HFC news around the world

As HFC prices fall in the EU and the United Kingdom confirmed its intention to comply with the F-gas Regulation after Brexit, Australia decided to reduce its imports of HFCs and, in the United States, the State of New Jersey enacted a bill to regulate them.

U.K. continues to follow EU F-Gas Regulation after Brexit

January 31, 2020 was the day when the UK finally left the European Union, but this does not mean any immediate changes to the country’s regulations regarding fluorinated greenhouse gases (F-gases) and ozone depleting substances (ODS). During the transition period, which ends on 31 December 2020, both the EU F-Gas Regulation No 517/2014 and Regulation No 1005/2009 concerning ODS continue to be applicable in the United Kingdom. (1)

According to a draft legislation (2) published on the Brirtish Department of Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) website, starting in January 2021, most of the rules for F-gases and ODS will remain the same, in particular the HFC phase-down schedule (3). The UK has also reached an agreement with the EU to mutually recognise professional F-gas certifications, at least until the end of 2020, according to Refcom, the operator of the UK F-gas register. However, the UK will introduce its own F-gas quota system according to Defra. But they will still have to follow EU rules for any products they export to the EU market. (4)

EU: HFC prices continue to fall

According to the most recent official EU figures, compiled by German consultancy Öko-Recherche (5) from 84 companies in 11 EU member states, the third quarter of 2019 was characterised by HFC oversupply and further price declines. It follows consecutive declines in the first two quarters of 2019. However, HFC prices were still several times higher than before the implementation of the F-gas Regulation in January 2015. Strongest price reductions were seen for R404A, R410a and R134a, while some companies reported that customers were reluctant to build up stocks. (6)

Australia: HFC import quota drops 10%

On January 1 2020, legal restrictions on HFCs and HCFCs in Australia were tightened. As of January 1, 2020, Australia’s bulk HFC import limit for 2020-2021 was set at 7.25 million metric tons of CO2e — almost 10% less than 2018-2019. This schedule is more stringent than that set by the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, which Australia has ratified. (7)

In addition, Importation and manufacturing of all types of HCFC equipment is now banned. (8)

U.S.: New Jersey enacts a bill to regulate HFCs

On January 21, 2020, the Governor of New Jersey signed into law a bill (9) that prohibits the sale or installation of certain equipment containing HFCs in accordance with previously vacated federal regulations. New Jersey joins California, New York, Washington and Vermont among the U.S. states that have adopted the federal regulations, known as the Significant New Alternative Policy (SNAP) rules 20 and 21, administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA abandoned the rules following a 2017 U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that found they were not supported by federal law. Other states have plans to regulate HFCs, including Connecticut, Delaware and Maryland. New Jersey is also one of 24 states (plus Puerto Rico) making up the U.S. Climate Alliance, which has pledged to reduce HFC emissions. (10)

Among its provisions, the New Jersey bill applies to supermarket systems, remote condensing units and stand-alone units as of July 1, 2020, and to cold-storage warehouses as of January 1, 2023. (10)

US: low GWP R515B introduced as an alternative to R134a

Honeywell has given details of its new low-GWP refrigerant R515B replacement for R134a in new medium temperature commercial refrigeration, chillers and heat pumps. R515B is a non-flammable (A1) refrigerant blend of low-GWP HFO R1234ze (91.1%) and R227ea (8.9%), with a GWP of just 293. It is said to have zero glide and low discharge temperatures with an efficiency to match R134a.

R515B is designed for new equipment and is not a retrofit solution for existing systems. It has already been approved for use by Danfoss in its new Turbocor TG490 compressor for air- and water-cooled chiller applications. (11)

(1) https://www.gov.uk/guidance/fluorinated-gases-and-ozone-depleting-substances-how-to-do-business-in-the-transition-period

(2) http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukdsi/2019/9780111180433/contents

(3) https://www.gov.uk/guidance/fluorinated-gases-and-ozone-depleting-substances-how-to-do-business-from-1-january-2021

(4) https://www.ammonia21.com/articles/9355/u_k_to_follow_euandrsquo_s_f_gas_regs_post_brexit

(5) https://eurovent.eu/?q=articles/%C3%B6ko-recherche-monitoring-survey-refrigerant-prices-gen-89600

(6) https://www.coolingpost.com/world-news/euro-refrigerant-prices-show-further-declines/

(7) https://www.ammonia21.com/articles/9324/australiaandrsquo_s_hfc_import_quota_drops_10_hcfc_equipment_banned

(8) http://www.environment.gov.au/protection/ozone/publications/quick-facts-hcfc-gas-equipment

(9) https://www.ammonia21.com/articles/9348/new_jersey_enacts_bill_to_regulate_hfcs

(10) https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2018/Bills/A9999/5583_I1.HTM

(11) https://www.coolingpost.com/world-news/honeywell-announces-new-alternative-to-r134a-refrigerant/