Now that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has greenlighted the use of a number of hydrocarbon (HC) refrigerants in certain refrigeration applications, many in the industry have questions about these refrigerants and their potential uses.
The world of so-called natural refrigerants, particularly hydrocarbons (HCs), has gotten a lot more interesting recently. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has given Significant New Alternatives Program (SNAP) approval to three HCs.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has added three hydrocarbons as acceptable alternative refrigerants in small commercial and household refrigerators and freezers through EPA’s Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program.
Whether or not HCs become major refrigerant players in the U.S. depends on who you talk to. Advocates point to extremely lower global warming potential, low cost, and a proven track record in Europe and Asia. Others see the flammability issue, A3 safety rating, and current building and fire codes limiting use to smaller applications.
In recent months, Tecumseh Products Co. has made a number of announcements related to a line of refrigeration compressors that are optimized for HC refrigerants, an expansion of its line of large frame rotary compressors, and the introduction of direct current (dc) compressors.
As hard as certain elements in Europe continue to push for a ban on f-gas refrigerants including HFCs, there is an equally strong push back by those who want any decisions based on a range of factors that could well keep HFCs in play for a long time.
Recent developments related to refrigerant research are focusing on testing of a new HC refrigerant and growing acceptance of a method of destroying unwanted refrigerants. In the first, ComStar International is providing test results on its blended hydrocarbon 188C2. In the second, Midwest Refrigerants is reporting on its destruction technology.
During a climate seminar event toward the end of 2010, members of the Consumer Goods Forum, made up of European sector manufacturers and retailers, announced intentions to ban their use of refrigerant gases that they said had high global warming - including HFCs - by 2015 and to replace them with natural refrigerants.
A recurring theme in refrigeration over the years has been efforts to bring equipment running on hydrocarbon (HC) refrigerants to the United States market. The first foray in this regard has been to establish a beachhead in domestic refrigerators, as such equipment running on the HC propane is common in Europe.