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Guide offers answers to R404A phase-out

PURR-reportUK: The British Refrigeration Association (BRA) has produced an expert guide to meeting the implications of the F-gas regulations.

While there have been many useful guides produced that detail the provisions of the new regulations, this is the first to offer guidance and suggestions as to how the issues it raises can be dealt with.

The 24-page guide, entitled Putting into Use Replacement Refrigerants (PURR), has been produced by 45 experts from across all sectors of the industry.

In announcing the publication, BRA president, Mike Lawrence, said: “Our aim is to help people find an appropriate response to the F-gas regulation that has come from the EU. The PURR Report highlights the very real challenges that clients in sectors such as retail refrigeration will face as a result of F-gas.”

The guide deals with the new refrigerants, technologies and options available but, in particular, repeats warnings to act now to avoid serious cost and refrigerant availability problems later.

It highlights the fact that the cap and phase down aspect of the F-gas regulations seeks to reduce the amount of HFC refrigerants placed on the market. The cap and phase down does not ban the sale of any particular HFC, instead it will limit the total supply of all HFCs across the EU based on the total tonnes CO2 equivalent.

In particular it re-emphasises previous warnings about the forthcoming availability of R404A, one of the main high GWP gases targeted under the F-gas regulations. The report warns that there is a real risk of refrigerant supply shortages and that virgin R404A availability may become limited, so existing R404A systems will have to be replaced, or have a change of refrigerant.

“Producers tell me that they don’t expect to be selling much R404A after 2018,” said Mike Lawrence.

Around 12,000 tonnes of R404A are estimated to be still in systems in the UK alone, and many of these systems will remain in service beyond 2020.

“There can be no doubt that the F-Gas regulation will have an impact on the market for certain refrigerants,” he added. “For example, companies using R404A in their systems must ensure that the refrigerant is reclaimed and kept for future servicing. This is a very different approach to the one that we have been used to.”

The PURR Report offers valuable insights into the impact of the F-Gas regulation on refrigerants, which are intended to give readers a firm foundation for developing a strategic response for their businesses.

“The PURR Report gives a clear indication of possible approaches to dealing with phase down, and the BRA hopes that this will support good practice.”

Although produced in the UK, the advice and guidance is relevant to all European countries.

The report will be available, free of charge, from the BRA section of the FETA website.

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