Hydrochlorofluorocarbon refrigerant gases (HCFCs) are considered the 2nd generation of fluorinated refrigerant gases (FCGs).

They were developed as a more environmentally friendly alternative to CFCs, as they have a lower ozone depletion potential (ODP) than CFCs, however, they are still greenhouse gases, with a medium/high global warming potential (GWP).

HCFCs are compounds consisting of hydrogen, chlorine, fluorine and carbon atoms. Because they contain hydrogen, they are chemically less stable than their CFC predecessors, and therefore have a lower ODP. The ODP of HCFCs is about 10% of that of CFCs.

One of the most widely used products due to its wide range of applications and temperature ranges is R-22. It is a product highly valued by technicians as it is pure, with good thermodynamic performance (cooling capacity and COP), in addition to working at low pressures.

Different HCFC solutions, usually blends, were designed for use in simple and direct (drop-in) retrofits of existing CFC equipment, such as R401A, R-401B, R-402A, R-402B, R-403B, R-408A, R-409A, R-416A, DI-36 and DI-44.

Also affected by the Montreal Protocol, HCFCs were known as transitional gases to HFCs, which do not destroy the ozone layer, and for this reason, they were named as the ultimate solutions when they appeared on the market.

In Europe, the use and marketing of HCFCs is regulated by European Regulation 1005-2009 of September 16, 2009 on substances that deplete the ozone layer (ODS). Its use as a virgin product for maintenance operations has been prohibited since 2010, and only recycled or regenerated product can be used until December 31, 2014. Outside Europe, they are still widely used although they are in a phase out process.

What is the best alternative to HCFCs?

Developed countries introduced HFC refrigerants in the 1990s as an alternative to HCFCs, and low-GWP HFC and HFO solutions are now being used.

Countries considered to be developing countries have the following issue. Use highly known and proven refrigerants such as HFCs or use newer HFC and HFC+HFO low global warming potential (GWP) blends? The GWP, thermodynamic properties (capacity and COP) for good energy efficiency, their availability and price, are factors to be taken into consideration to answer this question.

Gas Servei will accompany you during this transition of products that affect the ozone layer and offers technical advice for the choice of alternatives with less environmental impact and better energy efficiency.

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