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Refrigeration

Refrigeration is the process of mechanically reducing the temperature of a space, product or process. To achieve this the process of refrigeration uses a heat pump of some kind and a working fluid. Most industrial refrigeration plant’s work using a heat pump operating a vapour compression cycle (Carnot cycle).

There are a number of working fluids that can be used in the refrigeration cycle. Until they were banned for their Ozone depleting effects CFC’s or ChloroFluoroCarbons were employed as highly effective refrigerant gases.

CFC’s have since been replaced by HCFC’s, HFC’s and PFC’s. Whilst many are not Ozone depleting many have global warming potentials up to a thousand times greater than CO2. In response to this refrigerants are now also classified by their CO2 equivalence. In Europe F Regulations (Fluorinated Hydrocarbons) are in place which mandate the use of Gas Detection for Refrigeration or other leak detection methods to quickly detect leaks in refrigeration systems.  The F Gas regulations have been re-issued in 2015 and limit the use of HFC’s due to their capacity for global warming if released.

The new F Gas Regulations which came into force on 1st January 2015 place restrictions on the use of certain HFC refrigerants in certain applications. R404A for example is one of a number of refrigerants which will be most affected by the new regulations.

Typical HCFC Refrigerant Gases being phased out include:

  • R22
  • R404a

Replacements for banned HCFC Gases include:

R134A is a single hydrofluorocarbon or HFC compound. It has no chlorine content, no ozone depletion potential, and only a modest global warming potential.
R407C is a ternary blend of hydrofluorocarbon or HFC compounds, comprising 23% of R32, 25% of R125 and 52% of R134a. It has no chlorine content, no ozone depletion potential, and only a modest direct global warming potential.

R410A is a binary blend of hydrofluorocarbon or HFC compounds, comprising 50% of R32 and 50% of R125) it has no chlorine content, no ozone depletion potential, and only a modest global warming potential.

R417A is the zero ODP replacement for R22 suitable for new equipment and as a drop-in replacement for many HCFC’s.

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