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Title: Using natural refrigerants (hydrocarbons) in air conditioning systems

Abstract

Refrigerant 134a has emerged as the new refrigerant for the automotive and commercial A/C industry that has a zero ozone depleting potential (ODP) value. However, R-134a's greenhouse warming potential (GWP) is relatively high among the newly developed hydroflourocarbons (HFCs) which seems to be an obstacle for the furtherance of the use of R-134a, especially in European countries. Hence, many countries are looking for other refrigerants that do not contribute to global warming. There are many refrigerants that are currently available naturally. Examples of the so called natural refrigerants are: ammonia, carbon dioxide, hydrocarbons, water, helium, air, etc. Hydrocarbons are receiving attention these days as their thermodynamic and thermophysical properties are similar to that of R-12 and R-134a. Hydrocarbons are highly flammable that have zero ODP and negligible GWP. In Europe, some countries have started using hydrocarbons for refrigerators, freezers, automobiles, and for commercial applications like supermarkets. Currently, limited information is available in the open literature on the performance and design of the air conditioning and refrigeration systems using the hydrocarbons. Most of the work reported in the literature on the hydrocarbon refrigerants has been conducted by the researchers in Europe and Australia. In the United States, due to the productmore » liability, the manufacturers have not been receptive to the idea of using hydrocarbons as the refrigerants. In this paper, the author has simulated the thermodynamic performance of a typical air conditioning system using hydrocarbons. The performance of the air conditioning system has been simulated by using Propane (R-290) and Isobutane (R-600a) as the working fluids. REFPROP computer program developed by NIST has been used to determine the thermodynamic properties for R-290 and R-600a. The author has also presented the single phase (liquid and vapor), pool boiling, two-phase, dry- out region, and condensation heat transfer coefficients for R-290 and R-600a. The system performance and the heat transfer coefficients for R-290 and R-600a have been compared to systems with R-22, R- 134a, and R-12. The environmental impact of R-290 and R-600a has also been discussed. The information outlined in this paper can be used for designing residential, commercial, and automotive air conditioning systems.« less

Authors:
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Zexel USA Corp., Decatur, IL (US)
OSTI Identifier:
20000311
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: 33rd Intersociety Energy Conversion Engineering Conference, Colorado Springs, CO (US), 08/02/1998--08/06/1998; Other Information: 1 CD-ROM. Operating system required: Windows 3.x; Windows95/NT; Macintosh; UNIX. All systems need 2X CD-ROM drive., PBD: 1998; Related Information: In: Proceedings of the 33. intersociety energy conversion engineering conference, by Anghaie, S. [ed.], [2800] pages.
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
32 ENERGY CONSERVATION, CONSUMPTION, AND UTILIZATION; AIR CONDITIONERS; REFRIGERANTS; MATERIAL SUBSTITUTION; DESIGN; PROPANE; 2-METHYLPROPANE; THERMODYNAMIC PROPERTIES; PERFORMANCE; HEAT TRANSFER; COMPUTERIZED SIMULATION

Citation Formats

Mathur, G.D. Using natural refrigerants (hydrocarbons) in air conditioning systems. United States: N. p., 1998. Web.
Mathur, G.D. Using natural refrigerants (hydrocarbons) in air conditioning systems. United States.
Mathur, G.D. 1998. "Using natural refrigerants (hydrocarbons) in air conditioning systems". United States. doi:.
@article{osti_20000311,
title = {Using natural refrigerants (hydrocarbons) in air conditioning systems},
author = {Mathur, G.D.},
abstractNote = {Refrigerant 134a has emerged as the new refrigerant for the automotive and commercial A/C industry that has a zero ozone depleting potential (ODP) value. However, R-134a's greenhouse warming potential (GWP) is relatively high among the newly developed hydroflourocarbons (HFCs) which seems to be an obstacle for the furtherance of the use of R-134a, especially in European countries. Hence, many countries are looking for other refrigerants that do not contribute to global warming. There are many refrigerants that are currently available naturally. Examples of the so called natural refrigerants are: ammonia, carbon dioxide, hydrocarbons, water, helium, air, etc. Hydrocarbons are receiving attention these days as their thermodynamic and thermophysical properties are similar to that of R-12 and R-134a. Hydrocarbons are highly flammable that have zero ODP and negligible GWP. In Europe, some countries have started using hydrocarbons for refrigerators, freezers, automobiles, and for commercial applications like supermarkets. Currently, limited information is available in the open literature on the performance and design of the air conditioning and refrigeration systems using the hydrocarbons. Most of the work reported in the literature on the hydrocarbon refrigerants has been conducted by the researchers in Europe and Australia. In the United States, due to the product liability, the manufacturers have not been receptive to the idea of using hydrocarbons as the refrigerants. In this paper, the author has simulated the thermodynamic performance of a typical air conditioning system using hydrocarbons. The performance of the air conditioning system has been simulated by using Propane (R-290) and Isobutane (R-600a) as the working fluids. REFPROP computer program developed by NIST has been used to determine the thermodynamic properties for R-290 and R-600a. The author has also presented the single phase (liquid and vapor), pool boiling, two-phase, dry- out region, and condensation heat transfer coefficients for R-290 and R-600a. The system performance and the heat transfer coefficients for R-290 and R-600a have been compared to systems with R-22, R- 134a, and R-12. The environmental impact of R-290 and R-600a has also been discussed. The information outlined in this paper can be used for designing residential, commercial, and automotive air conditioning systems.},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = 1998,
month = 7
}

Conference:
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  • Refrigeration and air-conditioning play an important role in modern life. They not only offer comfortable and healthy living environments but also are necessary to survive severe weather. Man-made products contributing to human comfort, however, can have serious side effects: for example, ozone depletion and global warming. These concerns are the biggest driving force for technical innovation in the field of refrigeration and air-conditioning. Carbon dioxide has a number of advantages, such as the zero Ozone Depletion Potential and low Global Warming Potential, absence of recycling or recovery needs, low cost, excellent availability, possibly more compact and lighter systems, and potentiallymore » equivalent performance as compared to conventional refrigerants. Based on the performance analysis and comparison of a CO2 hot water heat pump vs. and R22 system, it is concluded that the CO2 system at least matches the energy efficiency of R22 and possibly exceeds it. In addition, CO2 has maintenance and service cost advantages, and leads to smaller system size. Assuming that the same level of mass production is attained for CO2 as it is for R22, first cost savings are likely. This evaluation holds only to the degree that the hot water storage tank is designed specifically for the use of CO2, which results in a slight cost increase for the tank. This study demonstrates the surprisingly good performance potential of CO{sub 2} and gives detailed reasons for each.« less
  • Refrigeration and air conditioning systems have high, negative environmental impacts due to refrigerant charge leaks from the system and their corresponding high global warming potential. Thus, many efforts are in progress to obtain suitable low GWP alternative refrigerants and more environmentally friendly systems for the future. In addition, the system’s life cycle climate performance (LCCP) is a widespread metric proposed for the evaluation of the system’s environmental impact.
  • Commercial refrigeration systems consumed 1.21 Quads of primary energy in 2010 and are known to be a major source for refrigerant charge leakage into the environment. Thus, it is important to study the environmental impact of commercial supermarket refrigeration systems and improve their design to minimize any adverse impacts. The system s Life Cycle Climate Performance (LCCP) was presented as a comprehensive metric with the aim of calculating the equivalent mass of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere throughout its lifetime, from construction to operation and destruction. In this paper, an open source tool for the evaluation of the LCCPmore » of different air-conditioning and refrigeration systems is presented and used to compare the environmental impact of a typical multiplex direct expansion (DX) supermarket refrigeration systems based on three different refrigerants as follows: two hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants (R-404A, and R-407F), and a low global warming potential (GWP) refrigerant (N-40). The comparison is performed in 8 US cities representing different climates. The hourly energy consumption of the refrigeration system, required for the calculation of the indirect emissions, is calculated using a widely used building energy modeling tool (EnergyPlus). A sensitivity analysis is performed to determine the impact of system charge and power plant emission factor on the LCCP results. Finally, we performed an uncertainty analysis to determine the uncertainty in total emissions for both R-404A and N-40 operated systems. We found that using low GWP refrigerants causes a considerable drop in the impact of uncertainty in the inputs related to direct emissions on the uncertainty of the total emissions of the system.« less