What Are the Different Types of Industrial Refrigerants and Their Pros and Cons?

Industrial refrigeration has become increasingly important for a wide range of industries, from food manufacturing and storage to pharmaceuticals and other chemical operations. As such, selecting the right type of refrigerant is critical in order to ensure the proper functioning of any industrial refrigeration system.

Hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) Refrigerants

Hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants are composed primarily of fluorinated gases like methane or ethane. HFCs are popular due to their high energy efficiency rating; they cool quickly but also consume less power than their counterparts. Thanks to this increased efficiency, HFC-based systems can yield improved operational costs over time. On top of that, HFCs are non-toxic and non-flammable making them safer for use around personnel.

Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) Refrigerants

Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) are made up primarily of carbon tetrachloride or dichlorodifluoromethane gases. CFCs were widely used in the past due to their low cost; however they have since been phased out due to ozone depletion concerns related to their use in cooling systems.

Ammonia (NH3) Refrigerants

Ammonia (NH3) is highly resistant to pressure changes during operation and provides excellent cooling capacity without consuming excessive amounts of power when compared with other commercial refrigerants on the market today. It is also relatively inexpensive when compared with alternatives such as HFCs or CFCs. However, it should be noted that ammonia is toxic; special precautions must be taken when installing or operating an ammonia based system in order to avoid dangerous exposure situations for personnel working near by or even those living nearby if not sufficiently managed.

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Refrigerants

Carbon dioxide (CO2) produces better cooling performance per unit volume than ammonia at moderate temperatures – between -20℃ and +30℃ – which makes it preferable for most applications where normal temperatures would suffice . In addition , CO2 also has zero ozone depleting potential making it a much more eco-friendly option than either CFCs or HFCs . The downside , however , is that this substance’s pressure requirements for operation can be far higher than either CFCS or HCFS necessitating additional measures during installation in order to maintain pressure control .


In conclusion, critically examining the individual characteristics associated with all potential options – long-term operational savings , environmental impact , safety risks etc . -is paramount before settling on a particular choice which best suits your company’s specific requirements when it comes to selecting an industrial refrigerant .

About Airgas, Inc.

Airgas, Inc. (NYSE: ARG), through its subsidiaries, is one of the nation's leading suppliers of industrial, medical and specialty gases, and hardgoods, such as welding equipment and related products. Airgas is a leading U.S. producer of atmospheric gases with 16 air separation plants, a leading producer of carbon dioxide, dry ice, and nitrous oxide, one of the largest U.S. suppliers of safety products, and a leading U.S. supplier of refrigerants, ammonia products, and process chemicals. Approximately 17,000 associates work in more than 1,100 locations, including branches, retail stores, gas fill plants, specialty gas labs, production facilities and distribution centers. Airgas also markets its products and services through e-Business, catalog and telesales channels. Its national scale and strong local presence offer a competitive edge to its diversified customer base. For more information, please visit www.airgas.com.

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