Transition to lower GWP refrigerants

Learn about GWP here

The Global Warming Potential (GWP) of a refrigerant is its global warming impact relative to the impact of the same quantity of carbon dioxide over a 100 year period. All effects beyond 100 years are disregarded. HFOs and HCFO have ultra-low GWPs, most with GWPs (100 year) similar to CO2.

As lower GWP fluorocarbon refrigerants are increasingly used in the EU the average GWP for all HFCs, HFOs and HCFOs placed on the EU market decreases.

The reducing F-gas HFC cap, the increasing adoption of lower GWP HFCs, HFC/HFO blends and ultra-low GWP HFO/HCFOs has resulted in a 36% reduction in average GWP from about 2062 in 2014 to 1319 in 2018 for total reported supply to the EU market.

In 2018 HFOs and HCFOs accounted for about 20% of the reported total sales in metric tonnes of all HFCs, HFOs and HCFOs.  The switch to lower GWP HFCs is also occurring, HFC-32 is an increasing share of the total HFCs/HFOs supplied with a marked increase for 2018 in both metric tonnes and percentage share.

By 2030 the HFC cap is expected to decrease to 21% of the 2015 cap. To meet market demand the average GWP will continue to fall in order to maintain the required metric tonnes for use as refrigerants and for other applications. The increasing adoption of lower GWP HFC/HFO blends will support this transition, with non-flammable and low GWP mildly flammable refrigerants being available. 

The charts show some lower GWP HFCs, HFC/HFO blends and HFOs that are available as alternatives to the widely used HFCs: R-404A, R-410A and R-134a.  For some R-404A applications, the F-Gas Regulation has three relevant GWP limits <2500, <1500 and <150; for R-410A a relevant GWP limit is <750 for single split air-conditioning; and for R-134a alternatives, the <150 GWP limit. The flammability classifications are shown (A1 non flammable or A2L mildly flammable)