US could ban R404A from 2016
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.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to prohibit the use of certain chemicals that significantly contribute to climate change where it considers safer, more climate-friendly alternatives exist.
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 supermarket refrigeration gases R404A and R507A are amongst 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.
The January 1, 2016, ban proposal also applies to a number of other HFC blends in direct and indirect supermarket systems, although it is unclear how many, if any, are currently used for that purpose. These include HFC227ea, R407B, R421B, R422A, R422C, R422D, R428A, and R434A. R422A (also known as Isceon MO79) and R422D (MO29) are known to be used in some retrofit systems but not in new equipment.
This action would not apply to servicing existing equipment designed for those refrigerants or to equipment retrofitted to use those refrigerants before January 1, 2016.
In addition to being banned as the refrigerant of choice in air conditioning systems in cars manufactured after 2020, R134a and certain other HFC blends will also be banned from use in new stand-alone retail food refrigeration and new vending machines from January 1, 2016.
There are also proposed bans for certain HFCs and other HCFC blends used as aerosol propellants and in foam blowing.
In the announcement, yesterday, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said “President Obama called on us to take action against potent greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. Today, we are issuing a new proposal that builds on the innovative work businesses across the country have already made to reduce and replace some of the most harmful chemicals with safer, more climate-friendly alternatives that are available and on the market today. This action will not only result in significant reductions of harmful greenhouse gases, but it will also encourage businesses to continue bringing safer alternatives to market.”
There has, as yet, been no reaction overnight from industry to these proposals which are now open for comment.
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