F-gas concessions fail to pacify manufacturers
EUROPE: The European Parliament’s environment committee (ENVI) has relaxed some of the equipment bans proposed in the EC’s F-gas revision but not enough to dispel industry concerns.
Yesterday’s positive vote on a number of compromise amendments sought to counter industry concerns that the F-gas proposals, apart from being unachievable, would impact the accelerated heat pump roll out required to meet EU climate targets.
Before yesterday’s vote, twelve leading associations and groups active in the European HVACR market wrote to members of the ENVI committee calling for many of these amendments to be rejected. The compromise amendments were, however, carried.
The ENVI proposals do relax the bans deadline for air conditioning and heat pump systems, but mostly only by 12 months, and while also removing some of the GWP limits.
The AC and heat pump bans
The ban on fluorinated greenhouse gases in plug-in room, monobloc and other self-contained air conditioning and heat pump equipment has been rolled back to 1 January 2026, from 1 January 2025 in the EC’s original revision proposals. The limit of it only applying to fluorinated greenhouse gases with a GWP of 150 or more has also been removed.
The proposed ban on single split air-conditioning and split heat pump equipment containing less than 3kg of HFC refrigerants has been postponed to 1 January 2027, from 2025 in the EC’s revision proposals. Fixed double duct systems have been added and, again, the ban would apply to all HFCs, the exemption for HFCs under 750 having been removed.
Under the ENVI amendments, all HFCs would be banned in split air conditioning and split heat pump systems up to 12kW but would receive a 12 month reprieve to 1 January 2028.
Split air conditioning and split heat pump systems of more than 12kW and up to 200kW using GWPs up to 750 also see a 12-month delay, except when required to meet safety standards.
The ENVI committee amendment also adds a ban on HFCs in split air conditioning and split heat pump systems over 200kW from 1 January 2028.
There are concessions contained in the amendments for instances where alternatives are not available or cannot be used for technical or safety reasons. These will be covered in a separate news item.
The proposed ban on HFCs in stationary refrigerators and freezers for commercial use (self-contained equipment) from 1 January 2024 has been retained under the ENVI amendments but the 150 GWP limit has been removed.
The 1 January 2025 ban on HFCs in any self-contained stationary refrigeration equipment has also been retained but, again, the 150 GWP limit has been removed. This is also the date proposed for HFC bans in all stationary refrigeration equipment, except equipment intended for application designed to cool products to temperatures below -50°C, which will now be banned from 1 January 2027.
The ENVI committee amendments also contain a number of new HFC bans:
In vans and ships from 1 January 2027
In trucks, trailers and reefers from 1 January 2029
In foams, except when required to meet national safety standards, 1 January 2030
In mini, displacement and centrifugal chillers from 1 January 2027.
The ENVI Committee report will now go before the full European Parliament before trialogue negotiations with the Council.