HFCs and PFCs (F-gases) are greenhouse gases that can contribute significantly to the overall reduction of greenhouse gas emissions!
Keeping the option to select between all suitable fluids – as refrigerants, as blowing agents, as aerosol propellants, as fire fighting agents - is the best way of delivering future improvements in applications.
Innovation is not limited to non-HFC technologies. Newer HFC systems are delivering improved energy efficiency and containment across a range of applications. Equipment designers are taking advantage of these gains.
Keeping the options of the most appropriate fluid in the many HFC applications (refrigeration, air conditioning, insulation foams, medical aerosols, fire fighting) is the best way of delivering future performance improvements, including energy efficiency and better containment.
HFCs enable the cost-effective use of a wide range of diverse applications. Containment and maintaining the product choice, including HFCs, is the best way forward for both society and the environment.
Emphasis on containment is essential whatever refrigerant is chosen: to protect personal safety and to minimise risks such as high pressure, explosion, fire and toxicity.
HFCs can contribute to global warming if released, hydrocarbons are flammable, ammonia is toxic if released and carbon dioxide (CO2) operates at considerably high pressure (up to 150 bar). For refrigeration and air-conditioning systems, using any of these refrigerants, to operate effectively, safely and efficiently, emissions must be minimized
Containment has been shown to work. This has been clearly demonstrated in the Netherlands through the STEK scheme for containment and maintenance. From leakage rates of 30 per cent in the early 90s, emissions in the Netherlands are now at the average of 4.8 per cent, with 92 per cent of installations having no emissions in 1999.
The proposed European F-Gas Regulation will provide a comprehensive framework for the reporting of data on refrigerant emissions. Only then will the true picture of the responsible use and impact of HFCs become apparent, so that informed decisions can be made on the global environmental performances of the applications using them as compared to other alternatives.
F-gas applications actual impact on Climate Change.
Up to 90 % of the climate impact of applications like refrigeration or air conditioning results from CO2 emissions associated with the energy consumption during their operation. Energy efficiency improvements are the key element of sustainable refrigeration, irrespective of the refrigerant used.
A number of Life cycle assessments have been carried out on certain applications; these clearly demonstrateing the advantages of using HFCs in these applications.
HFCs have better energy efficiency than alternatives under most operating conditions of, for example: air conditioners, heat pumps, and commercial refrigeration applications. For district cooling and heat pump systems, for example, HFCs provide the right balance of properties, which result in major energy savings compared to other approaches.
Used responsibly, F-gases represent a unique opportunity to contribute significantly to the objectives of the Kyoto Protocol. It should not be missed!
The challenge of the E.U. F-gases Regulations is to achieve this opportunity by ensuring within the EU the harmonization of requirements on monitoring, containment, marketing and sustainable uses of fluorinated gases.
HFC emissions rise simply because they replace CFC and H-CFCs which had much more impact on the climate : in reality, HFCs contribute to a sharp decrease of the climate impact of refrigeration, air conditioning and other applications.
The F-Gas Regulation will enable informed decisions on future sustainable HFC use.
The F-Gas Regulation proposed by the European Commission puts the focus on containment and monitoring of emissions. It will provide a comprehensive framework for the reporting of data on refrigerant emissions to provide a true picture of impact of HFCs that will enable informed decisions to be made on their future use.
The emphasis on containment within this proposal, the subsequent amendments by the Parliament’s Environment Committee and by the Council of Ministers will secure responsible refrigeration, enable freedom of choice to use the most appropriate refrigerant whilst ensuring emissions, and hence their environmental impact, are significantly reduced.