17 June 2005

Mitigation of greenhouse gases in refrigeration

Mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions from refrigeration is a challenge for the future. In order to understand what is involved it is useful to divide the emissions into direct, caused by release of refrigerants to the atmosphere, and indirect, caused by the release of CO2 in power production plants. The most important sectors are commercial refrigeration and mobile air conditioning, which together represent about 70% of the total contribution from the refrigeration sector. However, the relation between the direct and indirect effect varies considerably with factors such as type and quantity of refrigerant, leakage rates and the regional power mix. It is therefore difficult to generalise the characteristics of a certain application; for example, a supermarket. It is also important to not that minimizing charge and leakage does not necessarily lead to a higher energy consumption if systems are properly designed, which thus suggests that the direct and the indirect effects are best treated as separate issues.