Refrigerant news: Refrigerant shortage

The refrigeration sector is facing a shortage of R134a, employed as a refrigerant or as a component used in the making of R404A. This is due to several factors: a lack of raw materials, the stopping of production of factories in Asia, low investments in a refrigerant due to be phased out in mobile air-conditioning, reduced producers stocks after the economic depression, particularly in the automobile sector, added to rising demand for HFCs in order to replace R22 since the ban on virgin HCFCs from January 1, 2010. R404A also suffers from the shortage in some of its other components: R143a and R125. Prices of R125 have gone up by 95% since the beginning of the year and a 30% rise is expected for most R134a products over the next few weeks, while some specialists claim that both R125 and refrigerants in the 400 series could go up by up to 10% a month. There is also a potentially catastrophic R22 shortage, according to industry sources, as only reclaimed R22 is allowed in the EU and the return of R22 refrigerant suitable for reuse is too low to meet the demand of the still most widely used refrigerant gas.