Refrigerant policies and regulations
R404A/R507 is especially under pressure and likely to be phased out of all commercial systems. An EU quota allocation mechanism have been made and the first phase-down step was accomplished in 2016 with quotas reduced by 7% compared to baseline. The quota system mechanism assigns quotas to producers and importers of bulk gases. Quota holders can transfer part of their quota via authorizations to importers of pre charged units. Authorizations can again be delegated but only ones. All operations must be reported in the central registry to ensure compliance with the regulation. For more detailed descriptions and Q&A documents please refer to the EU homepage or to the EPEE homepage. The import of pre-charged units and the need for retrofit of R22 systems with HFC replacements are not taken into account in the baseline for the phase down. The import of pre-charged units is estimated to at 11% to the official baseline. As the amount of HFC import in pre-charged units will be accounted in the official quota from 2017 it is believed that it will create extra pressure on the availability of HFC.
By adding the pre-charged units demand into the phase down steps and assuming a constant consumption in metric tons over the years a different scenario become evident. By 2018 the quota falls to 56 percent of the baseline compared to previous 63%. The 2030 target of 21% of baseline becomes in reality around 19%
The expected composition of the phase-down until 2021 is outlined in the sectorial overview. It is obvious that the refrigeration sector will be the main contributor to the phase-down while AC and HP will gain more contribution later.
Observations at the end of 2019 show that refrigerant prices peaked at 400 to 600% increase for the most common types of HFCs like R404A, 134a, and recently R410A — but during the year, the prices are declining. It can only be recommended that a detailed plan is made to replace refrigerants with a high GWP and especially R404A. R410A is the only refrigerant which doesn’t have an A1 class substitute with a lower GWP alternative (see figure 11). Based on that, R410A might be the only old mainstream HFCs that will be used in the coming years – albeit at a much higher price. A fast transition to lower GWP alternatives is likely to happen to avoid shortages in the market.
Bans on new equipment
The phase down schedule is complemented with bans on new equipment and bans on servicing equipment with high GWP refrigerants. Although the service bans are far into the future, they are within the expected lifespan of today's new equipment. This puts pressure on the industry to stop building R404A/507 systems.
To our best knowledge, it will be published at the beginning of 2024.
The Export ban is applicable to regions beyond the EU 27.
Typically, the UK aligns with EU 27 regulations, but we must await the final outcome to confirm.
The review will take the form of a report primarily focusing on the comprehensive evaluation of the full F-gas bans in split A/A AC and HP systems (2032). Additionally, the Export ban will undergo evaluation. While potential changes to the bans may be considered through delegated acts, it's important to note that this will not be a full review.
No, the GWP is derived from the 4th Assessment Report.
Natural refrigerants offer a solution, albeit with inherent limitations. It's worth noting that certain F-gases are not PFAS, and we must exercise patience as we await the conclusive results of the REACH PFAS evaluation to fully understand future possibilities.
From 2030 the GWP limit for all stationary refrigeration systems, except chillers, is 150. Until 2030 the GWP limit is 2500.
From 2030 there will be a GWP limit of 150.
Referring to systems with ambient temperatures exceeding 65°C, if safety requirements restrict the use of high-GWP refrigerants, the limit is set at 750 (Annex IV (8). There is a need for clarification regarding the practices associated with utilizing this exemption.
Until 2030, systems with a temperature below -50°C are not subject to any GWP limit. Starting in 2030, the GWP limit will be set at 150.
No, there won't be a ban for refrigeration systems. However, for small chillers and monoblock AC/HP systems up to 12 kW, there will be a complete F-gas ban starting in 2032. Additionally, for split AC/HP systems up to 12 kW, a full F-gas ban will be implemented from 2035.
That has not yet been decided