USA: The US Environmental Protection Agency is proposing a more aggressive phase-down of R22 under its 2015-2019 allocation rule.
The allocation rule, which also includes allocations on HCFC123, 124, 142b and 225ca/cb, more than halves the US baseline allowance in 2015.
Leading up to a ban on the manufacture or import of virgin R22 on January 1, 2020, the EPA is proposing an allocation of approximately 10,000 tonnes of R22 next year, dropping by around 2,000 tonnes per year to 2020.
The EPA says that the 10,000 tonnes starting point in 2015 addresses the concerns about over-supply of R22 and the large existing inventories, while encouraging transition, reclamation and proper refrigerant management.
Leading US refrigerant supplier Hudson Technologies welcomed the allocation proposals. Kevin Zugibe, Hudson’s chairman and ceo, commented: “The EPA’s final rule provides much needed clarity to our industry and delivers a significantly more aggressive step down approach for the phase-out of R22, which we have consistently stated is the best method to achieve an orderly phase-out of virgin R22 and for the establishment of reclamation as the principal, and ultimately the sole source of supply of R22.
“Under the EPA’s more aggressive approach, the 2015 allowances of 22 million pounds represent a nearly 60% reduction from the 2014 levels. As we approach 2020 when virgin R22 production will be fully eliminated, the reclamation industry will become the primary provider of R22 to service aftermarket demand.”
The EPA says it will also consider whether additional regulatory action is necessary on the controversial subject of dry R22 units. Under current US regulations, the sale or distribution of a condensing unit pre-charged with R22 is prohibited, however, a dry-shipped unit, ie a unit designed for R22 but sold minus its charge, may be sold and used to repair an existing R22 system. Equipment manufacturers like Carrier maintain that repairs using dry-shipped condensing units affect the phaseout of R22.