In a significant development for the European refrigeration, air conditioning, and heat pump industry, the European Council has officially voted in favour of the F-gas revision proposals. This move follows the recent adoption of these proposals by the European Parliament, marking a pivotal moment in the region’s efforts to combat climate change.
The F-gas regulation, designed to address the issue of high global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants, is set to bring about profound changes in the industry. With the European Council’s vote, the adoption procedure is now closed, and the regulation will soon be published in the EU’s Official Journal. It is expected to enter into force just 20 days after publication.
Industry Concerns Raised:
While the adoption of the F-gas revision is a significant step forward, it hasn’t come without concerns. The European Partnership for Energy and the Environment (EPEE), representing manufacturers and associations in the industry, has expressed reservations regarding certain aspects of the revision.
EPEE has highlighted the need for clearer definitions in the revised regulation and emphasised the importance of giving due consideration to the better regulation agenda and energy efficiency principles. Nevertheless, they remain committed to implementing the new regulation to achieve further reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
Russell Patten, EPEE’s Director General, stated, “Our aim is always to support Europe’s action on climate change with highly efficient products that EU citizens rely on every day.”
One of the challenges highlighted by EPEE is the potential for varying rules across different EU member states. These discrepancies could complicate the implementation efforts aimed at reducing emissions and promoting the use of climate-friendly technologies. Patten emphasised the importance of proper coordination with the industry to ensure that the ambitious sustainability goals set by the EU become a reality rather than just a dream. Improved impact assessments and on-time study reports for future reviews have been proposed to help the industry plan effectively and align with the EU’s critical sustainability objectives.
Key Provisions of the F-Gas Revision:
Under the newly adopted rules: Phasing Out HFCs: The consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) will be completely phased out by 2050. This is a significant step toward reducing potent greenhouse gases in the EU.
Market Bans: The regulation introduces a full ban on placing products and equipment containing HFCs on the market. This ban will come into effect at different times for various categories, with small monobloc heat pumps and air conditioning (<12kW) facing a 2032 deadline and split air conditioning and heat pumps set for 2035. Earlier deadlines apply to specific types of split systems with higher GWP.
Regular Review: The impacts and effects of the regulation will be reviewed by the Commission no later than 1 January 2030. This assessment will include an evaluation of cost-effective, technically feasible, and sufficiently available alternatives to replace F-gases.
Feasibility Evaluation: By 2040, the Commission will evaluate the feasibility of the 2050 phase-out date for HFC consumption and the necessity of HFCs in sectors where they are still used. This assessment will consider technological developments and the availability of alternatives.
The adoption of the F-gas revision marks a significant step forward in the EU’s commitment to environmental sustainability and the fight against climate change. It underscores the importance of transitioning toward climate-friendly technologies and reducing the use of high GWP refrigerants in the European Union. Promoting chillers such as the low GWP Chillers, Newsome, with its expertise in industrial temperature control solutions, remains at the forefront of supporting these crucial initiatives in the UK.