Discover more from The Fluori-dated Newsletter
A digestible look back at what I've covered in recent weeks... including #wherethefgashides
How time flies. Here we are again with another Rewind, a concise wrap-up of the previous six editions.
It is also a useful time for me to reflect on the journey. There are some topics that I’ve particularly enjoyed writing, and there are some that I plan to delve into much deeper.
If I had to pick one that resonated, it would be the idea of re-purposing the bathtub analogy to explain how we might tackle the problem of “BigF’’ refrigerants.
While my hand drawn sketching skills are pretty dire, it was interesting (and somewhat mind boggling), what can be achieved with AI assistance. There’s a shortcut to the full piece here.
As usual we’ll start with the lighter stuff. Where I dig up interesting, and less well-known applications for refrigerants and f-gases.
Here’s your summary. Clicking on the links should take you directly to the article.
Right off the bat, one of the more pointless ways to put f-gases into the atmosphere - Silly String.
Employees whose job involves applying fluorinated ski wax have recorded elevated exposure to toxic PFAS chemicals. Fortunately change is under way.
The GreenFreeze program. A genuine success story that has made a huge difference for domestic refrigeration. Chapeau to all that made this happen.
Sure we need another acronym. You can find fluorinated refrigerants in your HPCD or heat-pump clothes dryer. Another waste stream we are going to have to keep an eye on.
During a rare trip through the airport I spent some time considering the many places refrigerants exist in transit.
Most people open a minibar fridge for the contents. I went in search of the refrigerant label…
Deeper Dive Topics
Mitigating leaks is the obvious way to prevent refrigerant emissions. Reducing the amount of refrigerant used in the system is another often overlooked opportunity.
Few people like doing paperwork. But when it comes to maintaining refrigerant systems, it is paramount. Digital tools are certainly making it easier.
I was encouraged to take a step back and try describing the problem (of refrigerants and their emissions) like I would to a five-year-old. It’s hard but I had a go.
Thinking further about the problem I was trying to describe, I thought I’d try a different approach – using a bathtub.
A common talking point from fluorinated refrigerant suppliers is that energy efficiency is more important than the refrigerant emissions. They are both important of course, but our grids are gradually decarbonizing…
Refrigerant emissions might look immaterial to many doing corporate GHG reporting today. There are multiple reporting frameworks lining up which will change this along with “The Morph”.
It’s been rewarding putting these together and your comments and feedback are always welcome. And if there is a topic you’d like me to cover or explore further, just drop me a message.
Right, that’s all for the Rewind and ‘till next time.
p.s. the title track from last week – Material Girl – was of course from Madonna. Not part of my regular playlist but dug out of a compilation that found it’s way into my possession…
Fixed stuff here for newcomers
There is lots of news every week from the cooling industry and plenty of newsletters that cover it well. The intention is to keep this newsletter focused on the most prominent f-gases (fluorinated greenhouse gases), the most common of which are refrigerants and importantly their environmental impact. That’s the lane I’ve chosen - I’ll do my best to stick to it.
Below are the seven formal greenhouse gases that countries and companies should track, report and hopefully reduce.
Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
Nitrous Oxide (N2O)
Sulphur Hexafluoride (SF6)
Nitrogen trifluoride (NF3)
Plus the still circulating, ozone damaging chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), and the ‘new-generation’ hydrofluoroolefins (HFOs).
Hopefully you can spot the pattern.
Emissions from f-gases and refrigerants have been the fastest growing greenhouse gases over the past decade (more than CO2 and methane - check out IPCC WG3 summary for policy makers). They are also classed as super pollutants given their outsized global warming and other environmental impacts.
Some useful permalinks
The scale of the climate challenge can often feel daunting. This piece helps me take a step back and understand where we need to focus first - recommend a read.
There are plenty of technology solutions available to address the cooling and refrigerant challenge. You can find many of them here
Beware when the same entities who have contributed to the current f-gas problem propose you new solutions… This is a good place to get up to speed.