Global Warming Legislation

HFC Control - Helping to provide lower GWP solutions

Operating refrigeration and air conditioning systems creates a carbon footprint, both from direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions:

  1. Direct: the leakage of refrigerant gases into the atmosphere
  2. Indirect: CO2 released from system energy consumption.

A growing focus on the environmental impact of refrigerants is fuelling demand for refrigeration solutions that can provide satisfactory cooling performance with a lower impact on global warming. This is propelling environmentally friendly refrigeration solutions to the top of the corporate sustainability agenda. In addition, local legislation is increasingly targeting refrigerant gases with high Global Warming Potential (GWP). 

Many HFC refrigerants have medium to high GWP and therefore contribute to global warming if released into the atmosphere. Consequently, legislation and operational best practices have increasingly looked towards reducing the impact of these gases through a number of aspects including: 

  • the use of refrigerant gases with a lower GWP 
  • reducing leak rates 
  • correct end-of-life refrigerant recovery and waste management.     

A key example of legislation that impacts on the use of HFCs includes the EU f-gas legislation.   

BOC Support: Finding the Route that Suits You Best   

We can support you in meeting these goals and advise you on the options available:   

  • Convert your existing system to use lower GWP HFCs. We offer a number of lower GWP HFC solutions, such as the use of R407A instead of R404A  
  • Change your refrigeration or air conditioning equipment to run on very low GWP refrigerants, such as HFOs and natural refrigerants 
  • Continue to operate your existing system utilising our reclaim, recovery and waste management services. 

F-gas Regulation (EU) No 517/2014 Article 13 ‘Control of Use’: Jan 2020

Following the enforcement of the F-gas Regulation (EU) No 517/2014 across Europe in 2015, Article 13, which bans the use of virgin HFCs with a GWP of 2,500 or more for service or maintenance operations, will come into place from 1 January 2020.

The F-gas Regulation (EC) No 517/2014 Article 13 states:

(3) From 1 January 2020, the use of fluorinated greenhouse gases, with a global warming potential of 2500 or more, to service or maintain refrigeration equipment with a charge size of 40 tonnes of CO2 equivalent or more, shall be prohibited. 

This does not include military equipment or equipment intended for applications designed to cool products to temperatures below -50 OC; recycled refrigerants can also be used until 2030.

Below is a list of common refrigerants with a GWP >2,500 and a calculation giving the allowed threshold in kg.

Refrigerant GWP CO2 Tonnes Permitted Kg
R23 14800 40 2.7kg
R404A 3922 40 10kg
R422D 2729 40 14.5kg
R422A 3143 40 12.7kg
R434A 3245 40 12.3kg
R428A 3607 40 11kg
R507A 3985 40 10kg
R508B 13396 40 2.9kg

Download EU F-Gas Regulation Guidance - Information Sheet 28: The HFC Phase Down Process

Steps to take

From 1 January 2020 please ensure that when servicing or maintaining refrigeration and air conditioning systems, the system charge size is first checked, and the correct product or servicing regime is carried out.

Regulation (EU) No 517/2014, Article 13(3) provides that with effect from 1 January 2020; if the regulation is ignored and a company is found guilty of not complying to the new regulation, under the Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases (Amendment) Regulations 2018, Schedule 4, the maximum civil penalty for such an offence is £100,000.00.

BOC would recommend that your company considers how to actively accelerate a transition to a medium-low GWP replacement refrigerant. BOC would be very happy to assist you in this refrigerant selection and evaluation process, please contact us for further information.

EU MAC Directive

The European directive on mobile air conditioning systems (MACs) (Directive 2006/40/EC) aims at reducing emissions of HFC R134a from the air conditioning systems fitted to passenger cars.

In practical terms, the use of the gas that is currently used for filling MAC systems (HFC R134a) is not permitted for newly type-approved vehicles sold in the EU since January 2011, and all new vehicles sold from January 2017.

The EU has dictated that, instead, the impacted vehicles must use a refrigerant gas with a Global Warming Potential (GWP) of 150 or less. The directive only applies to new vehicles. All vehicles currently using R134a will be able to continue to use that gas.

Initially, automotive companies indicated that they would install a new refrigerant gas HFO R1234yf. R1234yf has a GWP of just 4, 99.7% lower than R134a. There are a number of alternative gases, including natural refrigerant R744, that continue to be considered by automotive companies.

However, due to exceptional circumstances and exclusively with respect to supply problems of HFO R1234yf, the European Commission delayed the regulation to apply from January 2013.

At present, the majority of newly constructed vehicles are able to use R134a as they were type-approved prior to the new regulations. However, the number of newly type-approved vehicles is increasing all the time, with the majority using HFO R1234yf.

BOC is able to supply HFO R1234yf or R744 for service and maintenance needs as necessary. 

Contact the refrigerant gases team