Of interest or possible dismay to cold store owners is the Montreal protocol meeting recently held in Kigali, Rwanda. 190 countries made a legally binding commitment to phase out the use of HFC refrigerants. These were introduced in the 1990’s to replace the CFC gasses which were harming the ozone layer. Unfortunately it didn’t take long before HFC’s global warming potential was realised as being up to 1000 times that of CO2. While HFC refrigerants will continue to be available into the 2020’s their prices will rise together with replacement compressors and other equipment. On top of this, expected global warming taxes on HFC refrigeration systems will be onerous. Typical HFC refrigerants include R410A, R407C and R134A.
Any cold store operator who is thinking of building a new store, needs to consider natural refrigerants, like ammonia, seriously. If it is decided to go with what is loosely termed a “Freon” system, the refrigerant to be used needs to be identified to make sure it isn’t classed as an HFC. As atmospheric CO2 levels are over 400parts per million, the highest concentration in 400,000 years, the pressure to eliminate HFC use as a quick fix of global warming will become intense.