Key criteria in F Gas Review negotiations
The F-Gs debate continues to leave industry with uncertainty about the future – will there be more bans? Will some refrigerants no longer be available? What alternatives should be specified to replace R22? Will HFC recycled refrigerant be available? Will pre-charged air conditioning equipment be banned? Will operatives need to be re-trained?
ACRIB is emphasising to UK Defra officials and MEPs that the UK refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump industries have made considerable achievements in reducing emissions already. UK industry is working to achieve containment of all refrigerants and needs to make a choice of refrigerants taking into account energy efficiency, safety, reliability, availability of technology and affordability. ACRIB continues to present this important message and to emphasise the importance of our industry to the UK economy – together, the nine trade associations and institutes of ACRIB represent around 50,000 jobs in over 15,000 businesses in the UK.
Recently ACRIB held an informal meeting with DEFRA for an update. There are three major issues under debate in Europe:
1. Ban on pre-charging
An alternative proposal recommends a quota allocation for importers or producers of pre-charged equipment instead, although the mechanism for allocating quotas is not clear. This will help the Commission to monitor more precisely refrigerant use against the phase-down schedule. ACRIB have emphasised the need for a much stronger mechanism to control the sale of HFC refrigerant and equipment containing HFC refrigerant to uncertified companies or individuals, to ensure installation competence.
2. Phase down
Phase down start point and steps are not yet resolved. ACRIB continues to remind legislators of the need to establish a market for reuse of recycled or recovered refrigerant and that phase-down does not adversely affect the growing heat pump market or introduce barriers for the change out of R22.
3. Ban on service and maintenance
Some parties are calling for a ban on service and maintenance of all equipment containing HFCs from 2020. This is not acceptable, as there are many applications and sectors that are still reliant on HFC refrigerant from the point of view of safety, reliability, energy efficiency and availability of alternatives. Also, it is important to prevent the premature obsolescence of recently installed equipment, and to allow for a timely, safe, efficient and affordable move to alternative solutions.
We expect more detailed technical debate as the Parliament and Commission work towards a final version of the Regulation over the next year. Not all comments already made by Member States have been considered yet. Nothing is expected to be finalised much before the end of this year – so it is all still to play for and ACRIB’s messages about energy efficiency, enforcement and compliance must not be lost in the detailed negotiations.