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Refrigerant choice has little effect on energy efficiency

A NEW guidance note from the Institute of Refrigeration concludes that the choice of refrigerant has very little effect upon the energy efficiency of cooling systems - far more important is a properly maintained, well designed system.
Aimed primarily at designers, consultants, end users and manufacturers, Energy Efficiency and Refrigerant Choice claims the impact of the refrigerant on plant efficiency is likely to be less than 5%, assuming all other design aspects are optimised. This contrasts with the much greater impact of basic design, component selection and plant operation, which - when best practice is not followed - can result in a system being between 20-50% less efficient, according to the IoR.

Ultimately, it points out, efficiency for a particular application depends upon the laws of physics and practicality. Hydrocarbons, ammonia or carbon dioxide may be the preferred choice, in order to provide an environmentally friendly solution, but practicality often leads to a choice of HFC refrigerants in situations where other refrigerants cannot be used.

It acknowledges that, in some applications, ammonia or hydrocarbons may be the preferred choice, but points out that these refrigerants are not suitable for all applications.

To obtain a copy of the guidance note, contact the Institute of Refrigeration on 020 8647 7033; or visit

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