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Environment, Refrigerant

Refrigerant Gases and their Global Warming Potential

In today’s world, where Air conditioning is considered a necessity, refrigerants are being utilized at a very high rate. All these refrigerants slowly leak into the environment harming the ozone layer and impacting climate harshly. 80% of the HFCs are discharged into the environment through the Refrigeration, Air Conditioning, and Vehicles Industry. The rest of the harm is caused by the foam blowing, aerosols, solvent sectors, and fire suppression. It is important to inform ourselves of the Global Warming Potential of the gasses so we can make an informed decision during the purchasing process.

This article details the aspects of Refrigerant Global Warming Potential and enlists different Refrigerants with their Global Warming Potentials.

What is GWP?

GWP, short for Global Warming Potential, is the measuring unit of the tendency of a refrigerant to destroy a climate pollutant. Carbon Dioxide is set as the Reference gas to which we compare the GWPs of other gasses. So, we can define GWP as:

“A gas’s global warming potential (GWP) is the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions from emitting one unit of that gas about one unit of CO2, the reference gas, which has a value of 1.”

We can also assess the impact of Greenhouse gasses on Global Warming and Ozone layer through GWP. This impact can be determined at different periods. These periods can be 20 years, 100 years, and 500 years; 100 years is the most common time horizon used for the measurement by the regulators.

The 100-year refrigerant GWP list presented in this article is taken from The IPCC’s fourth assessment report, 2007 (AR4), which is the same source used in the Montreal Protocol on Refrigerants that Deplete the Ozone Layer.

How is the GWP measured?

The 100-year Global Warming Potential (GWP) of refrigerants is typically measured using a standardized methodology established by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). As stated earlier, Carbon Dioxide is taken as the base/reference gas and other gasses’ GWP are compared to it. The formula that is used to measure the GWP100 of different refrigerants is given by the IPCC is as follows:

The obtained values are then compared to the carbon dioxide which has GWP of 1. For example, let’s say that the GWP of methane is 86. This means that methane is estimated to have 86 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide over this period.

It’s important to note that the specific values used for IRF and the time horizon (e.g., 100 years) are determined based on scientific research and consensus within the IPCC. These values may be updated periodically as new data and research become available.

Below is the list of various CFCs, HFCs, HCFCs, and HFOs with their refrigerant type name and respective GWPs.

CFCs

 Refrigerant Type Name GWP
 R-12 10,900
 R-502 4657

HCFCs

 Refrigerant Type Name GWP
R-221810
R-12377
R-401A1182
R-401B1288
R-402A2788
R-402B2416
R-408A3152
R-409A1909

HFCs (Single Components + Blends)

 Refrigerant Type Name GWP
R-2314800
R-32675
R-134a1430
R-404A3922
R-407A2107
R-407C1774
R-407F1825
R-410A2088
R-417A2346
R-422A3143
R-422D2729
R-423A2280
R-424A2440
R-427A2138
R-428A3607
R-434A3245
R-437A1805
R-438A2265
R-442A1888
R-502A3985
R-MO893805
R-1253820
R-152A153
R-227ea3580
R-236fa9120
R-245fa966
R-41137
R-407B3043
R-407D1714
R-407E1642
R-407G1511
R-407H1588
R-407I1529
R-410B2438
R-413A2149
R-417B3287
R-417C1903
R-419A3221
R-419B2558
R-421A2833
R-421B3468
R-422B2718
R-422C3353
R-422E2793
R-425A1590
R-426A1562
R-427B2765
R-427C2320
R-429A16
R-430A117
R-431A45
R-435A31
R-439A2170
R-440A173
R-444A98
R-444B327
R-445A133
R-446A510
R-447A643
R-447B815
R-448A1497
R-448B1415
R-449A1504
R-449B1519
R-449C1340
R-450A618
R-451A151
R-451B166
R-452A2336
R-452B769
R-452C2424
R-453A1884
R-454A263
R-454B516
R-454C162
R-455A162
R-456A707
R-457A154
R-457B278
R-457C79
R-458A1747
R-459A510
R-459B158
R-460A2282
R-460B1459
R-460C791
R-461A3045
R-462A2437
R-463A1622
R-464A1449
R-465A158
R-466A807
R-467A1420
R-468A162
R-468B98
R-468C315
R-469A1485
R-470A1064
R-470B821
R-471A159
R-472A370
R-472B546
R-473A1853
R-50315658
R-507A4860
R-508A13419
R-508B13566
R-512A219
R-513A647
R-513B611
R-515B320

HFOs

 Refrigerant Type Name GWP
 R-1234yf 4
 R-1234ze 6

Natural Gases

 Refrigerant Type Name GWP
R-744 (Carbon Dioxide)1
R-290 (Propane)3
R-600a (Isobutane)3
R-717 (Ammonia)0
R-1706
R-11504
R-12702

All these GWPs are listed according to IPCC AR4 (2007), 100-year GWPs. The RMP (Risk Management Program) regulation analyses the high GWP gases according to this list.

In conclusion, understanding the Global Warming Potential of each refrigerant gas is crucial for assessing its environmental impact and making informed decisions about its usage. As we move towards more sustainable practices, transitioning to refrigerants with lower GWPs, such as natural refrigerants and HFOs, can significantly contribute to mitigating climate change.

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