EU Commission wants flammable refrigerant standards review

New report suggests flammable regulations prevent the increased use of low GWP refrigerants

The European Commission has called for a review of the flammable refrigerant standards in a recent report as it considers them a barrier to successfully achieving the targets as set out as part of the hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HFCs) phase-down.

The EU commission produced the report based on consultation from 24 EU member states. The report is due to be published on 1 January and concludes that the flammability regulations prevent wider use of low global warming potential (GWP) HFCs.

The report considers international and national regulations for flammable refrigerants to be a restriction. The 24 participating member nations do not impose any limitations on CO2 or ammonia use in air-conditioning and refrigeration systems.

However, heavy restrictions are in place for highly flammable A3 hydrocarbons and A2L HFOs, which are considered less flammable than A3 HFCs. The EU commissions argues that these regulations are outdated as new technologies allow for the safe use of highly flammable refrigerants, which are also more environmentally friendly.

In Germany, the European standards are actually stricter than the national standards, but most qualified users choose to follow the European standards. Meanwhile, Italy, France, Spain and Sweden imposes restrictions concerning the use of highly flammable HFCs in air-conditioning systems in public buildings.

The report states: β€œTo facilitate the achievement of the EU HFC phase-down and emission reductions in the EU and third countries as required by the Paris Agreement in the most cost-efficient way, these barriers should be addressed with urgency.”

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