Domestic heat pumps constitute a significant part of the global heat pump industry. R401A offers excellent performance with no influence on the ozone depletion and has been a dominant refrigerant in most domestic heat pumps. However, R410A has a significant impact on the climate due to its high global warming potential (GWP). Thus, the heat pump industry has been focusing on the development of R410A substitutes. Pure refrigerant alternates, such as HFC32, and the blends mixed with low-GWP refrigerants, such as HFO1234yf and HFO1234ze(E), are widely reported. Besides the direct impact of refrigerants (which is estimated as GWP), domestic heat pumps indirectly affect the environment from the energy consumption and manufacturing processes. Hence the life cycle climate performance (LCCP) analysis accounts for all emissions through the lifetime of a heat pump. This article reports the LCCP evaluation of various low-GWP refrigerants for R410A replacement on domestic heat pumps. Six refrigerants, i.e., HFC32, binary blends of HFC32 and HFO1234yf (with GWP values of 300, 200 and 150), and HFC32 and HFO1234ze(E) with GWP values of 300 and 200, were compared against R410A. The performance data of these refrigerants from the experimental heat pump facility were utilized to evaluate the LCCP. Among the selected refrigerants, the binary blend of HFC32/HFO1234ze(E) with GWP 300 shows the lowest LCCP. Low-GWP refrigerants would become more competitive than R410A when CO2 emission from energy generations can be reduced by the optimization of the system or the usage of renewable energy.
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