BELGIUM: Frixis, the Belgian refrigeration and air treatment association, has hit out at the new ENVI F-gas amendment proposals, claiming that they jeopardise the energy transition.
In a hard hitting statement on the association’s website, it criticises proposals for “a quick and strict ban” on commonly used refrigerants when there is as yet no ready-made alternative.
In its response to last week’s vote by ENVI, the European parliament’s environment committee, for further equipment bans and a faster HFC phase down, Frixis says: “Where the ban on new and existing installations with such refrigerants was first gradually and staggered in the proposal for the new legislation, Europe is now radically opting for a rapid and almost complete ban by 2028.”
The association is calling on Belgian MEPs to adjust the legislation to a balanced proposal when the European Parliament meets to vote on the proposals at the end of this month.
It argues that not every installation or application is suitable for working with “natural” refrigerants. “If the proposal (as it is currently on the table) is approved, people will be left with no choice but to opt for fossil or direct electric heating. This would undermine European carbon neutrality targets and have the opposite effect,” it says.
Frixis maintains that it supports the transition to climate-friendly alternatives, but only if the timing is aligned with the market and technological reality. “With its current installations, the technical evolution is not yet ready for the proposed, rapid phase-outs. After all, several years pass between the drawing board and the installation of an installation or heat pump at the end user.”
It argues that there is currently hardly any training for using “natural” refrigerants in an industry which is already suffering from a shortage of engineers. Insufficient time to organise training risks potentially fatal accidents, it says, and, in addition, insurance companies and the fire service are very cautious about installations with natural refrigerants.
Frixis, officially the Royal Belgian Association for Refrigeration and Air Treatment, represents installers, manufacturers, importers, distributors, training centres, schools, study offices and experts of the refrigeration and air treatment sector in Belgium.