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Refrigerant suppliers warn industry to plan low GWP future now

The European cooling industry needs to make plans to move quickly to lower GWPs, as the cuts in HFC quota envisaged by the F-Gas regulations will make their impact sooner than many people expect.

That was the message from companies at Chillventa, Europe’s biggest cooling exhibition.

Refrigerant suppliers warned that it was important to make plans to move away from the higher-GWP refrigerants such as R404A, as significant cuts in HFC quota will have an impact as soon as 2017.

They also stressed that end-users would not be able to make the necessary GWP cuts with new-build systems alone, but rather that retrofitting with low-GWP refrigerants would be necessary.

But equipment suppliers provided some good news, saying that HFO blends had performed so well in testing that they can often perform as ‘real drop-in’ replacements – and in a number of cases not even requiring a change in oil type.

DuPont European business and market manager John McMenamin warned that decisions need to be made sooner rather than later: “The reality is that a large proportion of the installed base will need to be retrofitted to lower-GWP refrigerants to meet the 2017 and 2018 required reductions and those beyond.

This means the market will have a very real, large and critical need for lower-GWP solutions that offer fast, easy and cost-effective retrofits.”

He stressed that as soon as 2017, the industry would feel the impact: “This is a critical date as it is the year where over 17m tonnes of CO2 equivalent that is currently contained in imported precharged equipment must fit under the existing cap.

In 2017 all precharged equipment coming into the EU must use refrigerant purchased from existing quota holders, so this is in effect an extra and earlier quota reduction.”

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