The proposal, first revealed by the Cooling Post in July, could see R404A, R507A, R134a and a number of substitute blends banned in the USA for certain uses from as early as January 1, 2016.
The deadline for public comment will now be October 20, 2014, rather than October 6. No specific reason has been given for the extension, the EPA announcement merely stating “This will provide the public additional time to review and comment on all of the information available.”
The controversial proposals have come in for criticism from individual companies and manufacturers associations, branding the proposals as unrealistic and a threat to industry and, although not reported, it seems inconceivable that the proposals were not discussed by industry experts at Tuesday’s meeting at the White House.
The proposals, if accepted, would change the status of certain high GWP HFCs currently listed as acceptable under the EPA’s Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) Programme to be unacceptable in specific end-uses.
The commonly-used supermarket refrigeration gases R404A and R507A are amongst a number of refrigerants which could be banned from new and retrofit retail food refrigeration and new and retrofit vending machines, from January 1, 2016. The ban includes stand-alone equipment, condensing units, direct supermarket systems and indirect supermarket systems. The January 1, 2016, ban proposal also applies to a number of other HFC blends in direct and indirect supermarket systems, although it is unclear how many, if any, are currently used for that purpose. These include HFC227ea, R407B, R421B, R422A, R422C, R422D, R428A, and R434A. R422A (also known as Isceon MO79) and R422D (MO29) are known to be used in some retrofit systems but not in new equipment.
In addition to being banned as the refrigerant of choice in air conditioning systems in cars manufactured after 2020, R134a and certain other HFC blends will also be banned from use in new stand-alone retail food refrigeration and new vending machines from January 1, 2016.
NAFEM, the North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers, has called the proposals “unrealistic, if not impossible” and that they would have a significant impact on the industry.
US could ban R404A from 2016 – July 11, 2014
USA: A number of common HFC refrigerants including R404A and R134a could be banned in certain uses from as early as January 1, 2016, under new proposals put forward by the US EPA. Read more…
Refrigerant ban “a threat to industry” – August 15, 2014
USA: Foodservice equipment manufacturers have been the first to react to the US EPA’s proposal to phase-out high GWP refrigerants by 2016, calling it “unrealistic, if not impossible”. Read more…