Refrigerant gas emissions and how to reduce them efficiently: Caroline X
The consensus to reduce emissions leads to an increase in repair costs of refrigeration appliances, but this will remain inefficient if the leak is not easily, precisely and rapidly located during the reparation activity.
Once CFC coolants, which are highly damaging to the ozone layer, have been largely eliminated from use, the next generation of refrigerant gases (knows as F-gases, mostly HFCs), has a global warming potential thousands of times more than does carbon dioxide, the standard greenhouse gas.
According to the Environmental Investigation Agency, they are the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions. If the global use of HFCs continues to grow at the current rate, their contribution to the greenhouse effect will increase up to 10 percent of that of the main greenhouse gas CO2 in 2050, adding 0.5 degrees Celsius to the global temperatures by this century.
These gases are used all around the globe in refrigeration systems for storage, production or industrial purposes. Authorities are well aware of the danger F-Gas represent and are already taking action. Worldwide, the Kigali Amendment of 2016 to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer was ratified by 65 countries. In Europe, Regulation of the European Parliament and the Council of April 2014 on fluorinated greenhouse gases looks for progressively banning the use of equipment containing HFCs in specific sectors and undertake the necessary measures to adopt lower GWP alternatives.
Specifically, two types of measure have been put on the table and are already increasing the cost of gas and equipment repairs: a tax on fluorinated gases (which each member country is responsible for imposing) and the European Regulation F-Gas’s measures, which allocates a maximum quota of gas that each manufacturer can sell. In addition, this will be reduced to 21% of the total in 2035. As an example, and according to a specialized website, the cost of a reparation of variable flow type refrigerant (VRF) that can easily contain more than 40kg of R410A, involves a cost of approximately 5,800€.