Hydrocarbons at use
Recalling the vital and potential role played by refrigerants, ASHRAE’s paper, also insists on the environmental consequences and potential damages caused by an ever growing demand in refrigerants. In searching alternatives with low Global Warming Potential (GWP) and reduced likelihood of other environmental impacts, natural refrigerants such as hydrocarbons are gaining increased interest.
Hydrocarbons are described as having excellent environmental, thermodynamic, and thermo-physical properties, with applications in:
-systems with small charges including domestic refrigerator/freezers and portable air conditioners,
-stand-alone commercial refrigeration systems including beverage and ice-cream machines,
-as the primary refrigerant in centralised indirect systems for supermarket refrigeration,
-chillers in the range 1kW – 150 kW
Regulation and training
While describing natural refrigerants as “environmentally superior”, the paper outlines each refrigerant’s varying efficiency and safety in heating and cooling appliances. Bearing in mind that hydrocarbons can be flammable the paper calls for their handling by trained personnel. The paper further states that extensive research has led to more and more secure use of hydrocarbons.
ASHRAE and AIRAH: on climate change
On 27 February, ASHRAE and the Australian Institute of Refrigeration Air Conditions and Heating (AIRAH) issued a joint resolution on climate change emphasizing the necessary use of renewable energy, education of the building industry and responsible refrigerant use to insure sustainable future of heating and refrigeration. Yet again, ASHRAE stresses the importance for the heating and refrigeration industry to evolve towards greater sustainability and greater environmental concern integration.
“The use of HVAC&R technologies is an essential element of contemporary life,” Bill Harrison, ASHRAE president, said. “Yet, HVAC&R systems contribute to greenhouse gas releases through energy-related effects and through the effects of refrigerant losses. ASHRAE and AIRAH are emphasising a variety of measures to decrease emissions associated with energy use and its effect on global climate.”