Tecumseh Products Company announced in early May that it's moving forward in developing alternative refrigerant-based compressors. Tecumseh is keenly focused on developing compressors utilizing hydrocarbon refrigerants R290 (propane) and R600a (isobutane) which have ozone depletion potential factors of zero, and a fraction of the global warming potential (GWP) of those refrigerants they are intended to replace.

The company has become a signatory to “The Natural Voice,” a global call for action supported by industry and research that points to the environmental, economic and social potential of natural refrigerants in heating, cooling and refrigeration. The decision is a continuation of the company's "Green Technology" initiative, which was launched as international concern regarding global warming grew. The initiative commits cross-functional resources to design, develop, manufacture and market compressors and condensing units that are optimized for use with low Global Warming Potential (GWP) refrigerants.

Sources report that hydrocarbon refrigerants, which have been in use successfully in many parts of the world, are expected to be authorized in the U.S. for use in commercial and residential refrigeration applications in 2011. This is due to approval of the Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).