The refrigerants currently used, such as HFCs (R-134a and R-404A) have a very high global warming potential (GWP), which is harmful to the environment. Global Warming Potential (GWP) is the relative value that quantifi es the ability of a gas to cause global warming or greenhouse eff ect in the atmosphere. The R-290 hydrocarbon is part of the natural refrigerant group and has zero ozone depletion potential (ODP) and an insignifi cant global warming potential (GWP) compared to the refrigerants named above.
Hydrocarbons such as R-290 have excellent thermodynamic properties; in this sense, are as good as HFC or HCFC refrigerants (or better) in most applications.
The European Union has set itself the objective of reducing the environmental impact of fl uorinated gases through a series of regulations. The fi rst regulation on F-gases, EC 842/2006, focused on the reduction of emissions, mainly avoiding system leaks and end-oflife recovery and responsible destruction of gases.
The EU published in 2014 an update of EC Regulation 517/2014. This regulation replaces 842/2006 and entered into force on 1st January 2015. The changes included:
Limitations on the use of gases with higher global warming potential (PCA), such as R-404A, in refrigeration equipment and existing from 2020.
The F-Gas classifi es the Hydrofl uorocarbons according to their global warming. Potential then for each application there are diff erent limits and diff erent prohibition dates. These data would be refl ected in the following table: