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  • Emily Six

What is a transition refrigerant?

A transition refrigerant is a refrigerant that is in between traditional and natural refrigerants. A transition refrigerant has some properties of each type of refrigerant.


We’re primarily talking about HFOs or hydrofluoro-olefins. HFO refrigerants are composed of hydrogen, fluorine, and carbon atoms but contain at least one double bond between the carbon atoms.


This means they have a higher ozone depletion potential (ODP) than natural options but they also have a lower long-term GWP than traditional refrigerants.


The GWP, or global warming potential, of a transition refrigerant is less than a traditional HFC but higher than a natural refrigerant like CO2 or ammonia.


HFOs, HFCs, and natural options compared


Here’s a look at how the global warming potential of some popular HFOs stack up against the traditional HFC refrigerant R-22 and the natural alternatives we’ve discussed:

  • An HFC like R–22 has a GWP of 1,900

  • An HFO like R-448a has a GWP of 1,387

  • A natural like ammonia has a GWP of zero

As you can see, there is still a considerable environmental impact from HFOs. The breakdown of HFOs in the atmosphere may lead to dangerous degradation products.


What are the benefits of using transition refrigerants?


A transition refrigerant can be used to achieve compliance with EPA regulations while still offering some environmental benefits. Using an HFO instead of an HFC can reduce environmental impact by one-third or more. The benefit is real in terms of global warming potential and ODP (ozone depletion potential).


But the benefit isn’t as significant as using an alternative natural refrigerant (ammonia or CO2) which has a GWP near zero. They also have much lower toxicity levels and flammability ratings than transition refrigerants. The main benefit of using a transition refrigerant, then, is cost savings compared to natural systems.


Refrigerant Carbon Credits

That’s where we come in. When you go natural with Therm, we claim your refrigerant carbon credits. This financial mechanism allows you to offset the cost of your upgrades. With refrigerant carbon credits, you can protect your bottom line and the environment.


We’d love to show you how it makes sense to go natural today.