F-Gases (or fluorinated gases) are one of the main causes of the global greenhouse effect. Reducing F-Gas emissions is one of the objectives that the European Commission has been trying to achieve for several years, via the introduction of specific regulations.
The F-Gas regulations, which govern its correct use, collection methods and distribution, are due to undergo a review. This has become necessary as a result of the current critical situation of the earth’s atmosphere, which is choked with pollutants, leading to catastrophic climate change.
The regulations review: key points
Zerosottozero, the well-known portal dedicated to the refrigeration sector, has published an interesting article (view it via this link) highlighting the new objectives that the review of the F-Gas regulations is designed to achieve, currently under discussion by the European Commission.
The international scenario has changed considerably since 2012, the year of the first regulations, which has led to the need for an update of the objectives, taking into account the new parameters. This was stated by Bente Tranholm-Schwarz, Deputy Head of Unit, European Commission Directorate-General for Climate Action.
The intention is to reach an increasingly stringent Green Deal, which will result in the decarbonisation of the European economy by 2050. The withdrawal of F-Gases therefore, will be even more targeted and rigorous, so as to ensure a reduction in pollutant agents in the atmosphere, within as short a time as possible.
In order to make the review of the F-Gas regulations as relevant and efficient as possible, there are some fundamental aspects to be considered:
- One of the main objectives is to reduce emissions by 2030 and bring them down to 50-55% (rather than 40% as stipulated in the current regulations). This will undoubtedly be a challenging task, but achievable thanks to close collaboration between the various industrial sectors;
- During the regulations review, new scientific studies analysing the impact of F-Gas molecules on the earth’s atmosphere and Kigali’s amendment, which did not exist in 2012, must be considered;
- The regulations must be reworked in accordance with new refrigeration technologies developed over recent years. In particular, it is important to bear in mind the latest synthetic molecules created in the laboratory and the extended geographical area that these technological applications have made it possible to reach.
It soon becomes clear how these aspects can affect the regulations. The Commission has therefore decided to take the time necessary to formulate new efficient and enforceable regulations, promising to announce them by the end of 2021.
Prudent purchases in the near future
News of the review of the F-Gas regulations has brought much doubt and uncertainty. The possible outcome (for both private individuals and businesses) is to find themselves stuck with refrigeration systems which no longer comply to regulations. A long term perspective is required in order to invest in such technologies during this particularly difficult period.
Before proceeding to purchase, it is advisable to assess all the possible risks and issues. If it becomes necessary to buy a refrigeration system (or device that uses one), it is better to focus on the new technologies (less risk of being caught out by the regulations review).
It is also important to pay particular attention to the type of F-Gas used. The most common ones could be subject to further restrictions, making obtaining them more complex and no longer viable. A good piece of advice is to focus as far as possible on solutions featuring a reduced environmental, legislative and economic impact.
Translated by Joanne Beckwith