Refrigeration Using Plastics Instead Of Gases

An article regarding research into using plastics for refrigeration instead of gases.

What a cool idea.


From the article

That does not need to be the case. We need to look in the short term at least at better life-cycle management of the fridge.


I am not sure that the statement regarding refrigeration gases being released into the atmosphere is correct.

The person who services our aircons said that they have to decant the gas out of old aircons when they replace them which they then sell for a pittance to licensed businesses, and they must keep a register of all gas used and removed.

A neighbour told me that a local car wreckers decants the gas out of vehicles, and I believe that our local Council does likewise with aircons, fridges and freezers dumped at their transfer station.


Vehicles are transitioning to “HFO-1234yf” which is far more benign as a greenhouse gas while still avoiding problems with the ozone layer (CFCs). I’m sure though that there are many old cars that have the type of refrigerant alluded to in the article.

It is also not what I have heard anecdotally.

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There may be individuals who have done so. Acting illegally would be the suggestion. Somethings are hard to enforce. They rely on moral commitment to do the right thing in preference to expediency?

Federal legislation 1995 has regulated who can work on any equipment containing these gases and the requirements for management and safe disposal of gases in decommissioned equipment.

Accidents, eg cracked pipes, leaking seals/fittings or damaged heat exchanger/condenser/evaporator cores might be the most common instances of fugitive emissions of these types of gases. Such failures are common in particular with older motor vehicles.


My comment wasn’t very clear. I meant that I agree with Fred123. The article’s claim and implication that it is the normal practice when a fridge is dead to release the refrigerant to the atmosphere seemed incorrect to me.


All refrigerant must be reclaimed from any a/C or refrigeration system that is decommissioned. Back in 1994, 6 tonnes of R22 were reclaimed from an underground mine water chillers in NSW before the mine was closed. This compares to approx. 70grammes for for a domestic fridge or freezer.