EUROPE: Four European training providers and Italian HVAC equipment manufacturer Clivet have jointly devised a plan for the training and certification of users of hydrocarbon refrigerants in split systems.
With the F-gas revision proposals seeking to ban refrigerants with GWPs over 150 from split systems up to 12kW from January 1 2024, the only current alternative option is flammable propane (R290).
Despite engineers across Europe having gained experience working with “mildly flammable” A2L refrigerant R32 in split systems, concerns have been raised that the procedure for the safe installation, servicing and maintenance of equipment using highly flammable hydrocarbon refrigerants like R290 is completely different.
Industry groups including European contractors body AREA have warned that potentially hundreds of thousands of engineers across Europe, will need to be retrained. Around 500,000 technicians, who are already F-gas certified, could potentially need additional certification for the use of alternative refrigerants.
The plan devised by UK training providers Business Edge and the Renewable Energy Institute, Italy’s Centro Studi Galileo and Germany’s IKKE, along with Clivet, is the first of its kind to be launched in Europe. The companies involved say the initiative will assist in the safe adoption of alternative highly flammable refrigerants in the required time frame.
The training will follow the Real Alternatives project principles and programme. It will provide a certification scheme which is mutually recognised in 20 countries globally and translated into 17 languages. The certification is already mandatory in Spain, Netherlands and Denmark, and all EU countries are expected to follow.
The first training sessions have been confirmed for November 29 and 30 in Italy; October 20, February 20 and March 30 at Business Edge in Waterlooville, UK; and in Germany on January 12.
The training centres have been equipped with the specialist tools and equipment for use with flammable refrigerants, including recovery machines, vacuum pumps, mobile and permanent leak detectors and ventilation fans.