EU signals phase-out of HFCs as refrigerants

phase-out. HFC, refrigerants
HFC refrigerants could be phased out by the mid 2020s. (Photo: Space Airconditioning)

The use of HFCs with high global-warming potentials is on course to be banned in new air-conditioning appliances and refrigerators by 2022 to 2025 after draft rules informally agreed with EU ministers received the support of environment MEPS. The move paves the way for the overall use of such HFCs to be reduced by 79% by 2030.

The agreement is seen as setting the pace for a global phase-out of these super-greenhouse gases, which are otherwise projected to make up 20% of greenhouse gases by 2030. A statement from the press service for the European Parliament observed, ‘Emissions of fluorinated greenhouse gases have risen by 60% since 1990 in the EU. Lead MEP Bas Eickhout (Greens/EFA, NL) said, ‘Banning the use of these ‘super-greenhouse gases’ in refrigeration and air conditioning is therefore urgently needed to reverse this negative trend.’

Technical aerosols containing HFCs with a GWP greater than 150 would be banned from 2018.

A ban would apply to centralised commercial refrigeration equipment with a capacity of 40 kW or more and using HFCs. Small air-conditioning systems with HFCs having a GWP of more than 750 will be banned by 2025.

The UK’s Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Industry Board (ACRIB) has welcomed the news that the F-gas agreement has been adopted with an overwhelming number of votes [46 in favour, one against and three abstentions).

Andrea Voigt, director general of the European Partnership for Energy & the Environment (EPEE) is similarly pleased; ‘We are pleased that MEPs have shown overwhelming support for this legislation, which will help industry move towards alternative solutions in a safe and efficient way. Reaching an agreement in the first reading provides our members with the regulatory certainty which will enable them to plan for the years ahead.

‘EPEE has always supported ambitious environments rules on F-gases. As we enter the final straight of the legislative process, we now call on the full European Parliament and the member states to show similar resolve to their counterparts in the European Parliament’s Environment Committee and adopt the agreement which we believe is in the best interests of business innovation and the environment.’

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