Environmental Protection

NIST Identifies 60 Promising Refrigerant Fluids

Using a new computational method, researchers at the Commerce Department agency found these have low global warming potential and boiling points low enough to be used in common refrigeration equipment.

Sixty fluids among 56,203 that were considered have been identified by researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology as potentially useful new refrigerant fluids. The researchers used a new computational method to identify these as having low global warming potential and boiling points low enough to be used in common refrigeration equipment, the Commerce Department agency's NIST Tech Beat reported Sept. 18.

The method is described in their paper published in Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research earlier this month.

According to the article about their findings by Laura Ost, the promising low-global warming potential fluids include fluorinated olefins because they react rapidly with atmospheric compounds and will not persist in the atmosphere.

"What industry is trying to do is be prepared, because moving from a GWP in the thousands or tens of thousands to a GWP of 150 is an enormous challenge, both economically and technologically," said NIST chemist Michael Frenkel, one of three authors of the paper. "We decided to leverage the tools NIST has been developing for the last 15 years to look into the whole slew of available chemicals."

They identified 1,234 fluids for further study, and 60 of those have the necessary low boiling points, Ost reported. Her report says the U.S. air conditioning, heating, and refrigeration equipment manufacturing industry ships about $30 billion in goods annually, according to the U.S. Bureau of the Census.

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