European Parliament Committee Urges ‘Decoupling’ of F-gases
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European Parliament Committee Urges ‘Decoupling’ of F-gases from Refrigeration and Most Heat Pumps in F-gas Regulation

The Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee recommends a variety of f-gas bans

In a vote on March 1, the European Parliament’s Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) Committee adopted its position on the revision of the EU F-gas Regulation steering new refrigeration, air-conditioning and heat pump (RACHP) applications away from fluorinated refrigerants.

Bas Eickhout, Member of the Parliament for the Greens/European Free Alliance and a leading negotiator on the F-gas Regulation, managed to maintain the “decoupling provision” separating f-gases from most RACHP applications in the version that was adopted.

Eickhout also organized two hearings to provide his MEPs and negotiators with insights on RACHP applications, pointing out alternatives to fluorinated gases.

Among the agreements adopted by the Committee are the following bans that would steer new RACHP applications away from fluorinated refrigerants:

  • Domestic refrigerators and freezers that contain fluorinated greenhouse gases as of January 1, 2025.
  • Stationary refrigerators and freezers for commercial use (self-contained equipment) that contain fluorinated greenhouse gases as of January 1, 2024.
  • Any self-contained stationary refrigeration equipment that contains fluorinated greenhouse gases as of January 1, 2025.
  • Stationary refrigeration equipment, that contains, or whose functioning relies upon, fluorinated greenhouse gases, except equipment intended for applications designed to cool products to temperatures below -50°C (-58°F) as of January 1, 2025.
  • Stationary refrigeration equipment, that contains, or whose functioning relies upon, fluorinated greenhouse gases as of January 1, 2027.
  • Transport refrigeration in vans and ships that contain, or whose functioning relies upon, fluorinated greenhouse gases as of January 1, 2027.
  • Transport refrigeration in trucks, trailers and reefer containers that contains, or whose functioning relies upon, fluorinated gases as of January 1, 2029.
  • Plug-in room, monobloc and other self-contained air-conditioning and heat pump equipment that contain fluorinated greenhouse gases as of January 1, 2026.
  • Stationary split air-conditioning and split heat pump equipment:

a) Single split systems including fixed double-duct systems containing less than 3kg of fluorinated greenhouse gases listed in Annex I, that contain, or whose functioning relies upon, fluorinated greenhouse gases as of January 1, 2028.

b) Split systems of a rated capacity of up to and including 12kW containing, or whose functioning relies upon, fluorinated greenhouse gases as of January 1, 2028.

c) Split systems of a rated capacity of more than 12kW and up to 200kW containing, or whose functioning relies upon, fluorinated greenhouse gases with GWP of 750 or more, except when required to meet safety standards as of January 1, 2028.

d) Split systems of a rated capacity of more than 200kW containing, or whose functioning relies upon, fluorinated greenhouse gases as of January 1. 2028.

  • Mobile air-conditioning in passenger and cargo ships, buses, trams and trains that contain, or whose functioning relies upon, fluorinated greenhouse gases as of January 1, 2029.
  • Mini, displacement and centrifugal chillers that contain, or whose functioning relies upon, fluorinated greenhouse gases as of January 1, 2027.

The ENVI Committee also reduced the quota of available HFC to zero in 2050, as well as the production of these substances by manufacturers in the same year.

The Committee related the F-gas Regulation with the revision of the Regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), with specific reference to the restriction dossier on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). It asked for an upfront review in case provisions of the EU F-gas Regulation are found to not be aligned with the legislation governing PFAS under REACH. The Europeans Chemical Agency (ECHA) recently published a proposal to restrict PFAS from five European countries, with commonly used f-gases such as HFC-134a and HFO-1234yf considered PFAS.

Other adopted measures involve provisions on training schemes and certification for natural refrigerants, illegal trade and publicly disclosed data on the EU F-gas Portal.

The Committee is also asking the European Commission to advocate that the Montreal Protocol’s Kigali Amendment adjust GWP values from those based on the 4th Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to those based on the 6th report. The latter mirrors the latest science on GWP values and, for instance, raises the value of HFC-32 from 650 to 771.

Next steps

The European Parliament will adopt its final position on the revision of the EU F-gas Regulation on March 29 and 30. Members of another parliamentary committee have already adopted a more conservative position on f-gases and have adjusted their stance on the problem of PFAS.

A recent investigation by the Forever Pollution project showcased the degree of contamination of PFAS in Europe, with Belgium and Germany among the countries showing the highest level of pollution from these substances.

Source: Forever Pollution project
Source: Forever Pollution project

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