Different types of Refrigerants in India ( R12, R22, R32, R410A, R290, R 600A )

AC refrigerants

Refrigerant is a chemical compound which exists either in fluid or gaseous state and have heat absorption capability. Refrigerants have property to change state at very low temperature variation.

Most commonly used in Air conditioning systems, Refrigerators. Without refrigerants, it is not possible to do cooling with these devices.

Following are the type of refrigerants used in various devices for cooling purpose

Type of Refrigerants

1. Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)

Most commonly used refrigerant under this category was R-12. CFCs because of chlorine emission and damaging ozone layer is now restricted in use.

With International Montreal Protocol, usages of CFCs in equipment are now prohibited for safeguard of environment. Another alternatives like HFCs and HCs are now coming in prominent usage.

R12 CFC refrigerant India

2. Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs)

HCFCs refrigerants are slightly less damaging to the ozone than CFC. Most of the Air conditioners in India are having this refrigerants. Most common used refrigerant under this category is R22. R22 comes with GWP of 1810 which is although less than CFCs but still its harmful for Ozone.

As a result of the Clean Air Act of 2010 to mitigate global warming, HCFC is also getting phased out. HCFC is currently used in various sectors including refrigeration, air-conditioning and foam manufacturing.

HCFC refrigerants

3. Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)

With no chlorine in the mix, this is safer for the environment and is now being used in place of R22. It includes R410A, R134 and R32 . Air conditioners that run on HFC refrigerants are more efficient, offer better air quality, increase comfort and improve reliability.

HFC refrigerants

4. Hydrocarbons (HC)

These are the most eco-friendly refrigerants and are completely free from chlorine with lowest potential for global warming and no ozone depletion potential.

R-290 and R-600A are the HCs whose chemical names are Propane for R-290 and Iso-Butane for R600A. These gases are already there in your kitchen and we have been using comfortably as LPG. These refrigerants are now rapidly being used in home Air conditioner by different manufacturer in India. These are having excellent refrigeration properties but are highly flammable. 

Note: Refrigerants are too dangerous at higher temperature as it can catch flame.

Refrigerants are assessed in the term of GWP and ODP which is Global warming potential and Ozone Depletion potential respectively.

A Eco friendly refrigerants is having minimum GWP and ODP value. Here is a list of corresponding value for some commonly used refrigerants.

RefrigerantGlobal Warming PotentialOzone Depletion Potential
R 600A30
R 29030

Which refrigerant is best R32, R 410A or R22 ?

Each refrigerant as GWP value for which carbon value is taken reference. Like for a refrigerant with GWP value 100 is 100 times dangerous compared to carbon.

R410A has GWP value of 2088 so if 1 kg of R410A gets released in Air, it will have 2088 times harmful effort of 1 Kg of carbon.

R22 has GWP value of 1810.

R32 has GWP value of 675 and has zero ODP. In addition to less GWP and zero ODP, R32 is easy to reuse and recycle therefor R32 is better refrigerant than R410A and R22.

Evolution cycle of Refrigerants

The historical cycle of refrigerants (Danfoss 2017)

Usages of Refrigerants in Indian market

HCFC and HFC are the most commonly used refrigerant in India. Among these R22, R134a, R407A, R404A, R410A etc are some of the refrigerants currently in use in India. Although Government of India has planned to phase out HCFC, still around 50-60% of AC used in India are using these refrigerants.

For most of the Central Air conditioning systems in Malls, Offices, Airport and stations still R134a and R22 in prominent usage in India. Whereas for room air conditioning in India, mainly R410A, R22 and R32 are being used.

HCFC (R22) is being phased out worldwide because of its harmful effects on the ozone layer. The U.S. has already set deadline of January 1, 2020 for banned production and importation of R22 in the United States. India has set up goal to phase out consumption and manufacturing of this HCFC refrigerant under an accelerated plan by 2030.

India will begin phasing out HFC refrigerants in 2028 and as per Government of India plan, it will make first 10% cut in usages by 2032.

Therefore if you are looking for AC buying in nearby month it is better to go for Air conditioner having HFC or HC refrigerant.

R32 refrigerant Air conditioner

R 290 refrigerant Air conditioner

We have a responsibility towards our Earth and environment and responsibility of securing future of the coming generations. We can start using devices which have minimal or no impact on environment. If you are looking for ACs, go for refrigerators using environment-friendly refrigerants like R32, R 290 and R 600A.


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