31.03.2016 09:29

Refrigerant R290 is a promising alternative to R22

Refrigerant R290


Refrigerant R290, also known as CARE 40, is a refrigerant grade propane that is suitable for use in modern common refrigerants.

It's predecessor, R22, was previously the only similarly behaving propane in terms of thermodynamic behavior. However R22 was also less efficient in places with high ambient temperature or high humidity. Refrigerant R290 improves the performance of refrigerators in these conditions.

As R290 has such a low impact on the environment, it is now used far more than it used to be and the number of uses it has is growing. It is non toxic, which means it's great to use around the home. And indeed it is, in air conditioning units. Businesses also use it for this reason, where it is most commonly used for industrial or commercial refrigeration (including vending machines) and in air conditioning units. However, it is highly flammable so therefore it is not suitable for use in fluorocarbon refrigerant systems which were not manufactured for use with R290 originally.

Some examples of where it can be used most efficiently are:



  • In small to mid sized shops in developing countries where the ambient temperature is high - bottle coolers, ice cream freezers and vending machines being ideal candidates here.

  • In air conditioning units where it is more humid than usual and therefore needs a refrigerant grade propane that can handle the thermodynamic conditions.

  • In places where the environmental concerns of using R22 can easily be switched out.


On top of being non toxic, R290 has zero Ozone Depletion Potential (or ODP) and a very low Global Warming Potential (or GWP) of just 3. This means that it won't to do as much damage to the environment as R22 which has a GWP of 1700. With these sorts of large scale refrigerant and cooling devices such common place nowadays it is essential that people are able to lessen their impact on the environment and R290 is the perfect propane for doing this. By switching from R290 to R22 in applicable refrigeration and cooling units this can easily be achieved, provided that safety regulations surrounding the installation and usage are adequately met.

More information at www.secop.com