Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

MAE 297 Seminar

Role of Refrigerants in Global Warming and the Challenge of New Refrigerants

Erin Szelagowski Air Pollution Specialist

California Air Resources Board GWP of refrigerants

Many refrigerants in use today have high Global Warming Potentials (GWPs) many times that of Carbon Dioxide. If released into the atmosphere, these refrigerants act to trap heat for several years, thus contributing to Global Warming. Several replacement refrigerants with lower GWPs are entering the market and beginning to replace the dangerous hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants currently used. Natural refrigerants originally used in the 1800s are making a comeback as replacement refrigerants – they include carbon dioxide (as refrigerant), ammonia, propane, and isobutane. Also, new cooling equipment is increasingly using HFOs, the newest synthetic refrigerants that are non-ozone depleting and very low global warming.

New refrigerants have huge impacts on the refrigeration equipment industry in particular. The replacement refrigerants with the lowest GWPs require changes to the mechanics of the system, while other refrigerants may require very few changes. Of particular interest is the safety of low-GWP refrigerants. Some refrigerants may be toxic or flammable, therefore any safety concerns need to be addressed during the engineering of new refrigeration systems. The California Air Resources Board has proposed research to address the safety concerns related to replacement refrigerants.

About presenter:
Erin received her Master’s degree from the University of California, Davis in 2016. Currently, she works with the California Air Resources Board Refrigerant Management Program and is tasked with helping the regulated community come into compliance with refrigerant regulations as well as assisting with the development of new regulations covering refrigerants

Date(s) - 11/09/2017
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

1062 Bainer Classroom


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