Following on from the R22 F-Gas ban, between 2015 and 2030, the EU has set out the above timeline for phasing down the use of the most harmful F-Gases.
The F-Gases being phased down are HFCs. Whilst HFCs don’t damage the ozone layer, they do contribute to global warming – a topical global news item after the recent Paris Agreement. As a result, the EU has grouped these HFC F-Gases by their global warming potential (GWP) – as shown in the table below – with the F-Gases with the highest GWP being the first to go. Initially the service ban date will apply to the use of virgin gases, however a complete service ban will follow, 10 years hence.
What does this mean for me?
With dates now firmly set and cards firmly marked, F-Gases in the very high GWP group will become more, scarce, increase in price and as a result, prove more difficult to source and locate spare unit parts.
With it not being wise to install new systems with F-Gases in the very high GWP group or carry out substantial modifications, it is advisable to choose a gas in consultation with the table below and your F-Gas trained service engineer.
Accelerated Capital Allowances (ACAs) can help meet the cost of new equipment, should it be desired. The scheme operates by writing-off up to 100% of the cost of energy efficient equipment, before calculating tax on profits. Normally, this cost would be written-off over an eight-year period, resulting in a much poorer saving.
Some of the equipment affected by this phase down include: air conditioning, chillers, refrigeration plant and medical devices.
Future F-Gas ban dates
|GWP Group||GWP Range||Refrigerant||Service ban date (virgin)|
|Very high||3,985||HFC R507||January 2020 *|
|3,922||HFC R404A||January 2020 *|
|3,245||HFC R434A||January 2020 *|
|2,725||HFC R422D||January 2020 *|
|High||2,346||HFC R417A||January 2022|
|2,107||HFC R407A||January 2022|
|2,088||HFC R410A||January 2022|
|1,825||HFC R407F||January 2022|
|1,774||HFC R407C||January 2022|
|1,430||HFC R134A||No ban i.e. < 1,500 GWP|
|Moderate||675||R32 (HFO blends)||No ban|
|Low||200 to 10||None in common use||No ban|
|Ultra-low||5||HC R600A (isobutane)||No ban|
|5||HC R290 (propane)||No ban|
|1||R744 CO2 (carbon dioxide)||No ban|
|0||R717 (ammonia)||No ban|
* Only applies to systems of 40 tonnes of CO2 equivalent or greater
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) enforce EU F-Gas laws in Ireland. The EPA is an independent public body with the power to issue fines not exceeding € 12,697,380 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years or, at the discretion of the courts – for F-Gases regulation breaches under the EPA Act (1992).
EU F-Gas phase down explained in full
Summary of other recent changes to F-Gas regulations
- When a leakage is detected, it is now an obligation to have it repaired without undue delay, as opposed to when it was “technically feasible” under previous regulations;
- Contractors are now obliged to keep records for 5 years (along with users);
- Additional information will be required on F-Gas equipment labels from 2017 including the GWP rating of the F-Gas contained.