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Industry calls for rethink on F-gas proposals

BELGIUM: Industry groups have been quick to voice concerns that the EC’s F-gas revision proposal contains “worrying” equipment prohibitions and an “unsustainable” phase-down that risk undermining its own environmental goals.

A joint statement from energy and efficiency body EPEE, contractors’ group AREA and the European Heat Pump Association, criticises the “narrow view” on F-gas refrigerants contained in the F-gas revision document, published today, and claims it endangers the European Commission’s #Fit-for-55 and #REPowerEU ambitions.

According to the groups, the proposed HFC usage restrictions on current refrigerants used in air conditioners and heat pumps, combined with insufficient alternatives and trained installers, “will massively decelerate the deployment of heat pumps and other heating and cooling solutions”.

“We therefore urge the co-legislators to protect the EU’s goals by ensuring the F-gas regulation is compatible with the availability of equipment, lower-GWP refrigerant alternatives and trained engineers to install them,” the groups state. 

Hard brake

Thomas Nowak, secretary general of the European Heat Pump Association (EHPA) said: “To meet the ambition level set forth by the REPowerEU communication, we need a heat pump accelerator and not a hard brake on heat pump deployment. All heat pumps – including air-air types – need to be massively deployed and this needs to be clearly supported by all EU institutions.” 

He added that the revision proposal needs “significant revision” if the EC wants to achieve its renewables target and reduce the European dependence on fossil fuels.

Folker Franz, the director general of EPEE said that the EU would harm its own cause by further cutting the quota. “The current EU F-gas regulation quota already cuts HFC use by 88% by 2030. Our modelling shows that this will be just enough to install the needed 50 million new heat pumps by then,” he said. “Greenhouse gas emissions from F-gases are very small when compared with the emissions that can be saved by replacing fossil fuel heating with heat pump equipment.”

Marco Buoni, president of AREA expressed concerns at the shortage of adequately trained engineers to handle the increase in flammable refrigerants that will be needed as a result of the product bans. “With hundreds of thousands of technicians needing to be upskilled to safely handle highly flammable refrigerants, the installer base will just not manage to make the conversion in time as there remains a shortage of both training facilities and trainers across the EU.”

Related stories:

EC proposes steep HFC cuts and usage bans5 April 2022
EUROPE: The European air conditioning and refrigeration industry could face stringent cuts in HFC refrigerants and bans on common AC refrigerants in new EC proposals to strengthen the F-gas regulation. Read more…

F-gas quota cuts will hit heat pump ambitions15 March 2022
BELGIUM: The leading European associations have called on the European Commission to rethink its accelerated HFC phase down proposals or risk jeopardising the switch to heat pumps. Read more…

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