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Limited options for low-global-warming-potential refrigerants



Mark O. McLinden, J S. Brown, Riccardo Brignoli, Andrei F. Kazakov, Piotr A. Domanski


Hydrofluorocarbons, currently used as refrigerants in air-conditioning systems, are potent greenhouse gases, and their contribution to climate change is projected to increase. Future use of the hydrofluorocarbons will be phased down and, thus, replacement fluids must be found. Here we show that only a few pure fluids possess the combination of chemical, environmental, thermodynamic, and safety properties necessary for a refrigerant, and that these fluids are at least slightly flammable. We search for replacements by applying screening criteria to a comprehensive chemical database. For the fluids passing the thermodynamic and environmental screens (critical temperature and global warming potential), we simulate performance in small air-conditioning systems, including optimization of the heat exchangers. We show that the efficiency-versus-capacity tradeoff that exists in an ideal analysis disappears when a more realistic system is considered. The maximum efficiency occurs at a relatively high volumetric refrigeration capacity, but there are few fluids in this range.
Nature Communications


refrigerant, global warming potential, GWP, simulation, refrigeration cycles, thermodynamic properties


McLinden, M. , Brown, J. , Brignoli, R. , Kazakov, A. and Domanski, P. (2017), Limited options for low-global-warming-potential refrigerants, Nature Communications (Accessed June 18, 2024)


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Created February 17, 2017, Updated May 9, 2017