New Age Air
BY ROBERT POGGI Environmental concerns have changed

Automotive air conditioning has been around since the 1940s. Little has changed since the first systems were developed. But in September of 1987 the Montreal Protocol was signed between 26 nations. This agreement has made the most significant impact on the automotive air conditioning industry to dale. 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 their production by 1995. This will have a major impact on the auto air conditioning industry, which has used CFC F-12 refrigerant almost exclusively until the 1994 model year.

The ozone layer is a part of the atmosphere, which filters out ultraviolet rays from the sun before they reach the earth's surface. CFCs are chlorofluorocarbon gases, which attack the upper ozone stratospheric layer located between 6-25 miles up in the atmosphere. As CFCs drift upward ultraviolet rays break them down. This chemical process breaks down 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 process is being exceeded by the rapid introduction of CFCs in the environment.
122-millionpounds of R-12 (Freon) were released into the atmosphere in 1990 alone. Freon is an ozone depleting gas, which has been used as the primary refrigerant in the automobile's air conditioning system. The depletion of the ozone layer increases the amount of radiation, which enters the earth's atmosphere. The effects of these increased radiation levels will effect the delicate, natural balance of the earth's environment. There has been significant scientific evidence of increased radiation levels in the environment. Higher levels of radiation result in a trend of global warming, which accelerates the melting of the polar ice caps. The sun's rays will have higher levels of ultraviolet rays that can cause skin cancer and other radiation poisoning.

There are approximately 140-million vehicles in the U.S. with CFC R-12 air conditioning systems. The automotive industry estimates 60-100 million potential customers between 1995 and the year 2000

ABOVE, the new R134a retrofit kit includes receiver drier, service ports, ester oil and auxiliary condenser fan.
will upgrade their existing air conditioning systems to a new compound HFC R-134a, which is a non-ozone depleting substance.
The average retail upgrade cost for most late model vehicles will be from $200-$800 depending on the year and make of the car. This staggering figure will result in an S20-$60 billion transition (retrofit) process in the United States alone.

ABOVE, Standard auto A/C condenser has an inlet tube at the top, through tubes top to bottom, dissipating heat and turning the gas into liquid.

BELOW, The parallel flow condenser was developed for converting from R-12 to R-134a. The principle is similar to a radiator.

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