Eco-Friendly Technologies For Industrial Refrigeration

Historically, industrial refrigeration has had negative effects on the environment. For example, CFCs were found to have a negative effect on the ozone and were banned in 1987. The threat to the environment from industrial air conditioning technology continues, however. Here's why this is still an issue, as well as a few of the new technologies that those who need industrial refrigeration can use to be more eco-friendly.

The Continuing Threat of HCFCs

Countries from the developed world agreed to stop CFCs by 1995. These countries started using something called HCFCs, or Hydroflurocarbons, instead. The problem is that HCFCs are only a little better than CFCs in terms of reducing damage to the ozone layer.

The current goal from the Montreal Protocol is have modern countries phase out buying new refrigeration equipment that uses HCFCs by 2030, and to stop their use entirely by 2040. This means that these countries will need to use refrigeration technology that has an alternative approach anyway.

However, the sooner industries switch away from HCFC refrigeration, the better off the environment will be.

Magnet-Powered Refrigeration

This approach to refrigeration uses a particular principle called the magnetocaloric effect. Essentially, this effect describes how some materials heat up when you expose them to a magnetic field, and then get colder when you take the field away.

If you do this over and over again, the metal will get colder and colder.

By using a method of refrigeration that doesn't use gas, you can often cut down on greenhouse emissions considerably. A magnet-powered refrigeration system is an example of a way to refrigerate without HCFCs while also cutting down on energy consumption by 20 to 30 percent.

The idea has been around for a while now, but it's remained mostly in high-grade industrial and commercial uses due to the fact that you need superconducting magnets to make it work. New breakthroughs are making the technology more and more efficient, however, so this particular approach could be one of the best green alternatives to traditional refrigeration currently available.

Carbon Dioxide Refrigeration

Another new approach to keeping materials cold is using carbon dioxide instead of the traditional gasses. This works because carbon dioxide is a natural refrigerant. Scientists are learning how to combine carbon dioxide with a fluid like ammonia in order to keep things cool without as much HCFC emission.

This can cut down on how much pollution is created by the process as well.