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Ultralow-temperature refrigeration systems: Configurations and refrigerants to reduce the environmental impact


Type of article: IJR article


Several environmental protection policies have been enforced restricting working fluids with high global warming potential (GWP) values used in many types of refrigeration and heat pump systems. However, ultralow-temperature (ULT) refrigeration has not been included, which commonly uses refrigerants with very high GWP values (such as R23 and R508B). Therefore, publicly available research programs seeking low GWP alternative refrigerants do not cover this application and the transition to more environmentally friendly fluids is slowed down. This work presents a comprehensive review that summarizes and discusses the available studies about ULT refrigeration systems. The current status of the technology, system architectures and refrigerants are analyzed. Moreover, the transition towards low GWP refrigerants is proposed, presenting the most promising low GWP alternatives. The most commonly used architectures for ULT refrigeration are the two-stage cascade and auto-cascade, in which the use of ejector has recently been considered in research papers. R170 and R1150 are the available natural refrigerants suitable for ULT, but they have not yet been included in many flammability and risk assessment studies. The A2 hydrofluoroolefin R1132a has been recently proposed as a blend component to avoid problems of stability. However, more information is still necessary to start with simulation and experimental studies. R41 could be an alternative due to its low GWP and suitable normal boiling point, but it has not been thoroughly investigated yet. Overall, there is a gap in the literature in terms of developing alternative refrigerants for ULT refrigeration. This study aims at shedding light on this gap to direct future research in this field towards reliable, environmentally friendly and marketable alternative refrigerants.

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Pages: 147-158


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  • Original title: Ultralow-temperature refrigeration systems: Configurations and refrigerants to reduce the environmental impact
  • Record ID : 30027360
  • Languages: English
  • Source: International Journal of Refrigeration - Revue Internationale du Froid - vol. 111
  • Publication date: 2020/03
  • DOI:


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