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Phase down on track as F-gas use declines

EUROPE: After a slight increase in 2020, the total supply of F-gases to the EU continued to decline in 2021, according to the latest report from the European Environment Agency.

The latest figures show the EU-27 achieved a cut of about one third of HFCs between 2020 and 2021, with EU-wide placing on the market 4% below the market limit. Based on these figures, the EEA report insists that the EU remains on track under the HFC phase-down.

The figures in this year’s report are confused by it being the first Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases report that excludes UK figures following the Brexit transition. As a result, the authors warn that its published percentage change trends are approximations.

The volume of EU-27 total F-gases supply, ie both HFCs and other F-gases, in physical tonnes in 2021 was about 7% lower than joint EU-27+ UK supply in the previous year, with an about 11% lower GWP in 2021 than in 2020. 

In 2021, EU-27 production of F-gases decreased again compared with 2020, both in production volume (-15%) and in GWP (-3%), corrected for the change in geographical scope. 

The effect of removing the UK from the figures is particularly noticeable when it comes to reclaimed F-gases. The figures show a significant drop of about 30% in reclaimed gas in 2021, which the EEA says is due to “a single UK-based company” (A-Gas?) ceasing to report on HFC reclamation. When considering just the EU-27 countries, the EEA suggests HFC reclamation in 2021 was at roughly the same level as 2020.

Reclaimed HFCs account for about 8% of EU production of virgin HFCs in 2021, or 2% of total EU HFC supply. 

Total F-gas imports in 2021 decreased by only 8% compared with 2020, while there was a decrease of 23% in CO2e. Corrected for the scope change, EU-27 HFC imports in 2021 were approximately 10% (mass) or 15% (GWP) lower than in 2020. 

F-gases contained in products and equipment imported into EU-27 in 2021 were actually 21% higher than joint EU-27 + UK imports in 2020. In previous years, EU-28 equipment imports had remained more or less the same level since 2016. 

The full Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases 2022 report can be read and downloaded here.

Related stories:

HFC consumption increases but F-gas remains “on track”3 December 2021
DENMARK: Consumption of HFCs under the European F-gas regulations increased in 2020 for the first time, after consecutive annual decreases since 2015, according to official figures. Read more…

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