Manufacturers and OEMs are replacing the old classes of chemical refrigerants that emit potent greenhouse gases — hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), for instance. The environmentally friendly, green refrigerants used in their place do not deplete the ozone layer and have a lower impact on global warming. Typical refrigerant alternatives — all naturally occurring, nonsynthetic substances — include hydrocarbons (propane, butane and cyclopentane), carbon dioxide (CO2), ammonia, water and air. Each can be used as a cooling agent in industrial process cooling and refrigeration systems.
For those OEMs building systems to cool manufacturing and industrial systems, using natural refrigerants brings on new design challenges. These include selecting the best type of refrigerant for the given application and choosing components that can handle the specific refrigerant’s technical and performance characteristics.