No time like the present to re-educate the industry on the Ozone Depletion Potential (ODP), and the Global Warming Potential (GWP), of the refrigerant we utilize in our industry.
The ozone shield was breaking down and sun-burning the penguins in the South Antarctic and the EPA probably misrepresented the amount of R-12 in refrigerators by the power of 16, but without their help the government would not be able to tax refrigerant as being dangerous, and put the monies into the general fund instead of the EPA monitoring program.
So chlorinated hydrocarbons were the bad chemicals that ate the protective ozone layer above the earth. New refrigerants were designed and produced that had a much lower effect.
R-12 was the highest concentration CFC refrigerant with the chlorine molecule so it got the base number of “1”. It used to cost less than a dollar a pound but during the phase-out it was over $25 per pound. A much more friendly refrigerant, R-22 had a 0.05 OPD designation. But the GWP of R-22 is 1700 or 1700 times more harmful than CO2, with a GWP number of “1”.
Last month I was discussing R-410A the high-pressure refrigerant used in scroll chillers, heat pumps, WSHPs, and almost all air conditioning applications. R-410A has an ODP of ”0” and 2088 GWP. So now it is inline to be phased out.
The first option was Honeywell’s R-454B which is an A2L slightly flammable with a GWP of 466.
Now DuPont has the R-466A with a GWP of approximately 1358 but is an A1 non-flammable refrigerant.
How low can we go! And of course, most the other countries don’t have to use these low GWP refrigerants for at least 50 years?