When the ban on servicing and maintaining R22 gas in refrigeration systems came into effect on 01 January 2015 the EU began a process of phasing out of use, the most harmful of F-Gases. The EU has set out the above timeline for further phasing down of harmful F-Gases between 2015 and 2030.
The F-Gases being phased down are hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). Whilst HFCs don’t damage the ozone layer, they do contribute to global warming – a topical global news item after the Paris Agreement and subsequent accords. 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 in the very high GWP group becoming the first to be phased out of use. Initially the service ban date will apply to the use of virgin gases, however a complete service ban will follow, 10 years hence.
Recycled and reclaimed refrigerant
Recycled or reclaimed F-Gas can be utilised after the virgin service ban date, to keep existing systems operational, before complete service bans come into effect. Recycled or reclaimed F-Gas can be utilised as long as it is recovered from refrigeration equipment and is used in servicing or maintaining existing equipment.
Future F-Gas ban dates
|GWP group||GWP range||Refrigerant||Service ban date (virgin)||Service ban date (recycled/reclaimed)|
|Very high||3,985||HFC R507||January 2020 *||January 2030 *|
|3,922||HFC R404A||January 2020 *||January 2030 *|
|3,245||HFC R434A||January 2020 *||January 2030 *|
|2,725||HFC R422D||January 2020 *||January 2030 *|
|High||2,346||HFC R417A||to be decided|
|2,107||HFC R407A||to be decided|
|2,088||HFC R410A||to be decided|
|1,825||HFC R407F||to be decided|
|1,774||HFC R407C||to be decided|
|1,430||HFC R134A||to be decided|
|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
This means that 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 look on the other end of the scale – in consultation with the table above and with your F-Gas trained service engineer.
Whilst no concrete dates are set for future F-Gas bans, gases in the high GWP group are seeing increases in price. Thus, moving air conditioning servicers and installers towards F-Gases in the moderate, low and ultra-low categories, to future-proof operations.
Accelerated Capital Allowances (ACAs)
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;
- refrigeration plant;
- medical devices.
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).
VIDEO: EU F-Gas phase down explained in full
Additional amendments to F-Gas regulations (EU No. 517/2014)
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.
Talk to Thermodial about the EU F-Gas phase down and the impact on your F-Gas equipment.