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Fluorinated greenhouse gases (f-gases) are a group of chemicals containing fluorine. The most common f-gases in use within Europe are HFCs, such as R134a, R404A and R410A. These gases have a number of applications, the largest being as a refrigerant.
HFCs are ozone friendly, energy efficient refrigerants that are generally of low toxicity and non-flammable. However f-gases have a relatively high GWP, and thus contribute to global warming when released to the atmosphere.
The European Union is aiming to reduce the environmental impact of fluorinated gases via regulation. The first f-gas regulation EC 842/2006 focused on reducing emissions mostly by preventing leaks in systems, and in the responsible end-of-life recovery and destruction of gases.
F-Gas Regulations Update
The EU is currently drafting an updated version of the f-gas regulations. This regulation is likely to come into force from January 2015.
The next version of the f-gas regulation will have a wider remit. The changes include:
An increased need for leak checks, leak detection systems, and associated record-keeping
Restrictions on the placing on the market (bans) of certain refrigeration and air conditioning equipment, foams and propellants using f-gases
Controls on f-gases pre-charged within new equipment
A reduction on the placing on the market of f-gases via a cap, and phase down on the supply of HFCs.
A summary of the structure of the current and new f-gas regulations is detailed below:
|Principle||Current F-Gas Regulation||New F-Gas Regulation|
|Containment: Prevention of Emissions (Article 2)||Yes||Yes & new additions|
|Containment: Leak Checks & Leak Detection Systems (Articles 3 & 4)||Yes||Yes & new additions|
|Containment: Record Keeping (Article 5)||Yes||Yes|
|Recovery (Article 7)||Yes||Yes|
|Training & Certification (Article 8)||Yes||Yes & evaluation process|
|Restrictions on Placing on the Market (Article 9)||Yes (some)||Yes - increased number|
|Labelling (Article 10)||Yes||Yes & new additions|
|Control of Use (Article 11)||Yes - SF6 use bans||Yes - new service & maintenance bans|
|Pre-Charging of Equipment (Article 12)||Yes - new|
|Reduction on the Placing on the Market of HFCs (Articles 13-16)||Yes - new|
|Reporting (Article 17)||Yes||Yes|
Linde will provide a more detailed analysis of the impact of f-gas regulations over the coming months.