Carbon Refrigerants & Flammable Gases In Commercial Refrigeration

Carbon Refrigerants in Commercial Refrigeration

Carbon (CO2) refrigerants are changing the world of refrigeration as we know it, gradually replacing current Hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) and Hydrocarbon (HC) in the market. HFC and HC are currently the most commonly used refrigerants in refrigeration units.

HFC’s contain Hydrogen, Florine and Carbon. Although HFC’s have no ozone depletion potential, it does however act as a greenhouse gas with an average Global Warming Potential (GWP) of 2000. As a result, responsible use and equipment inspections are mandatory under the “F gas” regulations.

HC refrigerants are composed of just hydrogen and carbon and are considered a natural refrigerant with an improved average GWP of 3 and increased energy efficiency. HC includes Propane (R290), Isobutane (R600a) and Propylene (R1270). Its low GWP is a huge contributing factor to its popularity  in commercial refrigeration. In a typical supermarket 5 to 10 percent of refrigerants are expelled into the local atmosphere, by using HC’s, annual gas emissions are reduced by tons each year.

Both are highly flammable and are only allowed for use in units that fulfil the requirements stated in the latest revision of EN/IEC 60335-2-24. Although it may seem dangerous for commercial use preventative measures can be taken such as using ATEX compact axial fans such as Axair’s HEC Fan. Our specially designed fan has been created with the commercial refrigeration in mind and is IP68 and EC.

CO2 refrigerants, also known as R744, are economical, available in vast quantities and have a GWP of 1. They are also non-flammable and non-toxic but is however very high pressure. CO2 refrigerants are not a new thing and are very common in ship refrigeration plants, however the transition to CO2 in the commercial refrigeration market has just begun.  Unfortunately unlike the HFC and HC refrigerants, CO2 cannot be retrofitted. This is the only thing slowing the growth of CO2 refrigerants.

For more information about cooling for commercial refrigeration visit our applications page. Find official legislation on carbon refrigerants here.

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