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Industry praised for ‘considerable progress’ in cutting HFC emissions

The government’s latest study into annual HFC emissions has revealed that the rac industry has made better than expected progress in cutting down on direct emissions.

The report by Defra has shown that while HFC emissions were actually higher than had previously been assumed, the indications are that they will fall at a steeper rate, This is due to a combination of controls being put in place to stop leakage, the impact of F-gas regulations and the anticipated increased take-up of lower-GWP alternatives to traditional HFCs.

Defra said: “The study indicates that considerable progress has been made to date in reducing HFC emissions. The most significant finding is that future significant emissions reductions are in prospect in the UK due to technological change, including increased efficiency as older units are replaced by more efficient ones and market penetration of lower/zero GWP refrigerants such as CO2, hydrocarbons and low-GWP HFCs.”

The results in the study, together with further domestic analysis, will be used to inform a review of the existing EU framework for controlling emissions that has recently got underway.

Under-secretary of state for the environment Lord Henley has praised the efforts of the industry so far. He said: “This research highlights the progress that has been made in reducing HFC greenhouse gas emissions. Industry has been hands-on, taking steps to reduce the use of these greenhouse gases, and technological advances mean that further reductions will be seen in coming years.”

In its report for Defra, consultant AEA said that better reporting from the rac industry in the wake of F-gas requirement had led to a revision in the emissions from the sector, but that information directly from end-users had led them to forecast a steeper decline to 

The report concluded that in 2010, the stationary rac industry will produce 5.69 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in HFC emissions. By 2025, this will have reduced to 3.01 million tonnes CO2e, at which point the rac industry will be responsible for 45 per cent of total HFC emissions in the UK. By 2050, this will have dropped to 1.77 million tonnes CO2e, thanks to leak reduction and lower-GWP alternatives.

However, in its recommendations, AEA called for the BRA and others to provide more detailed information on HFC use, which it said could be made compulsory if required. The firm said: “There is no centrally-collected data to determine whether the HFC was sold for servicing or for new equipment. One option would be voluntary or mandatory reporting of installed cooling capacity by refrigerant used and the use of HFC from the end-user subsectors. Another option would be for Defra/DECC to consider setting up data supply agreements with key F-gas data providers to help secure information.”

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