Which refrigerants will dominate the European market by 2030?

A recent article published in the IJR presents the results of a methodology to estimate the evolution of the refrigerant demand by the refrigeration sector in the EU over the period to 2030. 

The methodology used by the authors of this International Journal of Refrigeration article is based on the most relevant current statistical data, refrigerant distribution and future technology trends. It also takes into account the phase-down schedule imposed by the EU F-gas Regulation to reduce the global production and consumption of HFCs. A projection of the percentage of the various refrigerants used is also presented in an annex to the IJR article. 


The phase-down of HFCs under the EU F-gas Regulation is being implemented through annual quantitative limits (quotas) on the placing on the EU market of HFCs by producers and importers. The results of the study show that under the assumptions made, the 2021 quota – which corresponds to a significant decrease – could not be met. However, by 2030, the refrigeration sector could meet the quota, provided that additional measures are taken to mitigate leakage from already installed equipment, especially in industrial and commercial applications. 


By that time, the use of natural refrigerants such as CO2, hydrocarbons and ammonia is likely to have increased; however, the share of HFCs or HFC/HFO mixtures in operation should still be significant (R32 or mixtures with similar behaviour, and R404A low flammability alternatives). Consequently, large-scale applications in industrial and commercial refrigeration are predicted to concentrate approximately half of the CO2eq emissions, while domestic refrigeration or mobile air conditioning, dominated by natural refrigerants and pure HFOs respectively, should account for negligible direct emissions.  


The study provides a tool for a closer market follow-up to facilitate decision-making by EU refrigeration industry stakeholders. However, the prediction methodology can also be useful when extended outside the EU to monitor the reductions achieved within the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, since the HFC phase-down imposed by the Kigali Amendment is similar in timing and magnitude to the EU F-gas Regulation, with a slight delay. In this way, it is expected that a significant number of countries would not meet the HFC freeze in 2024 without additional HFC restrictions.



Mota-Babiloni A., Makhnatch P. Predictions of European refrigerants place on the market following F-gas regulation restrictions 

This paper can be downloaded from the IIR’s FRIDOC database (free for IIR members).