NEWS & EVENT

R22 Phase Out and F-Gas Regulations
   
 

Overview
There are two EU regulations that have a significant impact on the use of refrigeration and air - conditioning systems, affecting thousands of industrial, commercial and public sector users.
1. HFC refrigerants are affected by EU Regulation 842/2006 on certain fluorinated greenhouse gases (F-Gases)
2. HCFC refrigerants, especially R22, are affected
by EU Regulation 2037/2000 on ozone depleting
substances

 

Background

F-Gases are a class of man-made substances (HFCs, PFCs and SF6), which are used widely in refrigeration, air conditioning and various other industries (e.g. for high voltage switch gear, fire protection systems and aerosols). They are potent greenhouse gases and have a global warming potential around 2,000 times that of carbon dioxide. The F-Gas Regulation will affect many thousands of users . in particular, those with refrigeration systems in the chemicals, food processing and retail sectors, and air conditioning systems in building services across many commercial and public sectors. The Regulation aims to reduce the emissions of F-Gases mainly through leak prevention. In the past refrigeration and air-conditioning systems have leaked quite badly. Leakages are extremely bad for the environment. Wilful leakage of both HCFC and HFC refrigerants is now illegal.

EU Ozone Regulation
The Ozone Regulation addresses a range of ozone depleting HCFC refrigerants including the commonly used R22. HCFCs have been used as interim alternatives to CFCs which were banned in 2000. HCFCs (including R22) were banned in new refrigeration systems between 2000 and 2004. Users of existing HCFC systems will soon be affected by a complete ban on the use of HCFCs for plant maintenance . a ban on the use of virgin HCFCs begins at the end of 2009.
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F-Gas Regulation
Most aspects of the F-Gas Regulation came into force in July 2007. The Regulation imposes new obligations on operators of refrigeration and airconditioning equipment that use HFC refrigerants (such as R134a, R404A, R407C and R410A). These are summarised as follows:
- A general obligation to prevent leakage
- Regular leak testing of equipment containing more than 3 kg of HFC refrigerant
- Maintaining records for systems with more than 3 kg of HFC refrigerant
- Recovery of HFC refrigerants during maintenance and plant decommissioning
- Use of adequately qualified staff for leak testing and maintenance activities
- Labelling of new equipment stating type and quantity of refrigerant used

Ozone depleting substance regulations
The phase out of HCFCs for maintenance of existing refrigeration and air-conditioning systems begins at the end of 2009. The Regulation will ban the use of virgin HCFCs for maintenance from the end of 2009 and recycled fluid from the end of 2014. This is of crucial importance for many companies and means that all users of R22 and other HCFC systems need to consider alternative refrigerants or the purchase of new equipment. Other clauses in the Regulation affecting the use of existing HCFC systems include:

- The quantity of virgin HCFCs that can be sold in the EU is restricted. For example, in 2008 the
amount available for sale will only be 25% of that available in 2001.
- The phase out date of recycled fluid is subject to a review to be completed in 2008. This means
that recycled HCFCs may be phased out earlier than the end of 2014.
- Operators of HCFC refrigeration systems must take .all precautionary measures practicable. to
prevent leakages. Any system containing more than 3 kg of HCFC refrigerant must be
checked annually for leakage, by suitable qualified personnel.
- Any HCFC refrigerant removed from a system during maintenance or at end of life must be
properly recovered for re-use, recycling or destruction.

Recommendations
Users of HFC refrigeration
In order to minimise HFC emissions from refrigeration equipment, it is necessary to
1. Establish whether you are using HFCs and the amount of refrigerant in each system.
2. Start to keep the required records about each HFC plant.
3. Define an appropriate leak testing programme for each plant and ensure that it is carried out
by suitably qualified personnel.
Users of R22 and other HCFCs
It is important that R22 users begin to plan for the phase out of HCFCs. There is little time before the 2009 virgin fluid phase out date; it is dangerous to rely on the 2014 recycled fluid phase out date as this date could be brought forward as part of the review process. Also, there is no guarantee that sufficient supplies of recycled R22 will be available between 2010 and 2014.

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