The Science Behind The Phase-Out Of The R-22 Air Conditioner Refrigerant

If you have a business that uses a large number of refrigeration units, you have likely heard of the phaseout of R-22. This is a chlorofluorocarbon, more commonly referred to as Freon, that has been used for decades in refrigeration units of all different shapes and sizes. Whether you have a refrigerator at home, air conditioning unit, or if you are a large corporation with freezers that are working day and night, you likely have this refrigerant in your systems. As a result of scientific reports that have determined that Freon is dangerous for the environment, it is now mandatory that all refrigeration units using R-22 will need to have a replacement type of refrigerant. This is a quick overview of the science behind the phaseout of the R-22 air conditioner refrigerant.

Why Is Freon Detrimental To The Environment?

Freon is made of what is called chlorofluorocarbons. When this is in a liquid form, it can quickly convert into a gas, and will subsequently rise up into the atmosphere. As it does so, when it finally reaches the level of the stratosphere, it will find its intended target. It is here that the ozone layer resides, a thin layer of molecules that are made from oxygen. When they come into contact with each other, the chlorine atom in the CFCs will effectively break down the ozone into oxygen. By doing so, it creates holes, ones that can let in ultraviolet light that can be detrimental to people living on the earth. When this was initially discovered decades ago by scientists that could measure different layers of the atmosphere, they had to find a way to stop the problem. That is when they were first able to determine that CFCs were causing this issue. The problem was that almost everyone on the earth was using a refrigeration system, or air conditioning units, that used Freon. It was also found in aerosol cans, and that was where they began to eliminate R-22 from the public sector. Once aerosol cans were removed from the marketplace, they then decided that in 2020, Freon would also not be used. The science behind this was simply looking out the chemical structure of the CFCs, and how they reacted with ozone in the atmosphere.

How Are They Dealing With This Problem?

The problem was dealt with by first determining a date where Freon would not be produced any longer. However, this subsequently lead to another issue. What would be the replacement for this CFC. After many years of research, they were able to create replacement refrigerants. Some of them are much better than others. The goal was to always mimic what Freon was able to do when inside of these refrigeration systems. After many years of research, several different types were made. One of the top ones is R-458A, referred to as TdX-20 from Bluon Energy, this is a chemical conglomeration that mimics Freon almost perfectly.

Is There A Benefit To Using These New Refrigerants?

Scientists were able to determine that there were three specific benefits to replacing R-22. The first benefit was that they were able to provide a replacement for this very popular refrigerant, a problem that they had for many years. Second, they realize that some of these were much more efficient than Freon. They could actually extract just as much heat from the air as those that were under higher amounts of pressure. This would mean that the compressor was not going to work as hard, thereby helping all of the companies and individuals with these refrigeration units save money on the cost of utilities. The third reason that scientists believe that this is the best course of action is because it can also prevent too many greenhouse gases getting into the air. The greenhouse effect has been known for many decades, this problem that is causing the temperature of the earth to rise significantly, and these replacements for Freon were going to help in this area. That is because less electricity will need to be used with these refrigeration units, which means that not as much electricity will need to be produced. When electricity is made, it will generate greenhouse gases, such as CO2, and this can contribute to the greenhouse effect. To combat global warming, they have always known that preventing the emissions of CO2 into the atmosphere was one way to help cool the earth down. By creating these new refrigerants, they were able to address this issue, making this the third reason why phasing out R-22 is so beneficial.

What Else Does Science Say About Phasing Out Freon?

The final reason that scientists will recommend this phase out is that it allows us to create new and improved refrigeration units. It is because these replacements like TdX 20 are able to mimic Freon, and surpass its capabilities, that they can now design new and improved refrigeration units that will be more efficient and also use less energy. In combination with this, they can create solar arrays that can produce electricity free from the sun. This will cut costs even more, and when this electricity is produced without the need of generators, this can even help reduce CO2 emissions. Therefore, the replacement of R-22 is beneficial in so many ways. From the perspective of the owners of the refrigeration units, to the occupants of this world, it is one of the best decisions that scientists have helped us make.

Now that you know how modern science has been instrumental in replacing Freon, you can see all of the positive reasons for doing so. It helps the environment, and also helps those that use these machines, to save as much money as possible. As advancements continue to move forward in the creation of these hydrofluorocarbons, and similar substances, we may see that efficiency levels will also begin to rise with refrigeration systems. At the very least, this science has helped us in curbing CO2 emissions, which can help the ever-growing problem of global warming go at a slightly slower pace.