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Hydrocarbon Refrigerants: Path to Sustainable Air Conditioning

Vapour compression-based systems are generally employed in domestic, commercial and industrial air conditioning units. The halogenated refrigerants in current use are having environmental issues such as ozone depletion and global warming potential. There is an overwhelming acceptance of the need to move from synthetic to natural refrigerants considering deteriorating global indicators like the ozone layer and global warming.

All previous protocols, Montreal (1987), Kyoto (1997), Paris (2016), have recognised the role of synthetic refrigerant in exacerbating the problem of climate change. The latest amendment- Kigali (2016), has set a binding deadline for phase out of halogen-based refrigerants such as, HCFCs and HFCs.

At present, R32 (with GWP of 650) has taken the place of R410A in air conditioners. However, the refrigerants with very low global warming (less than 150) must be preferred for use air conditioning applications.

HCR22 is the most sustainable drop-in alternative to refrigerants used in residential, commercial and industrial applications due to its great thermodynamic and thermo-physical properties with negligible global warming potential (ODP – 0, GWP < 20). The refrigerant charge requirement is also reduced by about 50 per cent as compared to R22. The performance of HCR22 in existing R22 air conditioners is found to be much better. It also enhances the life of the compressor and reduces the electricity consumption by up to 30 per cent. Furthermore, HCR22 can be used in R22 air conditioners without any modifications. It is suggested to use charging valves instead of piercing the refrigerant charging line at time of filling or servicing.

Keeping in mind the safety aspects for Hydrocarbon refrigerants, composite cylinders are being used for the first time in the Indian Market for HYDREON refrigerants. These cylinders are light weight, maintenance free and extremely safe for use and have been approved by all major regulatory standards bodies including India’s PESO.

HCR22 is part of the HYDREON series of refrigerants from Hans Industrial Corporation. HYDREON Refrigerants are ASHRAE listed drop in refrigerants which will replace HCFC and HFCs such as R22, Rl34a, R502 and R404. Pure hydrocarbon refrigerants such as R600a and R290 with purity levels of 99.96 per cent will also be made available.

Dr M Mohanraj,
Professor in Mechanical Engineering,
Hindustan College of Engineering and Technology,

Email – mohanrajrac@yahoo.co.in