November 30, 2022

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Cold-chain chemistry: Chemours advances sustainable TRU refrigerant technology

Refrigerated fleets looking for to minimize their carbon footprint now can do so no matter whether they’re operating Thermo King or Carrier Transicold transport refrigeration units (TRUs). Carrier Transicold began featuring R-452A, a future-era refrigerant with a lower world-wide warming probable (GWP), in December 2020 as a North American alternative for new and present reefer machines, and Thermo King reported in January the refrigerant will be conventional in all of its truck and trailer units by mid-calendar year.

But who is guiding this new refrigerant know-how? Properly, two providers in fact—Chemours and Honeywell, who have worked alongside one another to acquire and generate hydrofluoroolefin (HFO) refrigerants like R-452A, the minimal-GWP option to R-404A for transport refrigeration equipment, and R-1234yf, which is a broadly approved world alternative for R134A in automotive air conditioning techniques.

Honeywell, founded in 1906, is very well-acknowledged in chilly chain circles. Chemours, established in 2015, is a lot less recognizable—but its chilly-chain heritage runs similarly as deep. Which is for the reason that the business was spun off from DuPont—which was started back again in 1802—with sustainability as its top rated priority the exact yr in which DuPont merged with Dow Chemical to form DuPont de Nemours.

“We’re the small business that correctly invented the refrigeration classification, and we go on to be a leading innovator in the area across many apps,” claimed Alisha Bellezza, president of Chemours’ Thermal & Specialised Options organization, who just lately spoke to Refrigerated Transporter about Chemours’ legacy, the evolution of far more sustainable refrigerants, and how it is serving to brands and fleets go environmentally friendly.

Evolving technologies

The company’s attempts date to the 1930s, when DuPont and Basic Motors blended their sizeable means to establish Freon as a fluorocarbon refrigerant that was safer and extra productive than that era’s far more harmful solutions. And Bellezza says they’ve been performing really hard to increase and great the technological know-how ever considering the fact that. “The technologies has evolved as the world learns additional about the impacts of the chemistry, and how to get improved chemistry that is just as powerful, as far as cooling methods, but with a substantially lessen effect on the setting,” she stated.

“So we went from CFC chemistry, or chlorofluorocarbons, to hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), and now, with our Opteon portfolio—a spin off from Freon—we’re centered on HFO technological innovation. It capabilities no ozone depletion and a decrease world-wide warming potential, and nonetheless still achieves the performance and the success that is demanded in lots of distinctive types of AC units and insulated methods.”

Opteon XP44 is the trade name for Chemours’ R-452A refrigerant (Honeywell phone calls it Solstice 452A), which was designed in the company’s Newark, Del., Chemours Discovery Hub, the place a team of extra than 400 experts are devoted to planning and screening sophisticated refrigeration technologies.

According to Bellezza, equipping autos with Opteon refrigerants stored 100 million tons of CO2 from reaching the ambiance between 2015 and 2020—the equal of taking 20 million cars and trucks off the street each individual year. “We all want to be fantastic stewards of our globe, so we can go exterior and get pleasure from a eco-friendly earth that is not overheated,” she said. “And that is heading to just take the contributions of every human being and firm that can make an impression.

“That’s why there is rising visibility and scrutiny on just about every company’s CO2 footprint.”

Chilly-chain concern

In addition to California Air Means Board (CARB) criteria, which involve TRUs running in California to use refrigerants with a GWP of 2200 or less—the GWP of R452A is 2140—starting in 2023, Bellezza pointed to the American Innovation and Production Act, which directs the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) HFC phasedown, and the European Union’s F-fuel polices as transition motivators.

“We’re pleased with the way the existing administration is supporting climate plan, and obtaining the U.S. back in alignment on the worldwide stage with the Kigali phasedown program for HFCs (under the 2016 Montreal Protocol),” Bellezza said. “That will have a extraordinary impression across the space—and in this sector in distinct.

“We have to have to be equipped to maintain food items contemporary, we will need our vaccines to stay chilly, and we need other prescription drugs to be in temperature-managed environments. But the sum of that visitors has amplified around the many years. So it’s about remaining mindful of how every single small phase in the chain can conclude up resulting in an accumulation.

“But if we use the ideal solutions, we can minimize that environmental footprint, and display this sector can really make an effects.”

Chemours principally partners with machines makers to advertise its minimal GWP alternatives, but Bellezza mentioned the organization also will do the job immediately with fleet professionals who want to make improvements to the sustainability of current refrigeration equipment. “We’re normally open to having discussions about how we can help them retrofit,” she claimed, adding that XP44 is a superior substitute solution for selected older TRU styles.

The chemical company is just not accomplished advancing its technological know-how either. Bellezza stated Chemours’ Thermal & Specialised Alternatives unit remains dedicated to creating ever far more sustainable refrigerant remedies heading forward. “We’re not resting on XP44,” she reported. “We have the upcoming-gen Opteon XL line, which we think is the up coming possibility to get GWP even lower—while however preserving the performance characteristics required.

“Beyond that, we carry on to appear for innovation and opportunities that additional enhance the technological innovation.”