Refrigeration / Refrigerants & Reclaim

Are HFCs Down or Out Overseas?

I wrote the FROSTlines article, “Pressure on HFCs Continues in Europe,” because I want our readers within the refrigeration industry to be aware of what’s being talked about in Europe, especially from a regulatory standpoint.

There is talk of a phaseout of virgin HFC refrigerant production rather than a phasedown. What little talk I’ve heard about the future of HFCs before is that should they be subject to any production curbs, they would not be totally phased out as were CFCs and are HCFCs.

This is because there are not yet any across-the-board alternatives to HFCs in all the places HFCs work — at least alternatives that are as cost-effective and energy-efficient. In fact, the story references this point when it cites those within the industry questioning how well the alternative CO2 would work in hot-weather climates in Europe.

The cost-effectiveness and energy-efficiency issues are, I’m sorry to say, loose cannon issues in Europe because extreme environmentalists seem to be only upset about the global warming issues of refrigerants rather than cost or energy issues of alternatives. And those environmentalists carry more impact in Europe than in North America.

In the United States, the only phase I’ve heard concerns the possibility of a phasedown, meaning some HFCs will be around for a long, long time. And any timeline on such phasedown considerations appear a long way away.

Publication date: 1/21/2013

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