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Suppliers urged to support industry through refrigerant legislation changes

With businesses using HFC refrigerants facing the challenge of compliance with the EU’s ‘faster pathway’ towards phasing out F-Gases, Aggreko is highlighting the role of HVAC suppliers to support the changes.

On Friday 31st March, the European Parliament overwhelmingly voted in favour of a motion that, as of 2024, only 23.6% of the quantity of F-gases used in 2015 will be allowed onto the market. This is to bring the EU in line with its 2030 climate goals.

However, the European Council, composed of governments from the EU’s 27 member states, has yet to adopt this position – meaning final negotiations between Parliament and Council may reshape the existing proposal.

This comes at a time of continuing questions over whether the UK government will continue to mirror tightening EU standards, with European regulations previously being incorporated into UK law. Danny Quinn, Head of HVAC Product Line at Aggreko, is therefore emphasising the role of suppliers in addressing uncertainty towards future sustainability legislation, when proactively upgrading HVAC assets.

He said: “Despite best practice in service and maintenance, it is crucial the industry reduces potential HFC refrigerant leaks, in accordance with the European Parliament’s recent decision. In certain parts of Europe, for example, they have already taken steps to only allow equipment using lower GWP refrigerants (refrigerants with a GWP of 1,000 or lower) in permanent equipment, and in line with anticipated legislation the accelerated phasedown schedules across Europe may be mirrored in the UK.”

“Considering this, the refrigeration industry is already reviewing future equipment technologies to ensure compatibility with stricter regulations and are investing in how we will move away from HFCs.”

According to the European Parliament’s proposal, the biggest cuts will be made from 2024 onwards, with a view to reaching zero F-Gas being used by 2050. Aggreko states that while there are immediate steps businesses can take, soaring ownership costs mean capex investment in equipment using lower GWP refrigerants can be prohibitive – an alternative, however, can be found through short, medium or long-term hire.

This is why, as part of its Greener Upgrades initiative, Aggreko has taken steps to convert its fleet of R134a screw chillers, to an R513A alternative, while internalising its higher cost. This action alone, has reduced the GWP of Aggreko’s fleet of industrial chillers by almost 60%.

Danny concluded: “With industry experiencing unprecedented economic pressure, businesses must still adhere to tightening F-gas regulations but may simply not be in a position to do so. Additionally, with the long-term regulatory environment still suspended in uncertainty, investing in permanent solutions today carries the risk of equipment becoming obsolete or unserviceable before the end of its useful life.” 

“Hired HVAC equipment solutions allow businesses to make the shift to sustainable and supported equipment without being compelled to make permanent equipment decisions based on the F-gas phase-down.”

“By internalising the cost of this change in refrigerant, we can continue to support customers and comply with the progressive legislation without passing any of the development costs on.”

22 June 2023

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