This colorless gas is a single hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) compound and is better known as R-22 which is a halocarbon that technically has a longer name of monochlorodifluoromethane (CHCIF2). Basically, R stands for refrigerant as it commonly functions as one while the second figure (2) signifies the number of fluorine atoms present in the compound. Other names for R-22 are the following:
- Genetron 22
- Freon 22
- Arcton 4
- Arcton 22
- UN 1018
R-22 has been widely used especially in developed countries due to its relevant functions in the industrial market. It has been the standard for refrigeration and air conditioning applications both in domestic and industrial uses for over 40 years. R-22’s cooling property is due to the fact that it has a low boiling point of only -40.8 degree Celsius (-41.4 degree F). Well, just in case you ever wondered why your air conditioner can cool up your heating mood especially during a stark daytime. What about you wondering what’s with refrigerators you can always go back to your favourite food unspoiled? That’s R-22, for the record.
Despite the fact that the HCFC in R-22 is relatively less harmful by 0.055 (being one of the lowest in chlorine-containing haloalkanes) to the ozone layer than the other chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), however, what count most is its long term effects suggesting long term danger to the earth and consequently, to human beings. Unfortunately, the halocarbon (fluorine and chlorine) found in R-22 makes it depletive on the ozone layer (no matter how low it is compare to others), hence; a greenhouse effect is formed. As a consequence, the ultraviolet rays of the sun make its entry to the earth at the absence of the ozone layer’s protection causing extreme harm to human skin and possible other diseases. This whole thing is a consequential part in the event of global warming, hence the increasing freon cost per pound 2017 due to regulations.
R-22 Phase Out
Therefore, to address the environmental threats posed by R-2 (and other CFCs), the Montreal Protocol signed by 197 countries on the year 1987 declares to gradually phase out ozone-depleting substances. Thus, R-22 is incrementally descending from the industrial market resulting to the refrigerant phased out of service. According to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), complete prohibition on the production and importation of R-22 was fully implemented on January 2010. This means complete halt of R-22 related business especially the ones on top of the refrigerant pyramid. Meanwhile, on January 2015, selling and using of R-22 is completely prohibited. Thus, stores and eventually domestic uses of refrigerators and air conditioners containing R-2 and other similar ozone-depleting substances (ODS) are strongly discouraged. Lastly, on January 2020, there will be a ban of the R-22 refrigerant and that includes the servicing of the existing plants which will no longer be allowed. This is to ensure the complete phase-out of R-22 in an effort to at least, slow down the damage of earth’s ozone layer.
Due to the phase out of R-22, new alternatives are being introduced to the refrigerant markets that are deemed to be of less harm to the ozone layer. R-41oA refrigerant, in this case, is one of the substitute refrigerants in the contemporary industrial refrigeration and air conditioning application.