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Global cooling body urges EC to avoid changes to existing F-Gas phasedown - Refrigeration and Air Conditioning

Last updated: 09-26-2020

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Global cooling body urges EC to avoid changes to existing F-Gas phasedown - Refrigeration and Air Conditioning

The International Institute of Refrigeration (IIR) would welcome greater focus on energy efficient cooling under the F-Gas regulation as opposed to changing the existing phase down schedule.

An internal consultation between the IIR’s Science and Technology Council and other members has concluded that existing quota reductions and refrigerant bans under F-gas should remain in place.

The claims have been made as part of the orgnanisation’s official response to an ongoing European Commission review of the F-Gas regulation. The review is inviting feedback from individuals and organisations across the cooling industry with regards to the effectiveness of different aspects of the flagship regulation.

The F-Gas regulation is described in the IIR’s response as being a “major success” that should continue as scheduled up to 2030.  Any decision to slow the current phasedown schedule or bring forward key dates should not be considered at present, according to the IIR.

However, the organisation said it would welcome a range of other focuses alongside the current quotas to support industry to adapt to be more sustainable cooling that didn’t involve amending the phasedown currently in place.

The IIR added, “This shouldn’t be done any slower, since it seems possible to continue the phasedown of HFCs as scheduled, nor faster since, in addition to illegal trade issues, priority must now be given to the energy efficiency of equipment and whole systems such as buildings or vehicles. Faster phasedown would certainly lead to less energy-efficient solutions.”

“In addition, clear and stable regulations are necessary to give confidence and enable intelligent investment planning.”

Indirect carbon emissions were identified by the IIR as a particular concern it would like to see addressed via any revisions made to the F-Gas regulation or supporting legislation.

The issue is seen by the organisation as a vital concern with refrigeration estimated to account for 20 per cent of global electricity consumption, according to estimates from trade and energy specialists, as well as the UN Environment Programme.  It is estimated that indirect emissions of CO2 from electricity used for cooling processes are twice as much of those directly from refrigerant, according to the IIR.

The IIR added, “Actions must be taken at European level on energy consumption, considering the Total Equivalent Warming Impact (TEWI). Coordination with EU actions on energy, such as the Ecodesign directive, is essential.”

“Priority should be given to air conditioning and heat pumps, where the implementation of energy efficiency labelling should be pursued and a ban on inefficient equipment should be planned.”

Other recommendations that the organisation would welcome over the next decade include encouraging the use of natural refrigerant. This focus could be aided with clearer harmonisation of different laws and safety rules for using products such as ammonia, as well as standards for other low GWP and lower flammability refrigerant.

The IIR stated, “A review of the current and future regulations and their practical application in all EU member countries regarding flammable and toxic refrigerants should be carried out. A rapid implementation of new standards across Europe would help phasing-down current HFCs.”

A focus on promoting the importance of training for the use of low GWP refrigerant – ideally as a mandatory requirement – should also be considered, the organisation said in its response to the F-Gas review.

Looking to the future

A decision as soon as possible on final F-Gas quotas between 2030 and 2036 was seen by the organisation as an upmost priority for the EU, which has committed to meet the global targets identified as part of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol.

The IIR said, “The objective is an 85 per cent phasedown on CO2 eq emissions in 2036 and the target for F-Gas is only 79 per cent in 2030. Such a reduction would not be a problem but the sooner it is decided, the better.”

“Some sectors are currently not concerned by the F-Gas regulation. The IIR is preparing an Informatory Note on refrigeration below -50 deg C. It will explain how we could possibly implement a phase-down in these sectors.”

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