USA: The USA’s largest air conditioning contractors’ association has moved to allay US fears regarding the future availability of R22 refrigerant.
The production and importation of the main air conditioning refrigerant R22 will be banned in the US from January 1 under Montreal Protocol phase-out agreements. While existing stock and reclaimed/recycled material will still be able to be used, there is concern in the market regarding future prices and availability.
The Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA), which represents over 60,000 members and 4,000 businesses, says it believes there will be enough stockpiled and reclaimed R22 to allow for a smooth R22 transition.
“Do we know how much R22 is and will be available? No, but there are some indicators that show that R22 should be available for several years,” says ACCA vice president, public policy & industry relations on the association’s website.
This he bases on ACCA’s research and in working with refrigerant manufacturers and reclaimers.
He quotes Arkema’s director of sales saying: “Arkema has done significant market research and we estimate that there is sufficient R22 to serve the market needs for at least five years.”
Haun also stated: “Take R12, for instance, which was phased out on January 1, 1996. There are still R12 systems operating in the US and contractors are still able to purchase R12 to service those systems.”
However, according to a large reclaimer, one of the challenges that could decrease R22 availability is the mixing rate of reclaimed product. Some reclaimers lack the ability to separate refrigerants when they received recovery cylinders that are made up of a cocktail of refrigerants. ACCA fears that the increased mixing rate and inability to separate those products could have an impact on the supply but is not certain that that alone would reduce the years of projected availability.