Natural refrigerants: a key tool for the future

The IIR's interest in natural refrigerants is relatively longstanding and it is a real pleasure to be able to say that. Companies using refrigerants today are looking more and more to natural refrigerants and governments are finally really seeing their value. Natural refrigerants are a good, global solution with regard to both the Montreal and the Kyoto Protocol. They have no impact on the ozone layer and practically no impact on global warming. Some of them impose other precautionary measures (due to flammability, etc.), but if we take these factors into account and if we build feasible, cost-effective systems which do not consume more energy than the systems working with conventional refrigerants (HFCs, etc.), the future looks bright. Already today, we can see examples of successful installations in various parts of the world. The involvement of the IIR began with Gustav Lorentzen, the former President of our General Conference. Thanks to him, we have created a series of conferences on natural refrigerants every two years. The next is to take place in Trondheim (Norway), the city of Gustav Lorentzen, and we anticipate including further papers for it. We hope it will be a great success, as has been the case with these conferences to date. ( Gustav Lorentzen is also the name of the most prestigious prize awarded by the IIR. Please contact us ( if you wish to present applicants for the prizes which will be awarded during our Congress in Beijing in 2007. We also have further specific actions for the various natural refrigerants which are emerging: We had a very fruitful conference on ammonia in Ohrid, Macedonia (FYROM) in May 2005, and we hope to organize a new series of conferences on this refrigerant which is of particular interest to Eastern European countries, who have a long experience of ammonia use. We also will publish an updated version of the IIR guide to ammonia, which is still selling well. We are also focusing a lot of actions on CO 2. Even in general conferences on thermo-physical properties and commercial refrigeration such as the last one held in Vicenza (Italy), CO 2 is by far the refrigerant on which the most studies are carried out. We are now publishing a special issue on CO 2 in the International Journal of Refrigeration (IJR) and we hope to have a series of guides on the various natural refrigerants out soon. We in the IIR do not want to ban any refrigerant because we must in any event consider, not only their thermophysical and environmental properties, but also the energy consumption and the investment and maintenance costs incurred in the systems themselves. We are however convinced that natural refrigerants have now enough proven qualities that they will have a most significant and rapid development in the near future. We shall then continue and reinforce our actions involving natural refrigerants.