Refrigerant manufacturer says illegal import of HFCs has increased

Despite F-gas import restrictions, Honeywell claims European imports have increased

The American manufacturer of refrigerants, Honeywell, claims that European imports of HFCs has increased since the European Union introduced its phase down policy in 2015.

Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) is a fluorinated greenhouse gas (F-gas); it a chemical that is used in refrigerators and air-conditioning systems, but it is considered dangerous to the earth’s ozone layer and many nations are trying to cut down F-gas use.

In 2015, the EU launched its F-gas phase down scheme which is designed to reduce the availability of F-gases throughout European Union nations by 79% by the year 2030.

As part of the phase down action, the EU has stipulated that only companies with an EU F-gas quota can legally import F-gases (including HFCs) into the European Union nations.

According to Honeywell, 10 million tonnes of illegal HFCs were imported into the EU in 2015, despite the new quota rules being in place.

Furthermore, Honeywell claims that some EU member states are importing more than double the amount of HFCs since the phase down began and that imports of HFCs from China are increasing year-on-year.

Dr Patrick Amrhein, a marketing director at Honeywell, said the problem lay with some particular countries, including Poland, Greece, and Hungary were imports have increased by between 140-160%, but that “traditional importers like France, UK, and Netherlands… are more or less stagnating.”

According to the statistics set out by the EU, there should be a 7% decrease in HFCs imports in 2016 but Dr Amrhein believes the “disconnect between the legislation and its implementation at a national level” is creating a “major issue”.

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