Rwanda climate deal has scientists seeking coolants that don’t accidentally warm planet
The hunt is on for chemicals to keep both you and the planet cool.
A new agreement will soon begin phasing out the powerful greenhouse gases currently used in air conditioners, refrigerators and insulating foams. These gases, called hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, can cause hundreds of times more global warming per molecule than carbon dioxide. The phaseout, announced by world leaders on October 15 in Kigali, Rwanda, has scientists and chemical companies investigating new molecules to chill things with less harm to the planet. Some of these molecules are already in use, while others require more tinkering.
Hunting for eco-friendly alternatives to planet-warming HFCs requires careful chemistry, says Rajiv Banavali, a chief technology officer at Honeywell International, which develops chemicals for air conditioners and refrigerators. A replacement chemical has to