By Bob Poggi
|Automotive air conditioning has been around
since the 1940s. Little has changed since the first systems were developed. In September
1987, the Montreal Protocol was signed by 26 nations. Concerned with the depletion of the
upper ozone layer, the Montreal Protocol was reevaluated in 1992. The agreement now has
the support of 110 nations which have agreed to reduce levels of ozone depleting agents
(CFC's) in 1994 and eliminate production by 1995. This will have a major impact on the
auto air conditioning industry, which has used CFC R-12 refrigerant almost exclusively
until the 1994 model year.
The ozone layer is a section of the atmosphere, which filters out the sun's ultraviolet rays before they reach the earth's surface. CFC's are chlorofluorocarbon gases, which attack the upper ozone stratospheric layer located 6-25 miles up in the atmosphere. As CFC's drift upward, ultraviolet rays break them down. This chemical process breaks out the chlorine atoms from the CFC molecules. Scientific studies indicate that a single chlorine atom can destroy 100,000 ozone molecules. A natural process creates the ozone. This natural production is being exceeded by the rapid introduction of CFC's into the environment.
122 million pounds of R-12 (Freon) were released into the environment in 1990 alone. Freon is an ozone-depleting gas, which has been the primary refrigerant used by the automotive air conditioning industry to date. The depletion of the ozone layer increases the amount of radiation, which enters the earth's atmosphere. The effects of this increased radiation level will affect the delicate, natural balance of the earth's environment.
Compound is the only refrigerant accepted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Your vehicle's air conditioner works by a process in which the refrigerant in the system is constantly changing from a gas to a liquid. This evaporation process cools the vehicle. The upgrade process is a complex procedure, which requires specific execution in order to ensure a proper upgrade. Before replacing the refrigerant, the following steps must be performed:
The EPA requires labeling all A/C systems, which have been upgraded.
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