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Natural Refrigerants

Natural refrigerants like Hydrocarbon save you money while helping the planet

Hydrocarbon is a natural refrigerant widely used in SKOPE commercial refrigeration because of its extreme energy efficiency and low impact on the environment. While natural refrigerants are commonplace in domestic fridges, commercial fridges have had to wait for technology to catch up due to the more intense use they go through.


Why use natural refrigerants?

Man-made refrigerant gases – commonly known as hydroflurocarbon refrigerants or HFCs – are bad for the environment and less economic to use, which is why we prioritized natural refrigerant innovation to fast-track its use in SKOPE fridges.

At the same time, many industries are beginning to phase out man-made refrigerants as part of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Global Warming Protocol. This means that while you may still be able to purchase a commercial fridge that uses HFCs, this phase out is gradually making such products harder to find and more expensive to purchase. In turn, it is also increasing the price of servicing, which often involves topping-up refrigerant gas.

If at all possible, opt for a fridge that uses a natural refrigerant.


Why Hydrocarbon?

We specifically chose to use Hydrocarbon, or R290 as it is sometimes known, because it offers a number of excellent qualities. These include:

  • No toxicity
  • No ozone-depleting potential
  • Virtually zero impact on global warming

In fact, when it comes to its global warming potential, Hydrocarbon is an obvious choice.


Global Warming Potential (GWP) ratings of common refrigerants

However, Hydrocarbon is also really efficient and cost effective to use because it offers superior thermophysical properties as well as a lower market price when compared to HFCs.


Why now?

Commercial fridges require a bigger gas charge than domestic fridges and are used more intensively. These factors have meant that while most fridges seen in the home today use natural refrigerants, their use in commercial applications is much rarer. More time has had to be spent developing natural refrigerant fridges for commercial use so safety and reliability are not compromised.


Are natural refrigerants safe?

Yes they are, in fact they are internationally recognized as a safe form of refrigerant.

Like a lot of gases used in domestic and commercial applications, natural refrigerants are flammable. For that reason we always recommend that your Hydrocarbon SKOPE fridge is serviced by a trained professional.

However, every SKOPE fridge that uses natural refrigerant is based around a sealed design that completely separates the refrigerant from any source of ignition and the specific mix of oxygen required to start a flame.

To put it another way, refrigerant gas leaks are extremely rare. But even if one does occur with a natural refrigerant, the leak is so slow that it would be very hard for the ratio of gas to oxygen to become dangerous in the first place. There are also no ignition sources in close proximity to the sealed gas chambers within a SKOPE fridge.

Products using a natural refrigerant

The global warming potential of these products is virtually zero because they use R290 natural refrigerant.

Your Guide Cover January 2020

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