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Refrigerant plant to close

Ineos Fluor is to close its R22 manufacturing operation in Runcorn at some point between November and the end of the year

The decision by the firm to demolish the plant is set to send a very clear signal to the industry that virgin HCFCs will be phased out in less than six months.

The sale and use of virgin R22 is banned after December 31 and Ineos has been running down sales of its Arcton 22 brand refrigerant into rac markets, in line with European regulations.

But the decision to close the 46-year old plant follows a dramatic decline in the market for PTFE, which is not covered by ODS restrictions and which was allowing Ineos to maintain production volumes at Runcorn. Ineos now believes the plant is not economically viable. The number of redundancies have yet to be finalised.

Ineos retains its four other operations at the Runcorn site, including its R125 plant and its HF plant, and it continues to produce its range of replacements for R22, such as R407A, as well as new generation refrigerants.