Future Proof

Future Proof

Federal regulations in the refrigerant industry are centered on Global Warming Potential (GWP)

of past, current, and future refrigerants.  Global warming potential (GWP) is a relative measure

of how much heat a greenhouse gas traps in the atmosphere. It 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 GWP is calculated over a specific time interval, usually 100 years. GWP is

expressed as a factor of carbon dioxide (whose GWP is standardized to 1).

Given the rapid change of refrigerants and the upcoming regulations, Darwin Chambers may be

your best option.  All of our R-404a systems are compatible with the new R-448a.  Additionally,

Darwin Chambers utilizes the PFTCU unit to minimize refrigerant and make quick compressor

swap-outs easy whenever possible.  Our reach-ins eliminate the compressor entirely when

feasible with thermoelectric technology at moderate temperatures.

One of the more common refrigerants used is for environmental rooms is R-404a (44±2%

C2HF5 · 52±1% C2H3F3 ·4±2% C2H2F4).  Its primary use is in medium to low temperature

applications.  However, it is fairly high in GWP at 3,922.  Another common refrigerant used in

the industry is R-134a (1,1,1,2-Tetrafluoroethane) for high temperature refrigeration.  R-134a

has a GWP of 1300.  Both of these have significantly higher GWP than proposed replacements,

but are much more safer and efficient.

Two proposed replacements are propane (R-290 with a GWP of 3) and ammonia (R-717 with a

GWP of 0).  Flammability and exposure with these replacements is different from R-404a and R-134a and their use will be somewhat slow to be universally adopted.

In the meantime, manufacturers of refrigerants are coming out with better refrigerants that have a

lower GWP than R-404a and R-134a and better safety than ammonia and propane.  HoneyWell

and DuPont, the largest refrigerant manufacturers, are introducing replacements such as R-448a. 

R-448a has a 66% lower GWP than R-404a and similar efficiency with very few safety issues. 

Commercial refrigeration of the future will certainly change.