The regulation defines a leakage detection system as:
"A calibrated mechanical, electrical or electronic device for detecting leakage of fluorinated greenhouse gases which, on detection alerts the operator".
The regulation is not more specific about the type of leak detection that would be considered satisfactory. It is believed that two main types of system could be considered. These are:
The best type of system will be very site-specific. If a plant is located in an external and windy location it is likely that the sniffer type devices will prove ineffective and indirect system is more appropriate. Conversely, if a plant is completely contained within an engine room then sniffer detection could be the most effective.
The regulation specifies that the leak detection systems installed on large systems must be checked at least once every 12 months to ensure proper functioning. The check must be made by someone with an appropriate qualification.
Where a permanent automatic leak detection system is fitted the frequency of the regular leak checks that are mandated by the regulation are halved, subject to a minimum frequency of every 12 months. This means that for systems with over 300 kg the leak check frequency is every 6 months rather than every 3 months. Similarly if a leak detection system is fitted on a small plant between 30 and 300 kg then the leak testing frequency will be every 12 months instead of every 6 months.
The regulation specifies that personnel carrying out leak detection device testing must be suitably qualified. At this stage the qualifications required to carry out this task are still unclear. The Commission is trying to agree a framework that will help specify minimum requirements. These will need to be transposed into national legislation in each Member State of the EU. Further information about qualifications will be posted on the Figaroo website as soon as possible.
The requirement for fitting automatic leak detection systems on plants above 300 kg begins in July 2007.