Environmental Hazards of R22

A colourless gas that is commonly used as a propellent and refrigerant, Chlorodifluoromethane or difluoromonochloromethane, is a quite a controversial gas. More popularly known as HCFC-22 or R-22, this gas is often used in air-conditioning applications. Another use case of this compound is in refrigerators, due to the fact that it can-cycle through the-unit continuously. Due to this compound’s high ozone depletion potential and high global warming potential, its use has been reduced in the developed countries with r22 substitutes.

However, the developing countries are increasing the use of this compound, thereby leading to an increase in its overall production levels. R-22 has an ozone depletion potential of 0.055, which is much lesser when compared to CF-11 and CF-12, which are highly ozone depleting. However, with an increased amount of importance being given to climate change and global warming, even this level of ozone depletion is not acceptable anymore. An additional environmental hazard is the fact that R-22 is a powerful greenhouse gas, with a global warming potential of 1810 (it is 1810 times more powerful than Carbon Dioxide).

Worldwide production of R-22 in the year 2008 was 80ogg/per year, staggeringly up from the 45ogg/per year in 1998. However, we expect these levels to start dropping now that the United States and the European Union have started banning the use of new R-22 to service refrigeration and air-conditioning (only reclaimed and recycled R-22 may be used). The EU banned the use of fresh R-22 in the year 2010 and the United States started phasing out the use of R-22 as part of the Montreal Protocol, the 2010 version of which required the US to reduce their R-22 consumption to 75% below their baseline. The third version of the protocol, the 2015 convention required them to reduce their consumption to below 90% of their baseline. The 2020 iteration of the protocol will require them to reduce their consumption to 99.5% below the US baseline. Apart from all the environmental hazards that come with using this compound, R-22 has become infamous for its high-price as well. Increased prices are a matter concern for both the companies that rely on this compound and the end users, who end up having to shell out more money.

Additionally, even though the compound is designed to support the long term life of-an AC unit, leaks-can occur leading to improper setup and poor quality parts. Also, conventions like the Montreal protocol leads to a reduction in the production of fresh R-22, the end result of which is an increase in the-price of R-22. To summarise, while you can still source R-22, there are better alternatives (for the environment) and cheaper options available out there in the market that we would recommend. R-41oA is one type of-refrigerant which costs much lesser and has a lesser negative impact on-the environment. You should probably consider shifting to R 41oA before R-22 becomes redundant and irrelevant. Don’t tell us we didn’t warn you!

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