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Chemours contests release of 4.5t of R22

NETHERLANDS: Chemours has successfully contested a €500,000 penalty for releasing 4.5 tonnes of ozone depleting HCFC22 from its fluoropolymer plant in Dordrecht.

Although R22 has been completely banned as a refrigerant in refrigeration, heat pump and air conditioning systems in Europe since 2015, it is still a vital element in the production of fluoropolymers.

Chemours reported the emission of the HCFC22 during a legally-required six-yearly inspection of one of its 1,100-tonne-capacity storage tanks at its Dordrecht site. 

The process involves pumping the liquid HCFC22 to another storage tank, then using a recovery unit to remove the gaseous HCFC22 until the deepest possible vacuum is achieved. The remaining gas, representing 0.4% of the storage capacity, is emitted to atmosphere. 

The DCMR Environmental Service Rijnmond argued that this residue emission, amounting to 4.5 tonnes of gas, exceeded the plant’s permitted yearly maximum emission of 3.5 tonnes.

At the Court of the Hague, Chemours successfully argued that the emissions for maintenance were not part of the yearly permitted allowance agreement. 

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