Retirada de los refrigerantes HCFC y CFC

  • HCFC and CFC PhaseOut
  • La introducción de los refrigerantes CFC y, posteriormente, de los refrigerantes HCFC solucionó algunos problemas de seguridad importantes durante la primera parte del siglo pasado; sin embargo, sus riesgos medioambientales no se detectaron hasta mediados de los años 70. En ese momento se hicieron evidentes las graves consecuencias del uso continuado de estos refrigerantes, especialmente de los CFC, lo que condujo a un acuerdo denominado Protocolo de Montreal para su retirada a nivel mundial.

    La retirada de los refrigerantes CFC a escala internacional es un hecho. Incluso aunque todavía existen sistemas antiguos en funcionamiento, no se permite fabricar nuevos sistemas ni usar refrigerantes CFC “vírgenes” para su mantenimiento.

    Los refrigerantes CFC se sustituyeron en gran medida por HFC, sin que eso pusiera en riesgo la seguridad durante la instalación y el uso de los sistemas. Sin embargo, tal como sabemos hoy en día, el uso generalizado de refrigerantes HFC se ha convertido en una de las principales causas del calentamiento global.

    El R-22 es el refrigerante HCFC predominante debido a la amplitud de sus aplicaciones. Sin embargo, el R-22 también está dentro del programa de retirada de refrigerantes debido a su potencial de reducción de ozono (ODP). En los países desarrollados ya ha finalizado la fase de retirada del R-22, mientras que en los países en vías de desarrollo todavía es el principal refrigerante. No obstante, la retirada ya ha comenzado y esta sustancia experimentará una disminución del 10 % en 2015.

    La retirada del refrigerante R-22 en los países desarrollados ha suscitado la siguiente pregunta: ¿cuál es el mejor sustituto? Mientras que los países desarrollados introdujeron los refrigerantes HFC en los años 90, los países en vías de desarrollo se enfrentan a un difícil dilema. Por una parte, podrían decidir usar nuevos refrigerantes de bajo potencial de calentamiento global (GWP), unas sustancias que aún no han alcanzado un elevado grado de madurez. Y, por otra parte, podrían optar por los refrigerantes HFC, de eficacia probada, pero que podrían quedar obsoletos en unos pocos años.

     

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