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Increasing issues relating to refrigerants following F Gas regulation impact

13 February 2018

Graphic provided by Mitsubishi Electric
Graphic provided by Mitsubishi Electric

FMs in charge of facilities with plant and equipment that use refrigerant gases with a high global warming potential (GWP) face a number of issues in the near future.

These are resulting from the various updates to the F Gas regulations in recent years, which aims to improve the environmental sustainability of cooling systems around Europe.

One example is the rise in the price of R410A, which is commonly used throughout the cooling and refrigeration sector, but is now in short supply following the change in regulations.

It is also becoming much more expensive, with sources reporting that prices risen by an average of around 30% each month since last autumn.

A further level of complexity within the use of refrigerant gases after an amendment to the Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases regulations was laid before Parliament at the end of last month.

It is supported by the cooling industry and is expected to be approved by MPs with the result that from 1 April this year those found to be in contravention could face fines of up to £200,000.

These would be levied for those committing offences including the deliberate release of F gases to the atmosphere or failing to comply with enforcement notices.

Contraventions deemed to be less serious will still be eligible for fines of up to £100,000.

Even failure to correctly label equipment or not registering and verifying quota usage will result in fines of up to £50,000, with fines of £10,000 possible for those missing relevant deadlines.

Industry suppliers are now advising the use of refrigerants with lower GWP ratings, such as R32 or CO2.

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