134A.
Also R404A, R407A, R407F, R422D, R448A, R449A, R450A, R507A, R513A can be applied to warehouse cooling purposes. There are some restrictions with high GWP refrigerants when it comes to usage inside European Union: see all the alternative refrigerants listed here.
5) Data centers & Electricity production
Big data and electricity centers gather heat, which can then lead to serious problems in production lines. Refrigerants are applied to help cooling down big data centers and electricity production warehouses – to keep the production running. R407C, R410A , R1234ze and R134a are common refrigerants to be used in these kind of purposes. R404A, R507A are some of the traditional refrigerants used in data center cooling – although the usage of these high GWP refrigerants is not possible after the European Union F-gas regulation.
Future and development of refrigerants
Refrigerant field is being developed all the time – the goal is to get GWP and ODP as low as possible, which means greener future for all of us. Since the F-gas regulation (EU 517/2014) came to be, the goal is to minimize the European Union gas emissions to about 20% of the amounts now. Read more about the F-gas regulation from our article here.
While R404A has been one of the most common refrigerant in general, it’s usage is allowed only in maintenance procedures after the F-gas regulation – the substance has quite high GWP of 3922. New replacement refrigerants have been invented to replace high GWP refrigerants like R404A. Since the F -gas regulation, usage of refrigerants that have high GWP (>2500) are being monitored and restricted. In practise, the use is only allowed in certain maintenance procedures. Also, by 1.1.2022, HFC refrigerants that exceed 150 GWP value, are being banned.
Replacing refrigerants for R404A are for example R407A, R407F, R448A, R449A ; the newest ones with lowest GWPs are R1234yf and R1234ze.
Other old, high GWP refrigerants are for example R507A, R442A, R452A, R422A and R422D – these will also in time be banned from use. General replacement options for the “old” refrigerants are listed on our article here.
One way of creating more sustainable future is to regenerate refrigerants. At Darment, we have regenerated R404A on our purchasable products at the moment, and more options is to come. Ask more information about regenerating from our sales team: firstname.lastname@example.org or call us +358 20 558 8250 .
Pictures : Pexels
Markku Parviainen / Darment
European Fluorocarbons Technical Committee (EFCTC)