The European Commission insists that there is no evidence of any large scale illegal trade in refrigerants

NETHERLANDS: Refrigerant businesses in the Netherlands have joined the condemnation of the widespread abuse of the F-gas regulations through “alternative” sales outlets.

Refrigerant suppliers Uniechemie and Gasco have highlighted the problem in the Netherlands of refrigerant being sold in illegal disposable cylinders and widespread instances of theft.

Since March, the Cooling Post has been reporting instances from across Europe of flagrant abuses of the F-gas regulations and phase down. Increased prices and supply issues with the higher GWP HFC refrigerants has encouraged smuggling and illegal imports of gas in disposable cylinders, most likely outside of the quota system. Much of it is being sold through internet auction sites with vendors ignoring the requirements of only selling to F-gas registered individuals/companies.

In an email to customers, Uniechemie has warned that buying refrigerant from unrecognised sources also carries “great risks”. It reports that a batch of disposables offered for processing did not contain R134a. In the Dutch refrigeration magazine RCC K&L, Uniechemie manager Chris van der Lande revealed that tests showed that it contained mixtures of the CFC R12 and HCFC R22 – both of which are banned.

Uniechemie also warns that some of the refrigerant being offered may be stolen. The Cooling Post has reported incidents of large-scale thefts from German refrigerant suppliers Arthur Friedrichs and Westfalen. Uniechemie claims there have been similar incidents in the Netherlands.

“The prices of refrigerants with a high GWP are still very high, which makes it interesting for criminals,” he says in RCC K&L. “The result is that R134a gas cylinders have been stolen from many gas depots.”

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