Natural refrigerants are a hot topic. With more and more onshore utility-based installations switching to natural gas, what’s the situation in the maritime industry? Selecting the right refrigerant is no easy task as each type has its own pros and cons. In this series of blogs we explore the most common natural refrigerants to help you decide which best suits your specific application.
Propane is a well-known gas that is used as a fuel for patio heaters, gas barbecues and even vehicles. In a more purified form where it has been stripped of moisture, unsaturated hydrocarbons and other contaminants, it is an excellent refrigerant.
To give you a comprehensive overview we are comparing every refrigerant on the following fixed set of properties:
Latent heat capacity
All starting points are the same for every refrigerant, including the temperatures below:
Evaporation temperature: -10°C
Condensation temperature: 25°C
Figure 1: H-log/P diagram R290
Propane has very good thermodynamic properties similar to that of R22, which has been phased out for a while. It is perfectly suitable for use in chilled water systems.
Propane is highly flammable! It is classified as A3.
No flame propagation
Propane has low GWP and ozone depletion values. Leakages have hardly any effect on the environment. The high efficiency contributes to fewer CO2 emissions from generators.
Propane is a multi-functional substance that is used for many different applications, like fuel and it also is an excellent refrigerant. With thermodynamic properties that are comparable to that of synthetics like R-22 and R134a. The only downside is its very high flammability.
Please note that the values and calculation given in this article have been simplified in order to give you a general overview of the pros and cons of this refrigerant. More specific information is needed for a detailed calculation and we strongly recommend contacting one of our engineers if you are considering the use of natural refrigerants.