Challenges of CO2 refrigerant (R744)
Modest projected adoption by global OEMs is expected to limit the use of CO2 (R744) refrigerants to niche variants or options in the near term. Given its lower GWP (global warming potential), the CO2 (R744) refrigerant seems to be the more environmentally sustainable alternative in the long term, provided technology and regulations mature. Along with rationalized component cost, this may encourage more widespread application of the CO2 refrigerant.
Vehicle air conditioning systems use a liquefiable vapour known as a refrigerant to transfer heat. Selection of the refrigerant is a key design factor which has a major influence on the component design of the HVAC system. Over the past few decades, refrigerants used in HVACs have been subjected to constant regulatory pressure. The major focus of the regulations on refrigerants has been on ozone depletion potential (ODP) or GWP, with the automobile industry striving to maintain the right balance of performance, reliability, acceptability, cost and safety while minimizing the impact on the environment.