Is refrigerant recycling being overlooked?
USA: If only 30% of HFC refrigerants were reclaimed for re-use by 2040, approximately 18 billion CO2e tonnes could be prevented from reaching the atmosphere over the next 25 years, according to a new report.
While policymakers remain focused on reducing HFCs through a production and use phase-down, only around 10-15% of HFC refrigerants are currently recovered, reclaimed and re-used, claims the report by California-based refrigerant asset management company EOS Climate.
Acknowledging that advances in leak detection technologies, improved service practices and supply chain tracking are important measures to contain refrigerants, the report suggests that refrigerant recovery is being overlooked. Increasing the quantity of HFC refrigerants that are recovered and re-used presents a significant opportunity to immediately prevent emissions by eliminating unnecessary new production, says the report
“Even with a global agreement to phase down production of HFCs and regulations that promote low-global warming potential technology in new equipment, refrigerants already produced will continue to leak powerful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere over the next several decades,” said Jeff Cohen, co-founder of EOS Climate and a co-author of the report.
“With relatively small changes in practices and little if any additional cost, HFC refrigerants can be recovered, reclaimed and re-used, potentially avoiding emissions equivalent to billions of tons of CO2 between now and 2040—a critical window to address climate change.”
“Until HFC refrigerants are tracked from production to reuse in the supply chain, and metrics are established that incentivise their re-use, the likelihood of voluntary recycling will remain low. Now is the time to act,” added Joe Madden, co-founder of EOS Climate and white paper co-author.
A copy of “Recycling HFC Refrigerants Delivers Immediate, Cost-Effective Climate Protection” can be downloaded here.