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EIA challenges latest F-gas phase-down figures

DENMARK: Latest official figures reporting that the industry stayed within the European F-gas phase-down quota in 2018 by 1%, have been challenged by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA).

Based on data reported by companies, EU-wide placing on the market (POM) of HFCs in 2018 was 111.8MtCO2e. 

These figures from the European Environment Agency, contained in the Fluorinated greenhouse gases 2019 report, released today, are disputed by the EIA, which maintains that its own analysis of the data suggests that imports of HFCs in 2018 were equivalent to 119MtCO2e. 

“This discrepancy, which is equivalent to more than 7% of the quota, bears further investigation,” the EIA says. 

The green group argues that the report also ignores the “significant” illegal trade in HFCs which took place in Europe in 2018.

Pre-charged equipment 

The year 2018 was the second one that imports of refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump equipment containing HFCs became subject to the quota system. The reserve of quota authorisations, built up by a number of equipment importers during 2015 and 2016, is reported to have increased by 14% during 2018, following a 14% decrease in 2017. The current size of this reserve is said to be 2.5x the amount of actual annual equipment imports or 36 % of the maximum available HFC amount for 2019. 

“This accumulated reserve of authorisations reduces the overall strain on the quota issued for the following years, as RACHP equipment imports in those years will, at least theoretically, not need to be covered by the quota issued for those years,” the report states.

F-gas supply

The volume of total supply in physical tonnes in 2018 was 14% lower than in the previous year, with a GWP that was 30 % lower than in 2017. 

In 2018, large increases in transactions were observed for HFOs and HFCs with very low GWPs. In contrast, compared with 2017, HFC supply decreased by 21% in mass or 32% as CO2e, reflecting the 41% drop in the maximum quantity under the HFC phase‑down. 

Reclamation

Reclamation of used F-gases increased by 9% compared to 2017, due mostly to the reclamation of HFCs. According to the report, reclaimed HFCs now make up 9% of the produced amount or 3% of the EU supply of virgin HFCs (or 13% and 4%, respectively, as CO2e). While 95% of reclaimed amounts were HFCs, 24% of the GWP of reclaimed gas was for SF6. 

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