UPDATE: Newly agreed EU F-Gas rules foresee HFC bans in commercial refrigeration as of 2022

By Ginta Vanaga, Feb 03, 2014, 14:10 3 minute reading

On 16 December 2013, the EU Institutions reached an informal agreement on the future F-Gas Regulation: an HFC phase-down is to be introduced - a gradually declining “cap” on bulk HFCs placed on the EU market expressed in CO2 equivalent - of 79% by 2030, as originally proposed by the European Commission a year ago, remains a key part of the regulation. HFC bans are foreseen for new plug-in and centralised commercial refrigeration as of 2022. 

The tentative deal came after 4 rounds of informal negotiations and will subsequently need to be formally adopted by the European Parliament (in a plenary vote tentatively scheduled in March 2014) and the Council (EU Member States).

EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said that the EU F-Gas deal “will deliver substantial emissions reductions and ensure innovation [… and] will give renewed political momentum to come to a global agreement on phasing down f-gases under the Montreal Protocol”.

The deal reflects a compromise between the distant positions of the Parliament on the one hand and Member States on the other. The final result is thus a regression from the June 2013 European Parliament Environment Committee vote; however, it is still slightly more ambitious than the original European Commission proposal.

HFC bans in commercial refrigeration as of 2022, but exemption for cascade systems

The agreement foresees some bans of f-gases in new equipment, with stronger signals for the commercial refrigeration sector. Acoording to various sources, the informally agreed bans include:
  • Hermetically sealed commercial refrigeration, that contain f-gases with GWP of 150 or more banned as of 2022
  • Centralised systems for commercial use with overall capacity of 40kW or more that contain f-gases with GWP of 150 or more banned as of 2022, except in the primary refrigerant circuit of cascade systems where fluorinated greenhouse gases with a GWP of less than 1500 may be used
With this agreement large supermarkets soon will be required to switch to climate friendly cooling systems which will give a boost to green jobs," said Bas Eickhout, Member of the European Parliament and Rapporteur of the new EU F-Gas Regulation, negotiating the file for the European Parliament.

Additional bans, but with higher GWP thresholds, are foreseen for new small split ACs, but also for servicing stationary refrigeration.

European Parliament’s Environment Committee endorses the compromise deal

On 30 January 2014, the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety of the European Parliament voted on the outcome of the negotiations on the future F-Gas Regulation and adopted the text with 56 votes in favour, 1 against and 3 abstentions. This paves the way for its endorsement in a plenary vote by the European Parliament and later by EU Member States.
An example of an alternative [to f-gases] is CO2, which is of course a greenhouse gas, but much less harmful than an f-gas. For example in supermarkets, in those refrigeration systems you can work with the CO2 alternative where no f-gases are needed. This Regulation is now forcing the supermarkets to go to those alternatives,” said Eickhout shortly ater the vote.

A short video of the vote and comments by Eickhout is available here:

Background & next steps

With a view to cutting f-gas emissions by two-thirds of today's levels by 2030, the European Commission issued a proposal in November 2012 to strengthen the existing EU F-Gas Regulation (2006).

The informal agreement reached among the EU institutions has to be still formally adopted by the European Parliament (in a plenary vote tentatively scheduled for March 2014) and the Council (EU Member States).

The new Regulation is expected to be published in the Official Journal of the EU in the summer of 2014, and enter into force in January 2015.


By Ginta Vanaga

Feb 03, 2014, 14:10

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