The F-Gas Regulation was implemented by the European Union to reduce the environmental impact of fluorinated gases.
Since 2006 the F-Gas Regulation (EC) No 842/2006 has been governing the use of fluorinated gases (f-gases) in technical refrigeration systems, such as air-conditioning, cooling or fire-extinguishing systems. This legislation specifies the required safety measures and competencies (e.g. leakage tests, personnel training and certification). The reason why atmospheric emissions must be kept within limits is that the heat-absorbing properties of fluorinated hydrocarbons contribute to the greenhouse effect and global climate warming.
The amended F-Gas Regulation (EU) No 517/2014 came into effect on January 1, 2015. The goal is that by 2030 only 21 percent of the original 2015 quantity of fluorinated gases will still be in use. The updated regulation include the reduction of f-gases placed on the market as well as the restriction on new equipment and service products using f-gases. This will help to reduce the emission of f-gases from 182.5 M tons of CO2 equivalent in 2015 to 38.3 M tons of CO2 equivalent in 2030.
No more f-gases
Fluorinated gases have a definite disadvantage: they contribute massively to the greenhouse effect, i.e. to global warming. We now know about the harmful effects of CFCs, HFCs, HCFCs and PFCs. Many of these synthetic refrigerants have been banned for a long time, while others have been phased out. This is reflected in various legal instruments, such as the F-Gas Regulation, in bans on refilling certain types of refrigerants (such as R22), in the national and international CO2 reduction targets (Kyoto Protocol etc.) or in specifications for the protection of the ozone layer (Montreal Protocol). Irrespective of the climate-damaging effect and current or future bans, the extreme rise in prices associated with the tighter legislation also speaks against the continued use of f-gases. Due to the deliberate shortage of these refrigerants (as intended by the law), prices will continue to rise. This is an aspect that needs to be considered not only at the initial filling stage but also when procuring replacement gas to compensate for leakage losses.