Companies stockpiling HFCs before EU phase-down, EEA report reveals

By team, Dec 18, 2015, 12:44 2 minute reading

Companies in Europe are stockpiling HFCs before a planned EU-wide phase-down, reveals a new report from the European Environment Agency (EEA). Bulk imports of fluorinated gases (f-gases) increased by 90% between 2013 and 2014 compared to the previous 12 months.

The ‘Fluorinated greenhouse gases 2014’ report, published by the European Environment Agency (EEA) on 9 December, reveals that EU production of f-gases fell in 2014. Production (measured in tonnes) recorded a year-on-year decline of 15% (11% in terms of CO2e), continuing a trend of continuous decline since 2011.

However, bulk imports of f-gases increased by 90% between 2013 and 2014 compared to the previous reporting period. 2014 also saw the amount of HFCs being placed on the market increase by 61%. The EEA primarily attributes the dramatic surge in bulk imports to a 95% increase in HFC imports, resulting from company stockpiling of HFCs in the European Union ahead of a planned phase-down.

F-gases – including HFCs – were introduced as substitutes for ozone-depleting substances like CFCs across many sectors. But HFCs are nevertheless classed as greenhouse gases under the Kyoto Protocol and contribute significantly to climate change, with a global warming potential thousands of times higher than that of carbon dioxide. Indeed, the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) predicts that reduced use of HFCs could prevent 90-146 billion tonnes of CO2-equivalent emissions by 2050.

Natural refrigerants: a market-ready alternative

The new EU F-gas Regulation – which aims to reduce f-gas emissions by two thirds (compared to average levels from 2009 to 2012) by 2030 and entered into force on 1 January 2015 – introduced a quota system for HFCs, introducing quota allocations for placing HFCs on the market from this year onwards and obliging companies to report their activities involving f-gases.

The effects of the HFC phase-down are set to become more significant within the next three years – an initial reduction to HFC quotas of 37% in 2018 is expected to trigger increases in the cost of HFCs. Moreover, as of 2017, the phase-down needs to incorporate HFCs that are pre-charged in equipment, which will further influence the availability and cost of fluorinated refrigerants. In view of these developments, the role of natural refrigerants as energy- efficient, climate-friendly and safe alternatives to HFCs is becoming increasingly significant.


By team (@r744)

Dec 18, 2015, 12:44

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