The European climate and refrigeration association Eurovent has questioned the validity of a European Commission (EC) report on the uptake and adoption of hydrocarbon-based refrigerants.
The report, titled Evaluation and impact assessment for amending Regulation (EU) No 517/2014 on fluorinated greenhouse gases – which was published on 6 May 2021 – explores the data, issues and solutions relating to reducing the emissions and use of fluorinated gases (F-gases), which contribute significantly to global warming.
In the report, which was produced with assistance from independent German research institute Öko-Recherche, “maximum substitution” scenarios assume environmentally friendly hydrocarbon (HC) refrigerants being used in significant quantities.
In the small heat pump sector, for example, HCs are expected to account for 90 per cent of the market by 2025. In large split air conditioners and variable refrigerant flow (VRF) systems, HC-based solutions are expected to account for 100 per cent of the market by 2030.
These natural refrigerants have zero ozone-depletion potential (ODP) and a low global warming potential (GWP), which makes them appealing and greener replacements for many common and long-established refrigerants.
However, Eurovent – in a press release published on its website – has suggested that these substitution scenarios are unrealistic, in part because many barriers exist with regards to the use of highly flammable HC refrigerants in heating and air conditioning equipment.
Because the EC’s review study could be used to drive amendments to the F-gas regulations, unfeasible requirements could ultimately be enforced. Eurovent has subsequently contacted the EC and those involved, as well as other industry representatives, to flag the concerns and work towards a sensible, viable series of amended F-gas regulations.