A refrigerant is a part of a heat cycle that helps to exchange heat starting from one area and expel the heat energy onto the next. Refrigerant exists as a gas at room temperature. It is found mostly in the equipment’s and the main purpose of refrigerant is to perform cooling.

They are also found in those devices that are used for heating, most usually AC systems, freezers, coolers, and vehicle ventilation systems.

A refrigerant experiences stage changes from a fluid to gas (on absorbing warmth) and back to fluid (when a compressor packs it). The choice of perfect refrigerant is made in view of its ideal thermodynamic properties, non-destructive nature, and security (non-harmful and non-combustible).

Albeit numerous liquids can be utilized as a refrigerant, however in the twentieth century, CFCs turned into the most prevalent refrigerants.

In the previous years, fluorocarbons also known as chlorofluorocarbons (CFC’s), were utilized as refrigerants, however, they are being eliminated these days because of their harmful effect on the ozone layer.

Other basic refrigerants utilized for a slew of applications are smelling salts, sulfur dioxide, and non-halogenated hydrocarbons, for example, propane. A small portion of refrigerant that is left in the cooling devices is mostly released into the air causing ozone depletion and ultimately global warming.

The demand and interest for cooling devices are on the rise because of the requirements of industries, especially in developing nations. AC’s and similar cooling devices are expected to gain more popularity with time thus resulting in higher usage of refrigerant.

However, developing nations are utilizing HCFCs, for example, HCFC-22, a substance that is destructive to the ozone layer even though the utilization of HCFCs in developing nations was stopped in 2013, and the manufacturing of these refrigerants in developing nations is strictly prohibited under government norms.

Classification types


  • The most widely recognized refrigerant in the mid-1980s was a CFC, most usually called as Freon. Freon was the brand name for a refrigerant R-12. CFCs are a group of chemicals that contain carbon, fluorine and chlorine. The chlorine content in these mixes causes the depletion of the ozone layer.

  • In the 2000s, the CFCs were supplanted with hydrochlorofluorocarbon commonly known as HCFCs. The most widely recognized HCFC is R-22. 50-60% of Air Conditioners still utilize HCFCs. Be that as it may, HCFCs are just slightly superior to CFCs as they simply contain chlorine and not fluorine and carbon, which is unsafe for the earth.

  • This revelation provoked the marking of Montreal Protocol of 1987, an understanding marked by 180 countries with an objective to eliminate the generation of CFCs by 1995 and HCFCs by 2030.

  • To expel chlorine from the refrigerant, producers made another arrangement of refrigerants called Hydro Fluro Carbons otherwise called HFCs. Even though they additionally have the potential for a global weather change, they are superior compared to HCFCs as they don’t damage the ozone layer.

  • The most widely recognized HFC used as a part of cooling systems is R-410A. This refrigerant is superior to R-22 as far as Ozone Depletion potential and energy proficiency is concerned. However, this refrigerant can result in atmospheric global warming.

  • A couple of more HFCs that are usually utilized for cooling purposes are R-32 in Air Conditioners and R-134A in fridges. Around 20-30% of the cooling systems still utilize HFCs. R-32 is superior to R-410A.

  • The most environment- friendly refrigerants that are accessible in the market as of now are R-600A and R-290. They are HC or Hydrocarbons, and their synthetic names are Iso-Butane for R-600A and Propane for R-290. They are totally halogen-free, have no ozone exhaustion potential and are minimal in terms of global warming effects. They likewise have high-energy proficiency, however, are exceedingly combustible as they are hydrocarbons.

  • In any case, they are the greenest refrigerants in the market. Manufactures utilizing HC as the refrigerant guarantee that extra care has been taken and the devices are safe to use. In this way, we can serenely trust that they are safe.

In short, the 4 normally utilized refrigerants that you can discover today are:

  • CFCs
  • HCFCs
  • HFCs
  • HCs
  • Natural

Types of refrigerants and its properties

1. CFCs


CFCs are better known as chlorofluorocarbon refrigerants, for example, R114, and R11, and so on. CFCs were distinguished as unsafe to the Ozone layer. Hence, they were eliminated in 2000.

Nevertheless, they are yet being utilized as a part of the outmoded equipment, and precautionary measures are adopted to minimize discharge as per the EPA directions. They are mostly used in the big centrifugal coolers. R12 refrigerant was additionally utilized in older autos for aerating and cooling the system.

  • Refrigerant R-11 is a safe refrigerant as it is fire-resistant and stable. It is utilized as a part of the applications like cooling of small structures, factories, departmental stores, theatres and so forth.

  • R-11 can be utilized as a part of the applications where the refrigeration stack ranges from 150 to 2000 tons alongside the diffusive compressor. R-11 refrigerant is additionally utilized as the dissolvable and the optional refrigerant.

  • Among each of the refrigerants normally utilized for the refrigeration and ventilating applications, R11 has the highest potential to bring about the depletion of the ozone layer from the upper layers of the air and the greenhouse impact.

  • R-12 is a very adaptable refrigerant that is utilized for an extensive variety of refrigeration and cooling applications however in numerous ventilating applications it is presently supplanted by an R22 refrigerant.

  • Refrigerant R12 is utilized as a part of household fridges and coolers, fluid chillers, dehumidifiers, ice producers, water coolers, drinking fountains and transport refrigeration. The extensive variety of utilization of the refrigerant is because of its safe properties.

  • R-12 is nontoxic, fireproof, and stable. This makes it very famous for the household and in the business applications as well.

  • R-500 refrigerants are used in multiple systems that are used in hospitals and laboratory. Although it is banned in various countries it is still available in a specialized form in nations like the US.

2. HCFCs


HCFCs stand for Hydro Chloro Fluoro Carbon refrigerant, for example, R22, R123 and so forth. These refrigerants were recognized as somewhat unsafe to the Ozone layer and will be eliminated by 2030.

This ventilation system refrigerant is considered somewhat halogenated, as they comprise of methane or ethane in a blend with chlorine and fluorine. They have a shorter life expectancy.

  • R22 refrigerant is a standout amongst the most generally utilized refrigerants for the cooling frameworks. A standout amongst the most well-known employments of R22 is in the local cooling systems like window air conditioner, split air conditioner, central air conditioner and in the number of packaged frameworks.

  • R22 is non-harmful and it is non-combustible. This property makes this refrigerant exceedingly safe for the household and industrial purposes.

  • R123 is supplanting with R11 as the refrigerant of choice for cooling frameworks and radiating chillers. It is non-harmful, non-destructive and non-combustible. Because of low working weight and high uprooting, it is utilized as a part of the system in the divergent compressors. It is utilized for ventilating applications as well.

  • R401A is an HCFC mix intended for retrofitting R12 frameworks. It is particularly aimed at medium and high-temperature coordinate extension refrigeration and cooling frameworks working at – 15°C or more.

  • R142B is utilized as a working fluid in the cooling system, warm pump and inductive medium as it helps to control the temperature under high pressure; Used as blowing specialist of polyolefine after blending with HCFC-22(60: 40); It is also utilized as a compound raw material.

3. HFCs


These ventilation system refrigerants contain no chlorine particle and are not dangerous to the ozone layer, however, they have a slight effect on global warming. R – 134a and R – 125 are most commonly utilized HFCs.

  • R134a is currently most commonly utilized as a substitution of R12 and R500 and in every new car cooling system. It is 1439 times more capable as a greenhouse gas compared to carbon dioxide. It has no harmful impacts on the ozone layer. It is found in roughly 30% of coolers/ fridges. Venting from the normal cooler or fridges is the equivalent of 1 month of emanations from the normal home.

  • R – 125 is a non-flammable gas condensed under pressure, free of chlorine, fire-safe, non-lethal, thermally and synthetically steady. In the event of contact with open fire or hot surfaces, it deteriorates, forming very toxic items. It is primary cooling refrigerant for the single stage cooling system – a framework that consists of cooling as well as heating operation.

  • R – 507 is an HFC swap alternative for R-22 and R-502 in business refrigeration frameworks. It gives fundamentally the same qualities as compared to R-502 It is nontoxic and non-combustible as well.

4. HCs

These cooling system refrigerants are otherwise called as azeotropic. Their utilization is expanding as they are ecologically amicable. The difficulty is that the ventilating frameworks manufacturing cost is higher. Currently, these refrigerants are the best available in the market.

In any case, as more producers change to this kind of refrigerants, the cost/unit will drop in the near future. The regular refrigerants mainly used in cooling industry are R-410A, R-407c, R717, R290, R600, R600A, R601, R601A.

  • R-410A is utilized as a substitution refrigerant for private cooling applications at home or in small business.

  • R-407C is utilized as an R-22 substitution. It retains and discharges more warmth than R-22, a cooling compressor. It can keep running at a cooler temperature, decreasing the danger of compressor burnout because of overheating.

  • R717 – Ammonia is one of the earliest kind of refrigerants, which is still broadly utilized as a part of numerous applications because of its legacy fabulous warm properties. It is poisonous in nature, combustible hazardous under specific conditions, it has low particular volume, high refrigerating impact, low cylinder uprooting if there arise an occurrence of responding compressors make it a perfect refrigerant for chilly storage’s, ice plants, pressing plants, skating arenas bottling works and so on.

  • The refrigerants R290, R600, R600A, R601, R601A are to a great degree combustible, 2-4 times more effective a greenhouse gas compared to carbon dioxide. No damages to ozone depletion as well as safe to release into the atmosphere. They are principally found in newer freezers and coolers, under 7% of aggregate units.

5. Natural

These refrigerants are safe since they emit only 5.3 ounces of propane in any devices they are used in, which is proportionate to 2 or 3 cigarette lighters that also consume propane. The above limit is based upon the upper combustibility point and lower combustibility breaking point of the refrigerant, implying that it won’t ignite under these conditions.

  • Carbon dioxide is generally used as a refrigerant in mechanical frameworks refrigerant, marine administrations, hospitals and so on because of its fabulous safety properties. It is scentless, non-dangerous, non-combustible, non-touchy and non-destructive.

  • Sulphur dioxide was generally utilized as refrigerant amid the mid of twentieth century. It is very harmful, non-combustible, stable, non-destructive and works at low weights. This refrigerant is dangerous for human as well as for the environment.


There is broad research going on to recognize new refrigerants that can be utilized to supplant the CFC and HCFC refrigerants. The different refrigerants have distinctive attributes, which make them appropriate for the various application.

While selecting new refrigerants, extensive evaluation from different points of view is vital. Any substance must be carefully assessed for the general effect on the worldwide environment. It should likewise be evaluated for energy productivity, well being and different factors.

The recent studies have confirmed that there is no ideal refrigerant available suited for all applications. For the above reasons, it is important to concentrate on selecting the right refrigerants for applications considering the general global impact.

If developing nations choose refrigerant which is causing harmful effects to the environment in terms of CO2 emission but eventually producing higher energy to compare to another refrigerant, they are destroying their future. They are doing harm to their citizens just for the sake of higher productivity.

Likewise, the more we wait to act, the more damages we are causing to the environment. It is the need for entire human race to e find and embraces a perfect solution to remove global warming without wasting any additional time.