Hydrocarbons attract international press attention

By Sabine Lobnig, Oct 01, 2009, 10:11 1 minute reading

The Associated Press has published an article on the efforts of some of the largest consumer product companies in the US to receive approval for the use of hydrocarbons in light commercial and residential refrigerated appliances. According to the EPA, a final decision could be issued by early next year. 

The option to use propane and butane to “chill drinks and ice cream with less energy and almost none of the global warming worries of current refrigerants” was covered this week by an Associated Press news article.

Referring to efforts by Ben & Jerry's and General Electric, the article raised awareness on the fact that some of the world's largest consumer product companies are promoting freezers and refrigerators in the US that use hydrocarbon coolants, which do not trap heat in the atmosphere as much as conventional refrigerants.

“If hydrocarbons are accidentally released into the atmosphere, their effect on trapping heat is about 1,400 times less than conventional refrigerants, said Pete Gosselin, director of engineering for Ben & Jerry's”. "And as the world develops, especially in developing nations, refrigeration use is one of the first technologies that comes on board", said Gosselin, referring to the opportunity in the developing countries to move directly to using natural refrigerant based technologies.

EPA decision may be expected by early 2010

The Environmental Protection Agency has already completed a preliminary review on the Ben & Jerry's freezers, as well as the new GE refrigerator. According to Drusilla Hufford, director of the EPA's Stratospheric Protection Division, the agency expects to make a proposed rule on the machines available for public comment later this year, while a final decision could be issued by early next year.

Following last week’s decision by the EPA to approve the use of natural refrigerant CO2 in retail food refrigeration and cold storage warehouses, potential approval for using hydrocarbons in light commercial and residential appliances would consist yet another major step in the US transition towards natural refrigerants. 


By Sabine Lobnig

Oct 01, 2009, 10:11

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