On 17 December 2013, the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the ENVI Committee reached a compromise on the text revising the F-Gas Regulation. The draft text will be put to the vote in the first quarter of 2014. Should the Parliament and the Council ratify the text, the main results will be as follows.
F-Gas should enter into force on 1 January 2015!
This text relating to fluorinated gases proposes a certain number of future measures for refrigeration, air conditioning, heating and renewable-energy professionals. In particular, it provides for a "phasing-down" of the CO2 equivalent of HFCs*, through a reduction in the quantities of HFCs sold on the European market from 2015, taking into account global warming potential (GWP), with a view to attaining a significant reduction of 79% by 2030.
In effect, this means that you will be able to continue to use HFCs, but their availability will be reduced over the coming years and their use will also be subject to the following restrictions in commercial and industrial refrigeration:
- From 1 January 2020, it will be prohibited to use HFCs with a GWP ≥ 2500 in new fixed refrigeration systems (e.g. R-404A or R-507) unless the operating temperature is less than -50°C.
- From 1 January 2020, it will be prohibited to use HFCs with a GWP ≥ 2500 in hermetically-sealed new refrigerators and freezers for commercial use. By 2022, GWP will have to be less than or equal to 150.
- From 1 January 2022, HFCs with a GWP ≥ 150 will be prohibited in new refrigeration plant equipment with a power greater than or equal to 40 kW, except in the primary circuit of cascade systems, in which the coolant must have a GWP less than 1,500.
- For the servicing and maintenance of systems with a charge greater than or equal to 40T CO2 e, from 2020, refilling with virgin fluid with a GWP ≥ 2,500 will be prohibited in refrigeration equipment, unless the operating temperature is less than -50°C.
Usage restrictions are also envisaged with regard to air conditioning. From 2020, new stand-alone mobile air conditioners using an HFC with GWP ≥ 150 will be prohibited. New split systems with a fluid charge of less than 3kg and that contain an HFC with GWP ≥ 750 will be banned from sale from 2025.
Several technologies are already available to help you deal with these changes in the F-Gas Regulation.
Lower-GWP fluorinated gases are already available, and hydrocarbons, or even non-halogenated chemical solutions such as ammonia, CO2, secondary refrigerants and heat transfer fluids, can also meet your needs. Climalife has prepared for this change and is in a position to help you make the right choice while taking into account a key criterion: "energy efficiency".
- As things stand, for new "direct-expansion" systems, Performax® LT (R-407F), which has a GWP of 1824, is a solution that will immediately reduce CO2 e. emissions with its lower GWP and better energy efficiency as a replacement for R-404A in new or existing systems for commercial low- and medium-temperature refrigeration applications. At pressures similar to R-404A, it is easy to use, with personnel already qualified and accredited. No additional training or complex, multi-stage systems are required. The solution sticks with simple, single-stage systems and machines having proven technology - in use for decades - and system reliability.
- In order to allow existing installations with high GWP to continue to be used after 2020, regenerated HFCs would be authorised until 2030. The same would go for recycled HFCs if they are recovered and re-used from the original equipment. Recovering the HFC fluids today will allow us to make good use of them in the future.
- In chillers, CO2 cascades, high-temperature heat pumps or even refrigerators, Solstice® ze (HFO 1234ze), a 4th generation HFO fluid with GWP < 1, can replace R-134a with lower instant cold production but greater energy efficiency.
- Solstice® zd is also a fluid with a GWP of 5 which can replace R-123 in high-temperature heat pumps, centrifugal chillers, or Rankine cycles.
- "N13", which is being tested in new installations, will also be an appropriate solution for existing installations. With a GWP of 604, its cooling capacity and energy efficiency are very similar to those of R-134a, which makes it a very interesting alternative solution to R-134a from an energy-efficiency and environmental perspective.
- R-32 with a GWP of 675, already available from Climalife, is a fluid that has already been selected by some manufacturers for use in residential air conditioning systems. It is important to start preparing now for the handling of flammable fluids.
Finally, the regulation provides for a reinforcement of system tightness checks and additional information on labelling, particularly on refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump systems.
You will find detailed information about this new regulation in the next issue of Climalife Contact, which will be published in February 2014.
Below, you will find the GWPs for fluids currently used in your installations:
* HFCs concerned are those listed in the Annex 1 of the draft text of the F-Gas Regulation.