Evolution of Refrigerants from 1805 to 2030

When human beings wanted to conserve products, they initially turned to salt, and this has been used since the times of ancient Egypt. This technique is still used in brine solutions. The Mesopotamians (present-day Iraq) and the natives of South America both used pits where they piled up ice to create cold reserves. It was not until the 19th century that conservation processes took a more industrial turn, using different technologies and fluids, which in turn led to their being used to create more comfortable environments.
First Generation

The first generation of refrigerant fluids (1850s) included “natural” fluids: ammonia, CO2, sulphur dioxide. These are toxic and/or flammable substances that pose numerous safety issues.

Despite their attractive thermodynamic properties (as well as their availability), their physical properties made them potentially dangerous in cases of misuse or accidents. They were progressively abandoned in favour of a new generation of refrigerants, considered risk-free for people.

Second Generation

The second generation of fluid contained synthetic fluids (1930s) and halogens. These included chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) like R12, then Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC) such as R22. They are not flammable, toxic and hazard-free. However, they do contain chlorine which attacks the ozone layer.

Later, the members of the United Nations at the time (24 countries) reached a multi-lateral agreement to protect the ozone layer. The Montreal Protocol was agreed upon in 1987 and prohibited the use of CFCs and HCFCs and obliged member states to gradually eliminate SDOLs (Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer).

Third Generation

The third generation concerns hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) like R404a or R134a, which were largely used until 2015. They do not pose a risk to the ozone layer but they do contribute towards global warming. The Kigali agreement in 2016 (ratified by 99 states and the European Union in 2020) signalled the progressive phasing-out of these refrigerants.

In fact. R134a, from 2013 was no longer used in new vehicle models and in 2017 it was banned from new vehicles. R134a was then replaced by a fourth-generation fluid, 1234yf.

However, garages and workshops will continue to use them until the old vehicle fleet has been completely renewed.

Fourth Generation

Hydrofluoroolefins make up the fourth generation of refrigerant fluids. They have been in use since 2010. They do not pose a risk to the ozone layer and have the advantage of having a very short life of just 10 to 15 years. However, they are lightly flammable and cannot be used in public-access buildings.

 

Evolution of Refrigerant Fluids

Logo SNDC
SNDC

SNDC designs and supplies air conditioning, heating, filtration and pressurisation systems for vehicle cabins

    Share

    More articles

    EQUIP AUTO ON TOUR Room
    EQUIP’AUTO ON TOUR

    SNDC is delighted to announce that it will be taking part in EQUIP’AUTO ON TOUR 2021, which will take place at MEETT in TOULOUSE. We hope you can attend too!

    SNDC Team with RF Units
    SNDC Invests to Strengthen Its Position in the Refrigerated Vehicles Sector

    Haute-Garonne-based company SNDC, owner of Ecoclim, is planning to modernise its facilities to triple its production capacity over the next two years and consolidate its position as a leading French specialist in refrigerant handling and treatment.

    ECOCLIME enables recycling and recharging in a single operation
    ECOCLIM Enables Recycling and Recharging in a Single Operation

    As a major player in the automotive HVAC sector for over 35 years, SNDC designs and manufactures refrigerant handling tools under its Ecoclim brand in Toulouse.

    FROIDNEWS - RF404 and RF452 Units
    RF404 & RF452 Charging Units

    They recycle refrigerant and reinject it into air conditioning or refrigeration systems.

    Scroll to Top