enero 29, 2018

CO2: El viejo nuevo refrigerante

Antes de los productos sintéticos se manejaba el CO2 como refrigerante, pero al llegar las nuevas tecnologías se dejó de lado. Hoy en día, se busca que esta sustancia natural se utilice nuevamente, a fin de reducir el efecto invernadero.

Para algunos, el uso del bióxido de carbono (CO2) como refrigerante es un tema nuevo, mientras que para otros es una cuestión que despierta recelo, debido a sus características particulares. La realidad es que esta sustancia lleva más de 100 años dentro del ámbito HVACR, pues su historia comienza en el siglo XIX, cuando Alexander Twining patenta un sistema de refrigeración utilizando este gas. Desde entonces, su empleo siguió creciendo, gracias a su fácil obtención y buenas propiedades termodinámicas. Tanto así que fue en los años 20 del siglo pasado cuando se convirtió en uno de los refrigerantes más utilizados en los sistemas de refrigeración, principalmente, en el sector naval.

Con la llegada de los refrigerantes sintéticos, como los hidroclorofluorocarbonos (HCFC) y los hidrofluorocarbonos (HFC), el CO2 perdió fuerza, pues éstos comenzaron a reemplazarlo, manteniéndolo fuera del radar durante varias décadas.

Al pasar los años, los expertos comenzaron a notar los efectos adversos de estas sustancias, las cuales afectaban a la atmósfera directamente y ocasionan daños al medioambiente. Por estos motivos, la comunidad internacional decidió tomar acciones a través de acuerdos y protocolos para restringir su uso y buscar alternativas más amigables. Con la creciente preocupación sobre los daños a la naturaleza y los avances tecnológicos sólo era cuestión de tiempo para el resurgimiento del CO2 como una alternativa ecológica en sustitución de los refrigerantes sintéticos.

No obstante, aún existe incertidumbre acerca de este “nuevo” refrigerante natural, especialmente por falta de información y miedo a lo desconocido.

¿Qué es el CO2?
Este gas es un elemento natural que se encuentra libre en la atmósfera. Se produce a través de la combustión del carbón o de hidrocarburos, la fermentación de los líquidos, así como la respiración de los seres humanos y animales.

Para ser utilizado en los procesos de refrigeración se extrae de la atmósfera, lo que permite revertir el impacto ecológico al tomar uno de los principales gases causantes del efecto invernadero y reciclarlo para beneficio de la industria y de la humanidad.

Fuente: Accelerate Corporate

Propiedades
La Sociedad Americana de Ingenieros de Calefacción, Refrigeración y Aire Acondicionado (ASHRAE) denomina al CO2 como R-744 y lo clasifica en el grupo de seguridad A1. Esto significa que no es tóxico ni inflamable, además de que está catalogado como una sustancia pura sin deslizamiento de temperatura dentro del rango de los refrigerantes naturales, lo que facilita enormemente su manejo.

Una de sus principales propiedades en el sector HVACR es que puede ser utilizado en sistemas subcríticos y transcríticos:

Aplicación subcrítica: este elemento reacciona de forma muy similar a cualquier otro refrigerante, pues se evapora, comprime y condensa. Su comportamiento de presión es similar al del R-410A
Aplicación transcrítica: el CO2 no se condensa, es decir, el cambio de gas a líquido no sucede de la forma tradicional. Para que esto ocurra, se alcanzan presiones de descarga más elevadas a las de un sistema tradicional y se utilizan controles de regulación de presión y tuberías más resistentes

Fuente: Accelerate Corporate

Beneficios

  1. Se recicla del medioambiente
  2. Tiene un costo menor que la mayoría de los refrigerantes
  3. Su impacto en la capa de ozono es nulo (ODP=0) y tiene muy bajo potencial de calentamiento global (GWP=1). Por ejemplo, un supermercado con R-404A tiene una huella ecológica equivalente a 3 mil 922 supermercados del mismo tamaño utilizando CO2
  4. No está sujeto a ningún protocolo o etapa de eliminación, debido a que es un refrigerante natural, por lo que su vida útil es infinita
  5. Posee propiedades termodinámicas muy atractivas:
    1. Alta capacidad volumétrica de refrigeración. Según las condiciones, la aplicación llega a ser de 5 a 8 veces mayor que el R-22, R-404A o R-507A, lo que equivale a trabajar con compresores, componentes y tuberías de tamaños reducidos
  6. Posee excelentes capacidades termodinámicas:
    1. Alta conductividad térmica y coeficiente de transferencia de calor, lo que equivale a intercambiadores de calor más pequeños
    2. Excelente miscibilidad con los aceites lubricantes, lo que facilita su separación y disminuye la migración al sistema
  7. Es un refrigerante inactivo químicamente, es decir, no inflamable ni tóxico (grupo A1)
  8. En caso de una fuga o avería en el sistema no se tiene necesidad de recuperación o manejo del refrigerante y no existe penalización
  9. El CO2 puede ser utilizado en climas calientes sin afectar su desempeño termodinámico y energético, incrementando cada vez más su eficiencia y disminuyendo sus costos gracias a las innovaciones crecientes

De esta forma, el uso del dióxido de carbono ya es un hecho alrededor del mundo y se ha convertido en tendencia gracias a su creciente aplicación, especialmente en supermercados.

Aunque esta sustancia tiene diversas ventajas, sigue siendo un refrigerante de reciente aplicación en México, y todavía no ha sido ampliamente aceptado por las dudas que surgen en la parte técnica y en su aplicación en campo.

Para combatir y dar solución a esta problemática, BITZER impulsa el uso de este refrigerante para eliminar los prejuicios que aún se tienen en torno a este tema. Esto lo hacemos por medio de un sistema de refrigeración con CO2 con propósitos académicos para capacitaciones a técnicos, en el cual los participantes pueden acercarse al sistema, mediante seminarios y ejercicios, para ver los componentes, modificar las condiciones de operación y observar la reacción durante su puesta en marcha.

Sin Categoría
Sobre Bitzer

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