1993-04-01

A New, Efficient and Environmentally Benign System for Automobile Air Conditioning 931129

By introducing HFC-134a as the replacement refrigerant for CFC-12 in motorcar air conditioning, the automobile industry will comply with the present national and international legislation for the phase-out of ozone-depleting substances.A transition to this new fluid will, however, result in emissions of several hundred thousand tonnes of a new and unfamiliar chemical compound to the atmosphere each year, involving both known negative consequences like global warming, and potential risks of serious unknown environmental effects.A new, efficient and environmentally benign automobile air conditioning system “MAC-2000” has been developed at The Norwegian Institute of Technology, in cooperation with Hydro Aluminium.The new system is based on a trans-critical vapour compression cycle with carbon dioxide as the refrigerant. Although working pressures and component design are different, the basic principle of the CO2 system is similar to present CFC/HFC units. The new concept offers a complete solution to all environmental problems associated with motorcar air conditioning and eliminates all uncertainty with respect to possible unforeseen environmental effects.By development and testing of a laboratory prototype, it has been documented that the CO2 system is highly competitive to present CFC-12 and HFC-134a units in terms of performance, cost, weight and dimensions.Use of CO2 as a refrigerant gives a number of additional economic and practical advantages. Examples are: No need for recycling or recovery, low cost of fluid, excellent availability, well-known properties, and more compact machinery and components.

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