History of air conditioning systems in cars…
A/C systems are present nowadays on most vehicles as standard equipment from the factory. The first company to install an air conditioning system in a car was in the USA in 1933 when they have equipped it for limousines and luxury cars. In 1939 Packard became an automobile manufacturer to offer air conditioning on its cars and the system was called weather conditioner.
Over the years the air conditioning known now had been called many different ways and has seen many improvements in the way it operates resulting in a system that is effective in controlling vehicle interior temperature.
In the refrigeration cycle, heat is transported from a colder location to a hotter area. As heat would naturally flow in the opposite way, mechanical effort is required to achieve this. A refrigerator is an example of such a system, as it transports the heat out of the interior and into its environment. The refrigerant gas is used as the medium which absorbs and removes heat from the space to be cooled and subsequently ejects that heat elsewhere.
Circulating refrigerant vapours enters the compressor, where their pressure and temperature are increased. The hot, compressed refrigerant gas vapour is at a temperature and pressure at which it can be condensed and is routed through a condenser. Here it is cooled by air blown over the condenser surface and condensed into a liquid. This way circulating refrigerant removes heat from the system and the heat is carried away by air.
2. Type of gas used in car air conditioning systems
R134a has been used in the automotive industry for over 20 years but it started to be replaced in 2013.
It is considered that R134a is 1430 times more destructive to the atmosphere than CO2, therefore replacement of this gas was imminent and probably required for a long time.
The new laws from 2011 required all newly designed cars and vans built for the EU and equipped with air conditioning (AC) to use a refrigerant gas with a global warming potential (GWP) of 150 or lower. The R134a gas has GWP OF 1430, therefore a new gas was introduced.
New vehicles are required by law to use greener refrigerant HFO-1234yf or R1234yf.
A new refrigerant was therefore found with a GWP coefficient of just 4 that is ticking the box of being a greener air conditioning gas and has been implemented in use of a car from 2013 and from 2015 all manufactures are required to use this type of gas, which it has the downside if being more expensive.