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Proposal to add alternative refrigerant training and certification to F-gas

BELGIUM: European contractors’ group AREA has published its proposals for the F-gas certification scheme to include alternative refrigerants.

With the F-gas regulations (517/2014) currently up for review, there have been calls from both industry and environmental groups for the mandatory training and certification requirement for HFCs to be extended to “natural” refrigerants.

AREA’s proposals are due to be presented at the next EU consultation forum in May. It calls for mandatory certification on alternative refrigerants in order to ensure they are handled safely and efficiently.

The proposals include the introduction of the concept of alternative refrigerant greenhouse gases and modifications to Article 10 of the F-gas regulation on training and certification. This includes amending implementing regulation 2067/2015 and modifying the requirements for company certification. 

The changes extend to minimum competence requirements under EN13313 to include new categories for alternative refrigerant greenhouse gases, flammables and CO2.


Graeme Fox, chairman of AREA’s refrigerants working group, said: “It makes sense to work on the basis of the current F-gas regulation that already has an established training and certification scheme. Introducing the concept of “alternative refrigerant greenhouse gases” makes it possible to include most low GWP alternative refrigerants in the environment scope of the existing F-gas legislation. This is essential to avoid reinventing the wheel and delaying the process with a separate legal framework.”

According to AREA president Marco Buoni, the proposals are the result of consultation with experts and leading trainers among its 25 AREA members from 22 European countries. 

“Mandatory certification on alternative refrigerants is a major issue for our industry and we wanted to make sure we would not just make requests but actually come forward with concrete and constructive suggestions. I believe our proposals are solid. They are an essential and much needed step forward for the European Union, which could also be taken as an example globally. I look forward to discussing the details with the European Commission and other stakeholders,” Buoni said.

Lack of training

The results of a survey published by AREA in January revealed that while the European F-gas regulation is rapidly phasing out HFCs, only between 3.5% and 7% of F-gas certified personnel have received training on alternatives.

In the proposal document, AREA maintains that this is far below market potential and creates a gap that limits alternative refrigerants uptake. “Extending the current F-Gas training and certification scheme to alternative refrigerants would address this issue and therefore directly contribute to achieving the regulation’s objectives,” it says.

It recognises that addressing the matter through a stand-alone piece of legislation would take several years, but argues: “The F-Gas Regulation already has a mandatory training and certification scheme that only needs to be complemented to include alternative low GWP refrigerants.”

Related stories:

Survey reveals lack of training on low GWP refrigerants25 January 2021
BELGIUM: While the European F-gas regulation is rapidly phasing out HFC refrigerants, only between 3.5% and 7% of F-gas certified personnel have received training on alternatives, a new report claims. Read more…

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