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Demystifying low-GWP refrigerant choice

Heat exchanger manufacturer Alfa Laval has produced a white paper which seeks to ‘demystify’ the process of choosing the right low-GWP refrigerant for a specific application.

This latest document updates an earlier edition of the white paper, originally published in 2018. Photo by AlfaLaval

This latest document updates an earlier edition of the white paper, originally published in 2018. Photo by AlfaLaval

The 16-page free-to-download document provides an overview of existing legislation and current market trends before offering a breakdown of different low-GWP refrigerants currently available and a look at new technologies for using alternative refrigerants in various applications.

Entitled Navigating a Changing Refrigerants Market, it was developed by the company as a response to customers seeking more information about choosing from the growing range of new refrigerants generally, and “natural” refrigerants in particular.

“The shift in today’s refrigerant market is much more complicated from what we’ve seen in the past,” says Matteo Munari, who is head of application & product development for brazed plate heat exchangers at Alfa Laval, and one of the expert contributors to the new white paper. “There won’t be a one-to-one transition. In most cases, choosing the “right” refrigerant replacement will depend largely on the application in question and where you operate”.

“As a result, we regularly hear from customers with questions about what new legislation means for them,” added Alfa Laval’s Energy Division sales director Tommy Ångbäck, another contributor to the white paper. “With this white paper, we have collected everything we have learned in decades of developing heat exchangers for these different refrigerants. Our hope has been to make it even easier to support customers, putting all that information directly at their fingertips”.

Paper overview

The new white paper offers an introduction to the topic and provides a thorough overview of the regulatory situations in different parts of the world today. It then reviews the different refrigerant options currently available, the most recent market trends, and closes with a look at the various types of new heat transfer innovations that have emerged for handling the needs of low-GWP refrigerants.

“Our goal was to make sure the reader understands what is required in their market and the key differences between synthetic options as well as natural refrigerants like propane, ammonia and CO2,” said Munari. “Each refrigerant option offers different advantages and potential drawbacks. Readers of this white paper will hopefully walk away with a much better understanding of which solutions offer the best choice for their specific needs, and what types of heat exchanger technology will be needed to handle the challenges of those particular refrigerants”.

This latest document updates an earlier edition of the white paper, originally published in 2018.

“Since then, a lot has happened in the market,” he said. “We therefore felt the time was right to update the white paper so that our customers have access to the latest information. We also expect there will be further updates to the document going forward, for example, as we await revisions to the European Union’s important F-gas regulation in 2022”.

The white paper can be downloaded here.