Searching for suitable lubricants for low global warming potential refrigerant R513A using molecular-based models: solubility and performance in refrigeration cycles


Albà, Carlos G.; Llovell, Fèlix; Vega, Lourdes F.


Following environmental regulations, refrigerant R134a (Global Warming Potential GWP = 1430), commonly used in air conditioning applications, is required to be replaced by refrigerants with lower GWP. Among them, R513A is investigated as an excellent alternative, with a GWP reduction of 56% compared to R134a. However, further studies are needed in order to assess its use for this application. In this work, the molecular-based polar soft-SAFT equation has been employed to predict the vapour-liquid equilibria (VLE) of R513A and selected lubricants, searching for the optimal lubricant and their performance on a vapour compression refrigeration cycle. First, the binary VLE of the commercial lubricants from the Pentaerythritol Esters (PECs) and Polyethylene Glycol Dimethyl Ethers (PEGDMEs) families with R1234yf and R134a were assessed versus available experimental data, by developing the appropriate molecular models and parameters. Then, the models were used to predict the properties of the ternary mixtures containing the two refrigerants and the lubricants. PEC5 was found to be the optimal lubricant for R513A, considering a balance between solubility, miscibility and viscosity. Molecular modelling combined with thermodynamic and energetic analysis allowed to calculate the performance of a vapour compression refrigeration cooling cycle, quantifying the impact of the presence of the lubricant on the COP. The presence of PEC5 in the mixture was not significant, staying below a COP decrease of 3% in all cases considered, while for TrEGDME, its presence reduced the COP up to 6.1%. The procedure used here allows tuning the performance of the refrigerant/lubricant pair, in a step forward on the search for low GWP refrigerants in air conditioning systems.








International Journal of Refrigeration, August 2021, v.128, p.252-263

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