Progress in the development and use of refrigerants and unintended environmental consequences

Arun Krishna Vuppaladadiyam, Elsa Antunes, Sai Sree Varsha Vuppaladadiyam, Zenab Tariq Baig, Alison Subiantoro, Guoyuan Lei, Shao Yuan Leu, Ajit K. Sarmah, Huabo Duan

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


The world has entered into the “fourth-generation” of refrigerants, and it is an undeniable fact that we will continue to encounter several issues in identifying a suitable refrigerant that suits the purpose and poses no harm to the environment. The ever-changing regulations on the use of refrigerants have often posed great challenges to the refrigeration industry and there is a pressing need to develop new refrigerants and develop better equipment to use them. Theoretically, an ideal refrigerant should possess characteristics such as low-global warming potential (GWP), non-toxic, non-flammable, and zero-ozone depletion potential (ODP). In addition, the refrigerants are also expected to have excellent thermodynamic and thermophysical properties. Many new synthetic refrigerants have been reported as alternative refrigerants and have very low atmospheric life as well as low GWP and zero-ODP. However, it is irrefutable that most of the studies that reported the so-called new refrigerants are actually not new. From the invention of R-12 (Dichlorodifluoromethane) in 1930s to the invention of R-1234yf in 2000s, these substances are available for decades even before being recognized as refrigerants. This review attempts to provide chronicles on different aspects of refrigerants such as their progress since their invention in the early 1800s, classification and properties. In addition, concepts such as issues associated with the long-term use of refrigerants, barriers for the inclusion of low-GWP refrigerants, various protocols and accords that have occurred since the inception of refrigerants are also critically discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number153670
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022


  • Characteristics
  • GWP
  • ODP
  • Properties
  • Refrigerants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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