HFC phase down (regulation)

Regulation, both national and international, has been one of the most important drivers for spurring investment in new technology. The charts an overview of HFC phase-downs that have already been imposed on the industry - see also the section on standards and legislation later in this paper.  

The measures for reducing HFC consumption can be voluntary or imposed by regulation (the red triangle), but they all mean to place limits within the market. Specific guidance measures on market development - like GWP limits for certain applications - cause an underlying concern of the availability of sustainable solutions (the green triangle). When new regulations are made, they are intended to encompass and balance the guidance measures and concerns, and predict reasonably successful outcomes but, after all, there are always a number of challenges that need to be solved by industry leaders and legislators along the path of change.

A detailed overview is made for the main regulations including the Montreal protocol, the EU F-gas regulation, and the US SNAP.

HCFCs, particularly R22, have already been phased out in the EU and the phase-out is close to being finalized in the US and other developed countries. 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.

In October 2016, the HFC phase-down steps were agreed upon and became part of the Montreal Protocol, which go into effect on January 1, 2019, pending ratification by 20 states, which at the moment appears to be a formality. If ratified after that date, the amendment will enter into effect 90 days afterwards.  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. 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.

Global overview of refrigerant regulations