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Saturday, June 8, 2013



A refrigerant is the primary working fluid used for absorbing and transmitting heat in a refrigeration system. Refrigerants absorb heat at a low temperature and low pressure and release heat at a higher temperature and pressure. Most refrigerants undergo phase changes during heat absorption—evaporation—and heat releasing—condensation

HCFC refers to the chemical composition of the refrigerant. Hydrochlorofluorocarbon indicates that the refrigerant is comprised of Hydrogen, Chlorine, Fluorine, and Carbon. They have only about 10% of the ozone depleting potential as CFCs. They are energy-efficient, low-in-toxicity, cost effective and can be used safely. They have allowed the CFCs consumption of the world to fall by about 75%. Unfortunately HCFCs are Greenhouse gases, despite their very low atmospheric concentrations.

HCFC-125 has zero ozone depletion potential, but has high global warming potential as reported by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as 3450 times that of carbon dioxide.

Pentafluoroethane or (HCFC 125) in a zeotropic mixture with difluoromethane is known as R-410A, a common replacement for various chlorofluorocarbons (commonly known as Freon) in new refrigerant systems.


Refrigerant blends are referred to by their so-called “R-numbers”, which are internationally recognized classifications for particular mixtures of substances. For example, R-410A, which is a mixture of 50 per cent HFC-32 and 50 per cent HFC-125

Process technology According to different raw materials, the industrial synthesis routes of HCFC-125 can be divided into the PCE route, the TCE route and the tetrafluoroethylene route. The PCE route has a convenient source of raw materials and can share a set of production facilities with HFC-134a, but it has a relatively high production cost.

The TCE route usually contains the HCFC-133 (1-chloro-1,2,2-trifluoroethane) ,a chlorination or disproportionate step which has a relatively low yield rate. So, it is generally used only for the co-production of HFC-134a and HFC-125.

The tetrafluoroethylene route uses tetrafluoroethylene and hydrogen fluoride as raw materials. After the addition reaction, the raw materials can be synthesized into pentafluoroethane at one step. However, because tetrafluoroethylene is produced from HCFC-22, the price of HCFC-22 can affect the production cost of this synthesis route. The tetrafluoroethylene route that uses tetrafluoroethylene and hydrogen fluoride as the raw materials to produce HFC-125 is divided into the gas-phase method and the liquid-phase method. The liquid-phase method can be easily industrialized and can cause little environmental pollution. In the tetrafluoroethylene route, the liquid-phase method has become the mainstream production process of HCFC-125 .


IUPAC Name: 1,1,1,2,2-pentafluoroethane

CAS Number: 354-33-6

Chemical Formula: C2HF5

Synonyms: f125, r125, C2F5H, R-125, FC-125, CFC125, fron125, HCF-125, HFC-125.

Melting Point:   -103°C

Boiling Point:      -48.5°C

Density:               1,248 g/cm3

Freezing Point:  -103℃

Stability:               Stable.

It is odorless, colorless, electrically non-conductive, non-corrosive, and leaves no residue.

Health Hazard

Vapors may cause dizziness or asphyxiation without warning. Vapors from liquefied gas are initially heavier than air and spread along ground. Contact with gas or liquefied gas may cause burns, severe injury and/or frostbite. Fire may produce irritating, corrosive and/or toxic gases.

Fire Hazard

Some may burn but none ignite readily. Containers may explode when heated. Ruptured cylinders may rocket.

HCFC 125 is stored in a pressurized container and introduced as a gas.


HCFC 125 is also used as a fire suppression agent in fire suppression systems. It is generally used in situations where water from a fire sprinkler would damage expensive equipment or where water-based fire protection is impractical, such as museums, banks, clean rooms and hospitals. It is used in occupied enclosed areas that contain high-value assets. More than 99% of HFC-125 produced worldwide by the reporting companies is used as a blend component for commercial refrigeration and air conditioning systems. The use as a fire-extinguishing agent in total flooding systems is another application of .Minor applications include the use of HFC-125 in plastic foam blowing and as a solvent in special applications


The growth in consumer durable and automobile industry is driving the demand in refrigerant industry. Additionally, the major suppliers are responding towards the phase out of HCFCs by providing a wide range of alternative refrigerants and maintaining their supply globally. The primary application of refrigerants is in the manufacturing of refrigeration and air conditioning equipments. Some of its others, but significant, uses are in solvents, foam blowing agents, pharmaceuticals, food stuff, plastics, electronics etc. The refrigerant market has great growth potential. The market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 5.2%, over the next five years and reach 1.6 million metric tons by 2018. Asia-Pacific, with its thriving economies and rapidly expanding manufacturing bases, is expected to experience highest consumption during the next five years.

Demand for HFCs has grown dramatically in all regions of the world. In Europe due to the complete phase-out of virgin R-22 for both new equipment and servicing of existing equipment, in Asia due to economic growth (most significantly in China where there is a fast growing middle class) and in the U.S. due to the phase-out of HCFCs for use in manufacturing new air-conditioning equipment and insulating foams.

HFC-125 is a fluorocarbon gas essential in generating new refrigerants. As a limited number of companies manufacture it, one issue that has arisen is securing a stable supply of HFC-125 after 2010, when demand is expected to dramatically increase.

In fact, due to the current supply/demand imbalance for HFC-125, a key component in most refrigerant blends, the purchase cost for China-produced HFC-125 has more than doubled over the past several months and is approaching tripling. Compounding the HFC-125 supply challenge is the fact that global demand for HFC-134a has also increased significantly over the past year due to economic growth and the transition of the U.S. polystyrene insulating foam market from HCFC-142b to HFC-134a. The market is further segmented and forecasted for major geographic regions such as: Americas, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and Rest of the World that include key growth regions like China, and India.

Source: NPCS Team

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