Transition to Low-GWP Refrigerants: Options and Tradeoffs
Piotr A. Domanski
Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are commonly used as refrigerants in air-conditioning equipment, are potent greenhouse gases and will need to be replaced. In search of suitable replacements, a recent study performed a comprehensive screening of a database of molecules with over 100 million entries. By applying filters representing refrigerant selection criteria (e.g., global warming potential (GWP), stability, toxicity, efficiency), the pool of molecules was reduced to less than thirty fluids. The group includes fluids with good efficiency and low toxicity, but all are at least mildly flammable. No new group of chemicals that could serve as a source of a new class of refrigerants was revealed. The major conclusion of the work is that the options for low-GWP refrigerants for air conditioning are very limited. Tradeoffs between different options will be discussed.
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