At present, the utilization of vapour compression plants in refrigeration and air conditioning fields may have a negative impact on the environment both in direct and indirect terms. In fact, polluting substances are released during the conversion processes which occur to make the necessary mechanical energy available; but it is also acknowledged that a great many of the usual working fluids take part in stratospherical ozone destruction and/or in the so-called “greenhouse effect”. Therefore, such problems are the subject of many studies and meetings in which international research workers, manufacturers and designers are involved. These studies especially aim at: i) an appraisal of actual and potential damage ii) the setting up of plants and/or alternative working fluids iii) a comparative evaluation in terms of energy efficiency and environmental impact (see 2) iv) localization of any potentially dangerous working practices. In this paper, energy costs and environmental impacts associated with the utilization of compression plants running with both traditional and “alternative” fluids will be evaluated on a theoretical-numerical base.
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