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Refrigerant ban “a threat to industry”

16782481_sUSA: Foodservice equipment manufacturers have been the first to react to the US EPA’s proposal to phase-out high GWP refrigerants by 2016, calling it “unrealistic, if not impossible”.

NAFEM, the North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers, represents over 500 manufacturers and suppliers in a sector largely reliant on two of the refrigerants under threat – R404A and R134a.

The EPA’s proposal, announced last month, seeks to prohibit the use of certain chemicals that significantly contribute to climate change. If accepted, the proposed action would change the status of certain high GWP HFCs currently listed as acceptable under the EPA’s Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) Programme to be unacceptable in specific end-uses.

Under the proposals the commonly-used commercial refrigeration gases R404A and R507A are two of a number of refrigerants which could be banned from new and retrofit retail food refrigeration and new and retrofit vending machines, from January 1, 2016. The ban includes stand-alone equipment, condensing units, direct supermarket systems and indirect supermarket systems. R134a, another common refrigerant in commercial refrigeration, would also be banned from use in new stand-alone retail food refrigeration and new vending machines from the same date.

In a statement, NAFEM maintains that the proposed bans, if approved, would have a significant impact on the industry and that the proposed compliance dates are unrealistic (if not impossible) for manufacturers to meet.

With the available options being hydrocarbons, ammonia, CO2 and “mildly flammable” HFC blends, NAFEM voices concerns over the potential safety risks and impact on product efficiency. It also maintains that it could lead to manufacturers abandoning the refrigeration market altogether, possible company closures and increased operator costs.

NAFEM is encouraging all stakeholders to attend a public meeting that the EPA is holding on August 27 and contribute to the association’s response document.

The EPA meeting on August 27 is being held in Room 1153, EPA East (entrance from 1201 Constitution Avenue), Washington, DC, starting at 9am.

Companies wishing to contribute to NAFEM’s comments, on behalf of industry, by sharing analyses, especially hard engineering data in particular, should contact Charlie Souhrada, CFSP, director, member services: [email protected]; +1.312.821.0212 by September 18.

26780810_smallUS could ban R404A from 2016
– July 11, 2014
USA: A number of common HFC refrigerants including R404A and R134a could be banned in certain uses from as early as January 1, 2016, under new proposals put forward by the US EPA. Read more…

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