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Spain urges greater effort in leak prevention

SPAIN: The Spanish refrigeration association, AEFYT, has urged greater efforts in refrigerant leak detection and containment as the industry faces “an unprecedented challenge” from the F-gas revision.

Discussions are currently underway between the European Commission, European Parliament  and the Council of Ministers to negotiate the final make-up of the European F-gas revision. While the individual revision proposals differ in terms of severity of the bans and quota phase downs, it is clear that, whatever the form the new regulation takes, it will create challenges for the industry.

Faced with the likelihood of shortages and increases in the cost of HFC refrigerant gases, the AEFYT sees early leak detection and maintenance as key factors in tackling the effects of any new F-gas regulation.

“The foreseeable reduction in sales quotas for fluorinated gases places the refrigeration sector before an unprecedented challenge that requires a change of strategy in the very short term,” the AEFYT says in a statement.

“To face the projected scenario, one of the key actions that AEFYT proposes to users and maintainers is to dedicate more efforts to containment, preventive maintenance and optimisation of existing facilities.”

However, the AEFYT also urges a more proactive approach: “It is not just a matter of complying with the minimum requirements demanded by the legislation in terms of inspections and leak controls, but also investing in the maintenance of existing installations with systems that help to maintain the gas in the installation and significantly reduce the associated costs. Undoubtedly, early leak detection has proven its effectiveness and robustness in achieving this.”

As one of the few European member states to impose an additional tax levy on fluorinated refrigerants and blends, the Spanish industry is particularly susceptible to price rises.

In addition to the environmental damage, the AEFYT points out that the refrigerant leak causes serious economic harm. Apart from the high cost of the gas, leaks also lead to higher system energy consumption – the AEFYT quotes around 15% efficiency reduction for a leak rate of 25% – premature component wear and a risk of product spoilage. 

While it recognises the difficulties in achieving total system tightness, the AEFYT insists it is possible to reduce emissions by 80%-95% in a sustained manner, thanks to existing technology and the professionalism and experience of refrigeration maintenance companies.

The AEFYT also highlights the importance of refrigerant reclamation in supporting the reduced quota. 

Related stories:

F-gas proposals “disastrous” for Spain27 March 2023
SPAIN: Twelve associations and groups from across the Spanish HVACR industry and end user sectors have written to MEPs expressing concern at the F-gas revision proposals. Read more…

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