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EPEE calls for ‘phase-down’ not ‘phase-out’ for forthcoming F-Gas review

An HFC phase-down, rather than phase out, would be a better outcome for the forthcoming F-Gas review,

The move is claimed to be both beneficial for business and the environment, including meeting the forthcoming 20-20-20 targets.

Speaking at the European Partnership for Energy and the Environment’s (EPEE) Annual General Assembly 2011, Jorge Dieguez of EPEE member Du Pont Chemicals and Flouroproducts added that a phase-down would stop the need for regulators needing other forms of monitoring and control, and therefore complicating such restrictive legislation.

“This approach would also encourage companies to develop alternatives, by encouraging technological developments, which would therefore further reduce emissions.”

Mr Dieqguez also called for a single solution that could be applied globally, which would further enhance the benefits of a phase down as there would be more co-ordination between the supply chains across continents. “However, this approach is hard to turn into global policy.”

Also speaking at the event was Darcy Nicholle of United Technologies, who stated that the F-Gas debate suffers from tunnel vision.

“Focusing solely on product manufacturers is not going to get the required results regarding emission reductions. There needs to be a spotlight on buildings and there energy usage. This is the one single biggest area of emissions, and it is yet to be wholly addressed.”

The assumed recommendations of the revised F-Gas Regulation – improve containment, followed by phase down, phase out – leaves no flexibility for development. Banning whole ranges of existing equipment is not a cost effective option, and is also a burden in terms of the environmental aspects of such a move.”

Two years after the entering into force of the F-Gas Regulation, countries that have implemented its measures such as France, Germany, Hungary, Sweden and the UK report a general reduction of leakage rates and thus of direct emissions due to more frequent leakage checks and service as well as improved technicians’ skills.

Andrea Voight, general director, European Partnership for Energy and the Environment members believe that a phase-down of HFCs is the right path to follow as it would give flexibility to manufacturers to make the best choice of refrigerants in view of energy efficiency, emission reduction, cost effectiveness, health and safety constrains, affordability and total life cycle costs.

Choosing the best refrigerant for an application depends on these variables and considerations - a ban on the use of HFCs in certain applications would risk pushing users to use refrigerants which are not well adapted to the application, potentially leading to increased safety concerns and reduced energy efficiency – thereby jeopardising the EU’s 20-20-20 targets.

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