In order to reduce greenhouse effect and contribution to global warming through the use of refrigerants, Europe introduced new gas laws "F-Gas Regulations" in early 2015. The goal is to gradually move from R410A to R32 refrigerant and further in the future to more environmentally friendly refrigerants.
To see the complete picture of refrigerants, one has to go back to the past when air conditioners used the R-22 refrigerant, popularly called 'freon'. This cooling medium was abandoned because it had a negative effect on ozone and was replaced by the R-410A, which is still in use today. The R-410A refrigerant is not ozone-depleting, but has a relatively high GWP coefficient (global warming potential) of 2088. This is why a new 'environmentally friendly' R32-grade refrigerant was made. Its GWP stands at 675, and it is another medium following the downward trend of GWP towards 1 (CO2 gas amount), which is being sought after by the air-conditioning industry.
In addition, the R32 refrigerant provides slightly better heat transfer, resulting in higher energy efficiency. R32 is a one-component coolant, making it easier to reuse and recycle. In addition, it is relatively cheap to manufacture, easier to handle because it does not dissolve and it also uses known technology thus keeping costs similar. For this reason, it is easier for air conditioners to meet the requirements for A +++ energy class, and for manufacturers the cost of refrigerant is lower in the total cost of production.
Each refrigerant has strong and weak points which also differ depending on the type of product being targeted. Many major air conditioner manufacturers have found that the R32 is the optimal choice for use in their products because:
- it has low GWP (675)
- zero ozone depletion potential (ODP)
- is ideal for the next generation of equipment
- offers greater efficiency and better works with longer piping
- is compliant with "F-Gas Regulations"
- requires a smaller refrigerant volume per Kw
- is affordable and easily accessible