HFO refrigerants are actually unsaturated HFC refrigerants and are widely recognized as the next generation of refrigerants because of their environmental friendliness, cost-effectiveness, and great energy efficiencies.
While much of the buzz at the AHR Expo was on dwindling supplies of new HCFC-22, reclamation of that refrigerant, and use of alternative HFCs in retrofits, a number of conversations centered on alternatives beyond familiar HFCs.
HC refrigerants have an A3 safety rating, meaning there are flammability issues. Even so, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officially gave Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) approval to R-290 (propane), R-600a (isobutene), and R-441A (a blend marketed by ComStar International as HCR 188c).
In early 2012, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) gave Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) approval to three hydrocarbon (HC) refrigerants in some applications. That could well have laid the groundwork for wider use of a type of refrigerant that is used in Europe and Asia on a much broader scale.