Most air-conditioning and refrigeration systems run on loops of Refrigerant Gases. Depending on the type of system and care applied there is a variety of leakage rate, but in all cases a certain amount of the refrigerant charge ends up leaking in the atmosphere. For decades the cooling industry has been working towards the use of gases with lower impact on the environment.
2017 was an especially hectic year in this field. 2018 announces itself as even tougher.
Most developed countries have already phased out ozone-depleting gases. Now the challenge is to tackle their Global Warming Potential. This is a very big task.
First, the Original Equipment Manufacturers must decide which gas to pick from the chemical producers. There are dozens of gases to choose from and dozens of parameters to consider. Then they need to convince the whole chain to follow their choice: suppliers, customers, installers, etc.
And then starts the longsome process of redesigning the equipment for the new gas. All the components and settings need to be adjusted to the new refrigerant characteristics. It takes years or even a decade for an OEM to update its complete product portfolio.
Once the change is engaged, often lead by 1 or 2 major OEMs, the industry must orchestrate the whole refrigerant phase-in/phase-out. Europe is in that exact stage and the word used by the industry to describe the events to come is chaos.
The change to cleaner gases will have a significant positive environmental impact. The cooling industry is investing most of its R&D resources towards that change. The drawback is that the development of technologies towards other goals, such as the reduction of energy consumption, gets less focus and less funding.
What if the software industry came to help? What if hundreds or thousands of software developers were creating optimization applications to lower the environmental impact of the large and complex cooling systems?