F Gas Regulations

From the updated 2014 EU F Gas regulations (517/2014),

The F Gas Regulation creates controls on the use and emissions of fluorinated greenhouse gases (F-Gases) including HFC’s, PFC’s and SF6. A crucial aspect of the 2014 Regulation is the introduction of the phase down in the supply of HFC’s within the EU market.

HFC’s are used in a range of applications such as refrigeration, air-conditioning, heat pumps etc. HFC’s are very powerful greenhouse gases – the most commonly used HFC’s have a global warming potential (GWP) between 1,000 and 4,000 times higher than CO2.

 Phase Down Plans

With the HFC phase down starting in 2015 and then a big cut in supply in 2018, we may get to a position where demand out strips availability, high demand and limited stock of HFC’s will undoubtedly push the price of refrigerants like R404A higher and higher.

Prices of HFC refrigerants are already on the increase. For example, the industry’s most used refrigerant R404A has increased by as much as 500% in the last 3 years, the cost of R134a has risen by 200%.

It is reasonable to expect that the prices of HFCs will rise considerably as supplies become constrained. It is also reasonable to expect that this price rise will be GWP weighted – there will clearly be greatest phase down pressures on HFC R404A, R422A, R422D and R507.

From 2020, you will not be able to use some ‘virgin’ (unused) F Gases to refill existing refrigeration systems. This ‘service ban’ will apply when both these conditions are met:

  • The refrigeration system contains F Gases equivalent to 40 tonnes of CO2 or more – (Systems Charge in kg x the refrigerants GWP ÷ 1000 = CO2 Equivalent in Tonnes)
  • The virgin F Gas has a Global Warming Potential (GWP) of more than 2500

By 2030 you will not be able to add any high GWP refrigerants to an existing system

It is clear that HFC users are going to need to significantly reduce their demand by 2018 to avoid supply shortages and reduce future costs of upkeep on their plant.

With prices expected to continue to rise, now is the time to take action to prevent your systems costing you more money than necessary.                                                  

Early action is imperative!

Ways to combat the phase down

  • For existing Refrigeration Systems – consider the possibility of replacing high GWP refrigerant with ‘Medium /Low GWP’ HFCs. For example, use R407F or R448/9a in place of R404A. This will create a minimum 50% cut in GWP weighted demand. Saving the need to replace pipe work, outdoor units and indoor unit.
  • For new Refrigeration systems – carefully consider which HFCs to use. Very high GWP HFCs such as R404A and R507 should be avoided immediately! There are plenty of alternative refrigerants to use, that have lower than 2500 GWP ratings, within new systems that can still reach the desired temperatures.

This will mainly affect the likes of R404A, R422A and R422D.

If you are interested in updating your systems to meet the regulations and potentially save you money, then give us a call and we can discuss the best way to move forward.




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