EU F-Gas review: feedbacks on the preliminary findings of the evaluation study
The preliminary evaluation report submitted in May at the request of the European Commission by Öko-Recherche and Ricardo raised some questions.
As part of the review of the F-Gas regulation, the European Commission had commissioned a study from Öko-Recherche, Öko-Institut, and Ricardo.
In preparation for a workshop for parties involved in the F-Gas review, a briefing note was issued at the beginning of May. The document presents the objectives of F-Gaz and those of its revision.
The document recalls the objectives of the F-Gas regulation and indicates that results have already been obtained. However, the focus is on the results that remain to be achieved by 2030. Models indicate that the initial climate targets may not be fully met. In addition, the document points out that the use of certain high-GWP fluorinated gases could be avoided in some sectors.
The briefing note emphasises the need to transition to more environmentally friendly refrigerants. The F-gas regulation has already allowed a reduction in HFC supply of 37% in tonnes between 2015 and 2019. This is explained by the reduction in the use of “key” HFCs, such as R134a, R404A or R410A.
The use of alternative refrigerants has therefore increased: these are natural refrigerants such as CO2 or hydrocarbons, lower GWP HFCs such as R32 or mixtures containing HFCs and unsaturated HFCs (HFOs). For example, R32 has become widely used in split air-conditioning systems, replacing R410A.
According to the report, forward modelling indicates that the original climate goals set for 2030 by the F-gas Regulation may not be fully reached. Indeed, certain safety standards make it difficult to continue the transition to alternative refrigerants (hydrocarbons in particular). Lack of staff training or illegal imports of HFCs are also a problem.
The report also recalls the importance of the fight against leaks in refrigeration systems, as well as the need to comply with the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, while encouraging sustainable development and technological innovation that would open up new perspectives for low-GWP refrigerants.
In order to achieve the objectives set for 2030, the report proposes a maximum substitution scenario (page 31). This has been the subject of a number of criticisms in recent weeks.
The Eurovent association, in particular, considers this modeling unrealistic as it implies the use of hydrocarbons for 90% of large air conditioners and small heat pumps from 2025, and from 2030 for all large split air conditioners and VRFs. According to Eurovent, the current penetration of non-fluorinated refrigerants does not make this scenario credible. Regulatory barriers are also recalled by Eurovent. EPEE, AREA, EHPA or ASERCOM are also among the associations that have expressed doubts about these projections.
The Eurovent press release is available here.