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European F-Gas Regulation – The Anticipated Changes and its Impact on the EU HVAC Industry
F-gases, also known asfluorinated gases are categorised as synthetic gases, which are applied in a wide array of applications – such as in engineering, manufacturing and other industries. Since they are proven not to cause damage to the ozone layer, they are commonly used as alternatives for substances that can cause ozone exhaustion. Yet, the rising truth is: F-gases are strong greenhouse gases that possess a global warming outcome that is more than 20,000 times higher compared to carbon dioxide. Plus, the emissions of these gases are rising tremendously. Due to this, the European Union has come up with regulations to trim down the emissions in coming years.
F-gases Regulations Explained
In order to fight climate change, the European Union has taken action to regulate the control of F-gases. Regulations were initially approved in 2006 and eventually triumphed in alleviating the emissions of EU F-gases in 2010 and the years after.
The Union is taking the matter seriously and has come up with a new version of these regulations to replace the first one. This will take effect beginning January 1st 2015. The aim of the new version is to fortify the measures at hand and to launch several changes that will help cut down the EU F-gas emissions by more than 60% by 2030 relative to the 2014 levels.
What Are the Changes?
The latest regulation adopted on April 16th 2014, EU No 517/2014 on F-gases revokes the existing EU NO 842 from the year 2006. The changes are to take effect on the first day of 2015. The newest guidelines contain major provisions such as:
· Maintenance and service ban of the use of GWP or global warming potential refrigerants. However, using reclaimed and recycled gases will be permitted until 2030.
· Absolute provisions for containment, including trailers and trucks refrigerated units. Moreover, leak check thresholds shall be expressed in terms of carbon dioxide or CO2 equivalents in order to reduce the impact on the environment in a clearer manner.
· Phasing down of products that contain HFCs or hydro fluorocarbons, which immensely contributes to global warming.
· Putting a ban on certain equipment and products that contain HFCs.
· The equipment with pre-charged status can be put on the market as long as they are reported in the quota scheme.
Impact on the HVAC Industry
The new F-gas regulations come with a number of implications, which could lead to varying scenarios. For instance, the phase down of these gases has already alerted the European HVAC industry. As a result, they have developed technologies to make the use of low GWF refrigerants more feasible. This move makes them more prepared and confident that the EU regulation will not impact the industry negatively as the use of low GWP products has been made practical and viable.
Furthermore, the regulations are expected to cause a huge surprise to organisations that are exporting products to the European Union due to the bans and timelines that are expected to take place in the new F-gas regulation. With this, the EU market is anticipated to react soon in order to address all the concerns and answer all the possible questions that may arise as the implementation of the revised F-gas regulation begins.
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