Cool Technologies: Working Without HFCs

Publication - November 9, 2012
The rapid phase out of HFCs — “short-term climate forcing substances” — is one of the immediate preventative measures that can be taken today to try to avoid near-term climate tipping points.

The global warming potential of HFCs is thousands of times greater than that of carbon dioxide. Their impact on the climate is most concentrated in the near term following their release into the atmosphere.

By 2050 their annual emissions are projected to rise to about 3.5 to 8.8 Gt CO2eq, or to between 18 to 45% of global CO2 emissions. Their elimination by 2020 could help buy back some needed time to further tackle the challenges of reducing CO2 emissions from fossil fuels.

The Cool Technologies: Working Without HFCs report documents the current availability of HFC-free cooling technologies in most sectors and more are rapidly coming on line.

There is no single solution to replace HCFCs. A wide variety of environmentally superior and technologically proven HCFC and HFC-free alternatives can meet our cooling needs.

These alternatives include natural refrigerants (CO2, hydrocarbons, ammonia, water, etc.), secondary cooling systems, desiccant cooling, evaporative cooling, absorption cooling, and innovative building designs that can eliminate the need for mechanical cooling.

Natural refrigerants and foaming agents, in contrast to fluorocarbons, abundantly occur in the biosphere, they maintain a steady state, and are easily absorbed by nature.

HFC-free technologies exist in nearly the full spectrum of applications, including:

  • Domestic Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning
  • Commercial Refrigeration andAir-Conditioning
  • Mobile Air-Conditioning
  • Industrial Processes
  • Insulation Foam Blowing

New HFC-free products are entering the market almost weekly. There is a domino effect in cooling technologies. When one company achieves a breakthrough others soon replicate. Technological innovations in one sector soon impact on innovations in other sectors.

Developing countries would greatly benefit by leapfrogging HFCs altogether, and going straight from HCFCs to long-term solutions that rely on natural refrigerants and foam blowing agents, thus avoiding reliance on more expensive, less efficient HFCs that will need to be phased out. Furthermore, they could finally escape the clutches of the fluorocarbon chemical industry’s monopoly over their choice of technology.

The report surveys an extensive list of companies and enterprises using HFC-free technologies, documenting the already wide array of safe and commercially proven HFC-free technologies for meeting nearly all needs formerly met by fluorocarbons.

“Cool Technologies: Working Without HFCs” documents the “possible,” and demonstrates that the necessary nexus between climate protection policies and technological development is achievable in the refrigeration and cooling sectors.

Number of pages: 78

Cool Technologies 2012