WIN 2017/18

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Page 18 of 38

M anufacturers of HVAC systems are replacing the old classes of refrigerant chemicals with environmentally friendly, natural refrigerants that do not deplete the ozone layer and have low impact on global warming. These alternative types of natural refrigerants are non-synthetic substances and include hydrocarbons (propane butane, and cyclopentane), CO2, ammonia, water and air and can be used as cooling agents in HVAC systems. To help ensure efficient system operation and maintenance, it is key that contractors and facility managers working with these next-generation "green" natural refrigerants understand not only the benefits, but some of the technological challenges and system impacts these new materials offer. The following information summarizes crucial points about these next-generation cooling and HVAC systems. DETERMINING IF REFRIGERANT IS MORE ENVIRONMENTALLY ACCEPTABLE Ozone depletion potential is a measure of the relative amount of damage a sub- stance can cause to the ozone layer. UV radiation from sunlight causes ozone damage. Natural refrigerants have an ODP of zero and will not affect the ozone layer if they escape the system. Global warming potential is a relative measure of how much heat a greenhouse gas traps in the atmo- sphere. The lower the GWP, the better a substance is for the environment. GWP compares the amount of heat trapped by a certain mass of the gas in question to the amount of heat trapped by a similar mass of carbon dioxide. A specific GWP is calculated over a time interval, typically 20, 100 or 500 years. Today's common refrigerants have a global warming potential ranging from 1,400 to nearly 4,000. Current HFC refrigerants R404a and R134a have ex- tremely high GWP values — 3,922 and 1,430 respectively — that are harmful to the environment. The newer natural refrigerant propane R290 hydrocarbon has an extremely low GWP of three. A LOOK AT NATURAL REFRIGERANTS Based on inherent characteristics, some refrigerants are more suitable for certain applications than others. HYDROCARBONS: Many of the emerging generation of natural refrigerants are hydrocarbon based, as Green-Minded What contractors, facility managers need to know about new refrigerants for HVAC systems B Y W I L L I A M B E N T L E Y Global warming potential of refrigerants over 100 years COMPARISON OF NATURAL REFRIGERANTS Stops Legionel la Ba cteria Delta Cooling Anti-Microbial Tower Inhibit the growth of microorganisms and resist biofilm growth in your cooling tower. http://deltacooling.com 800-BUY-DELTA CIRCLE ID #16 ON READER SERVICE CARD OR GO TO HVACPPRODUCTS.COM/MARKET HYDROCARBONS PROPANE (R290) CARBON DIOXIDE CO2 (R744) AMMONIA NH3 (R717) Refrigerant Type Natural Natural Natural ODP 0 0 0 Global Warming Potential (100 year) 3 1 0 Flammability High None Low Toxicity Low (no identifi ed toxicity at concentrations ≤ 400 ppm Low (no identifi ed toxicity at concentrations ≤ 400 ppm High (evidence of toxicity at concentrations below 400 ppm) Typical Operating Pressure Range 10-50 bar 10-50 bar 2.9-13.5 bar Component Challenge Flammability High pressure Material compatibility corrosion Pressure Switch Technology Solution Explosion proof sealing Heavy-duty design Hard anodized HVACPproducts.com HVAC & Plumbing Product News \ Winter 2017/2018 16

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