HFCs, Cows, and the Environment

May 30, 2001
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About a month ago, I spent a few days in Denmark as part of a press event hosted by Danfoss.

Beyond the visit to the manufacturer, the trip gave me a firsthand look at what happens when a country is environmentally conscious to the nth degree.

Denmark apparently wants to put itself on the map as a leader in most everything environmental.

Bicycles are everywhere. This is a desirable mode of transportation given the level terrain of the country and gasoline prices that I estimated to be more than $4 a gallon when I was there.

Recycling is encouraged, to say the least. In my hotel room, the waste basket had three sections — one for papers, one for bottles, and one for fruit discards such as banana peels and apple cores.

Soft drink cans are nonexistent. Such drinks are in paper cups or recyclable bottles.

We come, then, to the fertilizers. Apparently farmers are only allowed to use natural fertilizers. Now, given Denmark being a country with few hills, there is much open land for farming. One of the best fertilizers is cow manure. But the stuff we Americans buy in the store for our humble little gardens apparently has been deodorized somehow.

In Denmark, cow manure — the naturally produced, odorous kind — is used to fertilize the massive amounts of farmland. And, yes, you do notice the smell.

All of which leads to one of life’s great ironies. Denmark, in its environmental push, is requiring the phaseout of the use of HFCs in the country beginning in the year 2006. It is suggesting the use of HCs, ammonia, and CO2 instead.

HFCs comprise one of six gases being lumped into a basket of gasses considered by many to have negative global warming impact.

Guess what another one of those six gasses is?

Methane.

Guess what produces a whole lot of methane gas?

Cows.

So you can see the irony. A country doing away with HFCs is allowing another global warming entity to continue to “produce” methane and then are encouraging farmers to use the gas.

I have a simple theory concerning HFCs. We in the air conditioning and refrigeration industry will reduce our use of the refrigerant in direct proportion to cows reducing their production of methane.

Powell is refrigeration editor. He can be reached at 847-622-7260; 847-622-7266 (fax); or PowellBNP@aol.com (e-mail).

New Uses for Cryogenics

The best way to maximize freezing in a minimal amount of space is with a cryogenic impingement freezer that uses atomized liquid nitrogen, according to a researcher at the British company BOC.

Michael Newman presented his paper, “Cryogenic Impingement Freezing Utilizing Atomized Liquid Nitrogen for the Rapid Freezing of Food Products,” at the recent International Institute of Refrigeration Rapid Cooling of Food Conference at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom. The paper outlines the development of a commercial cryogenic impingement freezer.

Newman said, “The food processing industry has incorporated impingement heat transfer technology in food freezing systems in an effort to maximize production rates while minimizing floor space. Until recently, however, these systems have only been successful when using mechanical refrigeration. Now, cryogenic temperatures combined with atomized liquid nitrogen droplets that evaporate rapidly on the food surface produce heat transfer rates beyond what has ever been achieved in any freezing tunnel. The result is a freezing system that provides maximum production in a very small floor space.”

BOC, a supplier of industrial gases and cryogenic freezing technologies, can be contacted at 575 Mountain Ave., Murray Hill, NJ 07974-2082; 908-464-8100.

Publication date: 06/04/2001

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