What type of Refrigerants are Used in ACs Nowadays?

In today’s world AC has become an important and integral part of our life. Most people do not get relief and comfort without AC. But have you ever wondered how your AC works? How does it keep the room cool? But I don’t think most people know this. Hence to inform people about this in this article we are going to learn all about Refrigerants which are used in AC’s and we will know what type of refrigerants are used in ACs nowadays? The latest refrigerant used in AC and many more topics.

Without refrigerants Air conditioners, refrigerators or any other freezing technology won’t be possible. Refrigerants are accommodated inside the condenser of AC. To put it simply, refrigerants absorb heat from the room and release it into the outside air.

So without any further delay let’s get deep into this topic,


What is refrigerant?

Refrigerant is the most likely fluid which is used in Air Conditioners and Refrigerators or you can say that it is used in any system in which freezing technology is used. Basically it takes heat from the inside of the room and throws it out in the outside atmosphere and in case of refrigerators, it takes heat from the content of the refrigerator and throws it out.

But during this process, the refrigerant has to go through a phase transition from a liquid to gas and again from gas to liquid. When it absorbs heat the refrigerant changes from liquid to gas and when a compressor compresses it, it goes back to its liquid state by throwing that heat in the outside atmosphere.


How to choose the Right refrigerant (Ideal refrigerant)?

The choice of Right refrigerant (ideal refrigerant) is based on its various commendatory parameters like, Non-flammable nature, Non-toxic nature, easily detectable in case of leakage, stable under operating conditions, easy to recycle after use, Low environmental impact in case of accidental venting, ozone friendly etc.

Even so, in 20th century CFC (Chlorofluorocarbons) became the most popular refrigerant among the available refrigerants.

Below is the table of Global Warming and Ozone Depletion potential of Refrigerants,

RefrigerantOzone Depletion PotentialGlobal Warming Potential
R-22Medium1810
R-410AZero2088
R-32Zero675
R-134AZero1430
R-600AZero3
R-290Zero3

What are the Types of Refrigerants?

Let’s have a look at the types of refrigerants use in AC’s over the years,

  1. Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs): R11, R12, R113, R114, R115.
  2. Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs): R22, R123
  3. Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs): R134A, R404A, R407C, R410A
  4. Hydrocarbons (HC): R290, R600A

1. Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs): R11, R12, R113, R114, R115

CFC was the most popular refrigerant in the early ’90s. CFC include “R-12” Refrigerant which was discontinued in 1994 because of its maximum ozone depletion potential and greenhouse gas effect.

This refrigerants are also known as Freon, which was a brand name for refrigerant R12.


2. Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs): R22, R123

In the early 90s and 20s, the CFCs were replaced by HCFCs with the most common HCFC is R22. In India, almost 50%-60% of AC’s use HCFC’s at this moment.

Nevertheless, HCFCs (R22, R123) are better than CFCs to only a limited extent as they carry chlorine, which is hazardous for the environment. These refrigerants are completely discontinued in the coming 5-10 years.

It is good to check which refrigerant you are going to buy. If R22 is mentioned, then please don’t buy it. Nowadays R22 is almost outdated refrigerant and is hazardous to the environment in many ways.


3. Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs): R134A, R404A, R407C, R410A, R32

As in HCFCs because of the presence of Chlorine, they have potential of Ozone Depletion. Hence to overcome this drawback manufacturer created another refrigerant called HFCs (R134A, R404A, R407C, and R410A).

Despite having zero Ozone Depletion Potential due to absence of Chlorine, this refrigerant has potential for Increasing Global Warming.

R410A is the most loved HFC refrigerant used in the Air Conditioners. It is far better than R22 refrigerant in terms of Ozone Depletion Potential and Energy Savings but at last, it is HFC, which can cause an increase in global warming.

Few more HFC refrigerants that are commonly used are, R32 in air conditioners and R134A in refrigerators. R32 is far better than R134A in terms of global warming potential.


4. Hydrocarbons (HC): R290, R600A

So far we have seen that every refrigerant is harming nature in one way or another. So the manufacturers developed a new type of refrigerant, which is less harmful to nature.  These eco-friendly refrigerants are available in the Indian market now and they are R290 and R600A, whereas Propane and Iso-Butane are there chemical names respectively. This refrigerants are more energy-efficient, totally halogen-free, have zero ozone depletion potential and have negligible global warming potential as compared to another type of refrigerants. But these refrigerants are highly flammable as they contain Hydrocarbon.

Most refrigerators in the Indian market comes with R600A refrigerant and almost no accidents were reported. So we can say that they are safe to use but still, you need to take some extra care of that.


What type of Refrigerants are Used in ACs Nowadays?
100 Year Global Warming Potential of Refrigerators
Source: https://www.daikin.com/corporate/why_daikin/benefits/r-32/

Daikin becomes the world’s first company to succeed in using R32 refrigerant in ACs. Currently, R410A refrigerant is used in most developed nations. R32 is far better than R410A, as its global warming potential is much lower than R410A

And now after Daikin, other manufacturers like Toshiba, Hitachi, Sharp, Bluestar, Panasonic, Mitsubishi, Fujitsu General are using R32 refrigerant in their Air Conditioners.

Godrej’s Eon air conditioners use Propane (R290 Refrigerant) which has extremely lower global warming potential than commonly used HFCs.


What is the role of India in Ozone Depletion?

India has phased out the production and consumption of CFCs, reduced HCFCs by almost 10% by 2015 and the country is on the way to reduce HCFC consumption and production by 35% by 2020 according to the information from the Ozone cell of the ministry of environment, forest and climate change


Source: National Geographic

Conclusion

We all have a responsibility to protect the earth’s environment. After this is our Mother planet. and if we keep harming our earth’s environment for our temporary comfort, then we will have to face very big problems, like rising in sea level because of melting glaciers due to global warming, climate change and many other disastrous problems, in the future.

Hence this is the right time to secure the future of our coming generations by protecting our mother earth. What we can do is, reducing global warming and eliminating ozone layer depletion.

Now global warming is caused due to many reasons like, emission of CO2 from the exhaust of vehicles, from the chimneys, use of refrigerants like CFCs, HCFCs which have high global warming potential, in Air conditioner and refrigerators.

Hence to reduce the global warming potential from the air conditioners and refrigerators, we should start using eco-friendly refrigerants like R290 and R600A in the Air conditioners and Refrigerators. As people start using these appliances more, then the demand for such appliances will increase and this will boost the manufacturers to switch over to these refrigerants from CFCs, HCFCs and HFCs.

Along with this, you should use public transport if possible, instead of a private vehicle, this will also help in healing global warming in another way.


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