Environmentally friendly fridges debut in the US

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The Independent Online

In a world first, EPA-approved environmentally friendly, zero global warming and zero ozone depletion refrigerators are due to be released in America in the coming months. The refrigerators contain an innovative new coolant which could significantly reduce global warming.

New York-based engineering firm Comstar International and Richard Maruya, head of AS Trust & Holdings (ASTH) Hawaii, came to an agreement to manufacture and distribute a new form of hydrocarbon refrigerant called HCR188C1 which was approved in early July.

This innovative coolant has both a zero global warming and a zero ozone depletion rating. It is the first hydrocarbon coolant to be approved by the US government's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and is designed to replace the damaging hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) such as R134A traditionally used in refrigerators and other cooling products such as air conditioning systems.

A 2002 report from the New Zealand ministry for the Environment in the International Journal of Refrigeration estimated that coolants such as R134A are 1300 times more damaging to the environment than CO2 emissions when measured over 100 years. Additionally the gases used in refrigeration units, known collectively as ‘F- gases,' are estimated to account for one fifth of pollutants contributing to global warming. As new coolant HCR188C1 releases no pollutants which contribute to global warming, widespread use would significantly cut the amount of damaging refrigeration emissions.

HCR188C is patented in the USA, the EU, China and Japan, and other patents are also pending.  A second type of hydrocarbon refrigerant HCR188C1 is, as of July 22, awaiting a final ruling ifrom the commission for the EPA's Significant New Alternative Policy (SNAP).

Steven Mella, CEO of Comstar International, stated that "sample test production runs of refrigerators using the coolant, had been made by Chinese white goods manufacturer Haier, Korean company Samsung and American group General Electric." Mella went on to say that Comstar International was also in talks with the German automobile association, VDA, about the possibilities of using the coolant in European cars.

Alternative low environmental impact refrigerators graded under the ‘Energy Star' system are already  available in America.

European Union-approved green products carry the EU Green Flower symbol.