Speaking at a specially convened press meeting, Joseph Martinko, DuPont’s Opteon global business and market manager, praised the EU for taking a leadership role in reducing its CO2 contribution with the recent passage of the new F-gas regulations, but added “Moving away from HFCs will be another incredible challenge, considering how extensively they are used in today’s air conditioning and refrigeration industry.”
He revealed that currently, the total global supply of HFCs is around half a million metric tonnes. with the European Union accounting for over 80,000 metric tonnes of HFCs for all applications, or around 170 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent. Of that figure, 75% is accounted for by air conditioning and refrigeration.
“This pervasive use of HFCs illustrates the magnitude of the challenge facing the air conditioning and refrigeration industry to transition away from HFCs,” he said. “Still, there isn’t any doubt that a transition will be required, both by regulations now in place and regulations under development.”
The problem is made harder by Europe’s huge use of the high GWP refrigerant R404A.
“The new F-Gas regulation recognises that the commercial refrigeration market has a large CO2 footprint,” said Martinko. “This is largely because its mainstay HFC is R404A, which has one of the highest GWPs of the common HFCs. In fact, the EU commercial refrigeration market has the largest R404A demand in the world – even larger than that of the US.