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Evolution of Refrigerant Application.

pdf icon Evolution of Refrigerant Application. (1416 K)
Domanski, P. A.

International Congress on Refrigeration. Proceedings. May 4, 1999, Milan, Italy, 1-14 pp, 1999.


refrigerants; alternative refrigerants; air conditioning; building technology; refrigeration; vapor compression cycle


The paper reviews the development of chlorofluorocarbon refrigerants, the implemented replacements of ozone-depleting fluids, other considered alternatives, and the prospect for next-generation refrigerants in response to climate change concerns. Convincing evidence suggests that any future refrigerants will have large molecules with high molar heat capacities resulting in a lower thermodynamic efficiency than that of the contemporary refrigerants. If refrigerant availability is not affected by regulatory measures, hydrofluorocarbon refrigerants should continue to dominate the market. "Natural refrigerants" will gain some market share in selected applications. The search for new and the refinement of mature technologies will continue to produce environmentally friendly solutions for the future. The history of mechanical refrigeration is an exciting example of human ingenuity and technological progress. From the beginning of the 19* century, machines based on different refrigeration cycle concepts and using a variety of refrigerants were proposed. The majority of them disappeared from use when better alternatives were implemented. For almost two centuries, the stimulus for these changes were growing market demand for "artificial cold," development of component technologies, economics, and personal safety. These forces changed the preferred refrigeration technology from absorption at the outset to vapor-compression ammonia systems, and to vapor-compression systems using chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). After their introduction in 1930, CFCs and HCFCs gradually became the preferred refrigerants for most applications with ammonia and air obtaining common presence in liquid chillers and aerospace applications, respectively. The dominating market share of CFCs and HCFCs was a result of their favorable attributes including safety and high efficiency.