Refrigerant policies and regulations

HFC phase down

Regulations, both national and international, have been some of the most important drivers for spurring investment in new technology. Major HFC phase-downs have already been imposed on the industry. The measures for reducing HFC consumption are mostly forced by regulation, and they all mean to place limits for consumption within the market.

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Specific guidance measures on market development—like GWP limits for certain applications—generate an underlying concern over the availability of sustainable solutions. When new regulations are made, they are intended to encompass and balance the guidance measures and industry concerns.

HCFCs—particularly R22—have already been phased out in the EU, with the US and other developed countries following suit at the end of 2019. Developing countries began phasing out HCFCs in 2015 and will continue until 2030. It is important to remember that the HCFC R22 is used in many different applications, which makes the phase-out a challenge as no single non-flammable low-GWP refrigerant can replace it.

HFC consumption phase-down and Montreal protocol

In October 2016, the HFC phase-down steps were agreed and became part of the Montreal Protocol, also called the Kigali Amendment – which came into force on January 1st 2019. If ratified by a country after that date, the Kigali Amendment will enter into effect in the country 90 days afterwards. There is a special activity aimed at improving energy efficiency while phasing down HFCs called the Kigali Cooling Efficiency Program (KCEP). The KCEP is expected to spur the introduction of sustainable technologies in the fast-growing cooling segment.

Legislative frame and industry solutions

Besides the phase-down and phase-out mechanisms discussed above, many governments are applying measures for reducing high-GWP refrigerant consumption, such as GWP-weighted taxes. To date, Spain, Denmark, Norway and Sweden have imposed taxes on HFCs. Additionally, national incentives in the form of subsidies on low-GWP refrigerants are currently being used in many other countries.