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Phase-down targets reliant on supermarkets

The take up of lower GWP refrigerants by supermarkets is vital if European HFC phase-down targets are to be met.

Speaking at RAC’s Retail Question Time event last week, consultant Ray Gluckman, who worked closely with officials involved with the EU F-Gas regulation, said: “At the moment we don’t have enough end users, maintenance or installation companies taking the necessary action to meet the targets set by the EU.”

Mr Gluckman pointed out that the availability of HFCs was facing a double whammy of cuts.

Pre-charged equipment is set to become part of the quota system in 2017, while 2018 sees a dramatic cut of 44 per cent. This is set to be followed in 2021 with a 60 per cent reduction.

With the widespread use of R404A in the supermarket sector, the industry is seen as key to meeting the forthcoming targets.

Mr Gluckman said: “We need an early switch from R404A, particularly in commercial refrigeration. In the UK this is happening, however we are arguably ahead of other countries – this phase-down is European wide . The early signs are that not enough end-users, maintenance and installation contractors are taking action

“The UK has no particular right to get gas if other countries are prepared to pay more for it. So we need these actions in every country and that is what worries me most.”

“We need to be retrofitting on a significant scale, in both the supermarket and the industrial refrigeration sector, with a combined effort on leakage reduction.”

Mr Gluckman is working with European manufacturers’ association EPEE, who have identfified three areas to tackle the subject.

Firstly, the adoption of new equipment and the further development of technology that allows a reduced refrigerant charge, together with a further focus on tightening leakage management, while the reclaim market should be further evolved to allow greater usage.

Read the full report in January issue of RAC magazine.

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