Researchers look to carbon dioxide as a more environmentally friendly refrigerant gasPhys.org, September 9, 2014
Keeping food fresh is no easy feat. Trials of transporting ice over long distances and the hazards of systems that rely on toxic gases riddle the pages of refrigeration history. And although cooling science has come a long way in the past two centuries, modern refrigeration has an environmental cost that poses new challenges.
By experimenting with CO2 refrigerant systems and new refrigerant molecules, however, Brian Fricke, a researcher at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, looks to mediate and minimize conventional refrigeration’s environmental footprint.
“Each supermarket has a lot of refrigerant in its system—two to four thousand pounds—and about 20 percent of that leaks out every year. That’s a lot of greenhouse gas into the atmosphere,” said Fricke, who works in ORNL’s Buildings Technologies Research and Integration Center, a DOE user facility.