Refrigerators are one of the most common electric appliances used by everybody throughout the world. The refrigerants used in them, like HFCs and HCFCs have a role to play in increasing global warming. In this regard, the electrical appliances company, GE has appealed to the US Environmental Protection Agency through it’s Significant New Alternatives Policy to permit the former to use isobutane (a hydrocarbon), which is safer compared to HFCs, for refrigeration.
Fridges with this low global warming potential refrigerant are already being used in Europe and Asia. These fridges have been sold by popular companies like Whirlpool, Panasonic, LG, Samsung, etc. These fridges were developed by Greenpeace using the GreenFreeze technology. GE also has a thought of using cyclopentane, a different hydrocarbon for preparation of insulation foam-blowing agent, which previously used CFCs. The team is also seeking ecomagination certification for GE’s in house process to assess and tag energy-efficient products.
If the EPA happens to agree to the appeal made by GE, then the company is planning to launch its new GE Monogram refrigerators which use isobutane for refrigeration by early 2010. I think the EPA would surely encourage this request from GE for the protection of the environment.