Thursday, June 26, 2008

CO2 making things cooler...inside refrigerators


We're used to thinking of CO2 as the problem. And that, largely is absolutely true. But the good news behind the truth of CO2's overabundance in our atmosphere, is that any industrial use for the gas is carbon-neutral, since it's being pulled out CO2 positive industries, like oil refineries and power plants.

So the CO2 in your soda is, in fact, stored industrial carbon. So when we hear about refrigerators and air conditioners becoming far more efficient by using CO2 as a coolant, we don't have to worry about the CO2. All we have to worry about is how to get this new refrigerant adopted as quickly as possible.

CO2 is, first, a better refrigerant. It cools more efficiently, and thus saves huge amounts of money. Which is why Coca Cola, which owns more refrigerators than any other company (usually called vending machines,) has recently stopped creating vending machines that use any other refrigerant.

Other good news has followed. Coca Cola's CEO put forth a call to switch globally from dangerous, polluting HFCs. CO2 is already taking over in the developing world, where efficiency is extremely important, and it;s easier to come by than HFCs. And Greenpeace has recently asked the EPA and the automotive industry to take notice of the high global warming potential and low efficiency of current refrigerants and make the switch.

It's nice to see this much-derided little molecule finally getting some good press. And it's even nicer to see this new technology, using a common, relatively benign refrigerant to make cooling more efficient and safer for the world.

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