For some time now, R410a has been the refrigerant that has been deployed in air conditioning systems thanks to its properties that make it less harmful to the environment than its predecessors like R22. R22 is a hydro-chlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) that has a high global warming potential (GWP) rating and also contributes to the depletion of the ozone layer. R410a is a hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) that doesn't contribute to ozone depletion, and has a significantly lower GWP than R22.
Now, however, there is a HFC that outperforms R410a in those areas. So is the GWP of R410a high by modern standards, and what alternatives are out there?
An Ageing Technology
When R410a came into use, it was praised for its energy efficiency and direct GWP value, which now stands at 2,088. This figure means that 1kg of R410a is the equivalent of 2,088kg of carbon in terms of how harmful it is to the environment.
R410a can absorb and release a greater amount of heat than R22, which means a compressor can run at a cooler temperature and be less prone to overheating burnout. It also functions at a higher pressure than R22, helping to keep energy consumption as low as possible for producing the cooling effect you need from an air conditioning system. These are just some of the properties that made R410a a strong candidate for air conditioning systems of yesteryear.
The Modern Climate
By modern standards, however, that GWP of 2,088 is far too high. In fact, it fails to comply with F-Gas legislation that is now coming into effect which aims to phase down the emissions from air conditioning systems, both in terms of energy consumption and the harm that can come from refrigerant leakage. This alone has been reason enough for the industry to begin looking for good alternatives to R410a as the refrigerant for the next generation of air conditioning systems.
One of the refrigerants that is currently in its infancy is the hydrocarbon (HC) option, which is likely to be a future step towards lowering emissions again. However, the current step is to adopt alternative hydrofluorocarbons (HFC) to R410a. The frontrunner has emerged, and it is R32. With a GWP value of 675, R32 only does 1/3 the amount of damage to the environment when compared to R410a. It also has zero ozone depletion potential. Furthermore, studies have shown that its ability to work at even higher pressures than R410a make it more energy efficient, and could save on indirect environmental damage due to energy consumption by around 7%.
Global warming, or climate change, is one of the primary international concerns that our society has to tackle. It is both our responsibility and a legislated requirement to take action where we can. R410a was a good option as a refrigerant some years ago, but with options available that are more cost effective and better for the environment, it has had its day. The industry is moving towards R32 for the conceivable future, and this will help in the push for minimising the detrimental impact human beings are having on our environment.
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Password Services Air Conditioning Ltd have been trading since August 1998 and are continuously expanding thanks to the reputation we have earned for high level skills and service. We are able to offer a wide range of HVAC and Refrigeration solutions to meet customers requirements from design, to installation, service and maintenance. Call our team today on 01299 253 344 or visit our website www.passwordservices.co.uk