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In this study, the mechanism of refrigerant systems are investigated to understand this project.
Moreover, history of refrigerant is learnt. Its history is very important for our daily life. The history of
using CO2 as a refrigerant, concurrent with mechanical refrigeration began in 1700s. At the end of
the 19th century, CO2 as a refrigerant reached its peak being used in air conditioners and
refrigerated displays. Unfortunately, the use of CO2 as a refrigerant ended in 1950s, since CFCs
dominated the worldwide market. A few years after, two scientists discovered that ozone-depleting
effects of CFCs and they have been banned to use. Then, many companies were in search of new
alternatives like HFCs. Unlike CFCs, HFCs are lack of chlorine atom that catalyzes the harmful
destruction of ozone, and generally remain in a nonreactive state in the troposphere. CO2 is
preferable that it is nontoxic, nonflammable and easy to obtain. However, the only downside of
CO2 is the high operating pressure.

Refrigerant systems have two cycle-systems. These are subcritical and transcritical cycles. In this
research, definitions of these terms are referred and their differences are obtained. Also, the
reasons why the transcritical cycle is preferred in this project are presented in this report.


The history of using CO2 as a refrigerant, concurrent with mechanical refrigeration began
in 1700s. In 1744, Joseph Priestley dissolved carbon dioxide in water, which resulted
decreasement in the temperature of the liquid, and he decided that suggesting suitable
thermodynamic properties for refrigeration. At the end of the 19th century, CO2 as a
refrigerant reached its peak being used in air conditioners and refrigerated displays.
Although ammonia and sulphur dioxide were suitable refrigerants, they were also toxic
and flammable. This positioned carbon dioxide as the best alternative for the future.
Because carbon dioxide is both environmentally friendly, and intrinsically safe. It is
nontoxic, non-explosive, non-flammable and non-corrosive. In addition, a natural gas is
easily available in abundance. Unfortunately, the use of CO2 as a refrigerant ended in
1950s, since CFCs dominated the worldwide market.

Nevertheless, two scientists, who are named Frank and Mario, discovered the ozone-
depleting effects of CFCs, leading to their phasing out by the Montreal Protocol. Lots of
companies began looking for an alternative chemical to use in their products in 1989.
Although less energy efficient, HFCs became an increasingly feasible option. Unlike
CFCs, HFCs are lack of the chlorine atom that catalyzes the harmful destruction of
ozone, and generally remain in a nonreactive state in the troposphere.

HFCs are very strong greenhouse gases, they have some critical problems because of
it. According to negative affects of greenhouse gases, the average temperature of
worldwide has been increasing. After these alternatives are judged as negative, the
result of judgement contribute to global warming and industrialized countries within the
European Union initiated processes to eliminate these refrigerants in compliance with
the objectives established by the United Nations.


Carbon Dioxide, or CO2, is often seen as a main contributor to global warming. CO 2 is

naturally present as part of Earth’s carbon cycle and has always been kept in a balance by
nature. The main contributor to the release of CO2 is the burning of fossil fuels for electricity,
transportation and other industrial processes.
Carbon dioxide has been used in refrigeration and cooling in solid and liquid form because it
sublimates to gas at very low temperature of -78.5 °C giving total loss of refrigerant.

 It is widely used in brewing of soft drinks, beers, other alcoholic drinks.

 Recently, it is being used in softening water to avoid corrosion problems in long water
distribution lines and also in producing potable drinking water.
 The usage of carbon dioxide as fire extinguisher is known from century.
 It also finds application in petroleum industry to bubble out crude oil, sand blasting and
hardening of metal castings.


Table 1.Advantages and disadvantages of CO

Advantages Disadvantages
Its thermodynamic and transport properties R744 transcritical systems are less suited for
are excellent. high ambient areas ,where the system will
always operate above the critical point,
because of the inefficiency of transcritical

Low toxicity and non-flammable. High operating and standstill pressures are
more hazardous and increase the leak
potential. Specially designed components are
High heat transfer in evaporators and Greenhouse gas which CO2, effects the heat
condensers due to the highpressure and flow between the earth and atmosphere.
density. This will either allow lower
temperature differences between the
refrigerant and the air; therefore improving
efficiency, or allow the use of smaller
evaporators and condensers

CO2 may be used in the spaces to be cooled Special compressors are required because of
and this would give the highest possible the higher refrigeration capacity.
evaporating temperature at the highest
Negligible GWP so that, in the event of a R744 systems are more complex. This leads
leak, the direct impact on climate change is to higher costs in components and
very low. installation.
Inexpensive to produce and widely available. Heavier than air. In case of escape, the CO2
is coupled to ground level and displaces air.

Minimization of water loss benefit is the loss The greater complexity also increases the
at mass after melting would be decreased by probability of poor performance and
cooling CO2 reliability, particularly if commissioning is not
done well.
1.5 Phase Diagram of R744

Figure 1. Phase Diagram of CO2

Two important state points are marked in the figure: the triple point and the critical point. The triple
point represents the condition where all three phases can coexist in equilibrium. At temperatures
below the triple point of temperature liquid can not exist. At the other end of the vapour pressure
curve, the critical point marks the upper limit for heat transfer processes based on evaporation or
All substances have a triple point and a critical point but for most of the substances used as
refrigerants, the triple point and critical point are found for conditions that lie outside the region
where they are normally used.

Table 2. Critical properties of R134a and R744

Refrigerant Boiling Critical Critical Volumetric Density

Type Point, K (at Temperature, Pressure, Heat (kg/m3)
0.1 MPa) K MPa Capacity
R-134a 246,85 374,2 4,12 2868 4,336
R-744 (CO2) 194,6 304,1 7,38 22545 1,839

The critical pressures and temperatures of R134a and R744 are compared in Table 1. For R134a
the critical temperature is found to be 101.1°C. This means that for R134a heat rejection
processes by condensation can be established at temperatures up to 101.1°C. For R744 the
critical temperature is only 31.0°C.This means that for R744 heat rejection process by
condensation can only be established at temperatures up to 31°C. This temperature is much lower
than necessary for rejecting heat to the atmosphere for many refrigeration applications.

1.6 Subcritical and Transcritical Cycles

Figure 2. Subcritical and transcritical refrigeration cycle processes

Since the pressure in all parts of the first cycle process is below the critical pressure, such a
process is referred to as a subcritical cycle process. The subcritical cycle process is the well-
known traditional refrigeration cycle process. When parts of the cycle process take place at
pressures above the critical point and other parts below the critical pressure the cycle process is
referred to as transcritical cycle process. In the transcritical cycle process, the heat rejection takes
place at pressures and temperatures above the critical point. . For the transcritical cycle process,
the heat rejection is therefore called gas cooling and subsequently the heat exchanger used is
called a gas cooler.



Figure 3.Subcritical Cycle Figure 4.Transcritical Cycle

1.6.1 Transcritical Cycles

Figure 5. Transcritical refrigeration cycle processes & main system components

The transcritical cycle process begins with a one-stage compression from state point 1 to 2. During
this process, the temperature rises significantly and, for carbon dioxide, can reach a level of
The heat rejection process from state point 2 to 3 occurs at constant pressure above the critical
point. The temperature during this process varies continuously from the inlet temperature (at state
point 2) to the outlet temperature (at state point 3).
The expansion process from state point 3 to 4 occurs at constant specific enthalpy. The inlet
condition is supercritical (above the critical point) and the outlet is two-phase (mixture of liquid and
The heat absorption process (evaporation) from state point 4 to 1 occurs at constant pressure, and
the evaporation part also at constant temperature. The outlet condition (compressor inlet condition)
is slightly superheated.
The flow of heat and work is marked in the figure with arrows. The evaporator heat transfer rate is
QE and the compressor power consumption is W. The heat transfer rate in the gas cooler is QGC
and ideally the energy balance gives QGC = QE + W
Specifying the operating conditions of a transcritical refrigeration cycle is different than for
subcritical cycle processes. For subcritical processes, it is normally only necessary to specify
evaporating and condensing temperatures.