F-Gas: How We Can Meet Future Environmental Requirements
A recent report monitoring EU refrigerant prices shows high A1 GWP (Global Warming Potential) refrigerants rapidly increasing, whereas the new lower GWP A2L prices are steady.
F-Gas Regulations: (EU) No 517/2014
F-gases, including HFCs, are used as refrigerants in refrigeration and air-conditioning systems. In 2015, due to their significant GWP and contribution to climate change, the F-Gas regulation introduced a phased reduction of GWP every 3 years to control high-GWP refrigerants. These cuts in GWP put pressure on refrigerant prices in 2017, resulting in a steep rise. However, these prices began to fall again after the introduction of refrigerants with a modest cut in GWP, such as R448A and R449A. Reclaimed refrigerant for reselling into the marketplace also became more commonplace. In Europe, refrigerant prices have recently risen sharply as repeated cuts on GWP availability occur. There is a further significant cut in refrigerant GWP due on 01/01/2024, further squeezing availability and putting pressure on supply and high GWP refrigerant price.
The UK now has similar independent regulations after Brexit. The availability in the refrigerant GWP is a little better in the UK, and prices are lower. However, we currently have the same cuts in refrigerant GWP, so the increases in price in Europe will inevitably follow through here in the UK.
The European and UK F-Gas regulations are both currently under review, and it is anticipated that there will be a significant acceleration of the GWP phase-down. This will likely introduce a further cut in refrigerant GWP on 01/01/24 both here and in Europe, further pressure on prices.
Unlike back in 2017/18, there are no accessible alternatives that will prevent the price of high GWP refrigerant from increasing.
To future-proof your systems, it’s essential to focus on reducing or eliminating high global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants.
Here are some strategies to future-proof refrigeration systems:
- Transition to Low-GWP Refrigerants: Consider replacing high-GWP refrigerants with low-GWP alternatives like R454C or R455A. These options have a minimal environmental impact and comply with regulations to reduce F-gas emissions.
- Choose an energy-efficient option: Consider the overall energy consumption of the product over its lifetime. Energy savings save costs and reduce emissions, allowing for a payback period for new installations.
- Stay Updated on Regulations: Stay informed about evolving F-gas regulations and phase-outs. Keeping up with these regulations will help you plan for the future and ensure compliance.
- Consider Long-Term Costs: When evaluating HVAC options, consider not only the upfront costs but also the long-term expenses associated with maintenance, refrigerant availability, and compliance with regulations. Choosing sustainable solutions may have higher initial costs but lead to significant savings over the system’s lifetime.