HCFC Refrigerant Phaseout Gets Fine-Tuning

October 22, 2007

MONTREAL - Supplies of HCFC-22 could get a bit tighter sooner than expected as the result of the recent Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol (MOP-19).

One aspect of the agreement means that the final phaseout of new production of R-22 will continue to be 2020, but the reduction in the amount produced between now and then will be on a faster pace than previously required. For example, previous rulings said that production of R-22 had to be reduced in 2010 by 65 percent from the baseline production year of 1989. Now the production has to be reduced by 75 percent.

Some in the industry said this could further negatively affect aftermarket supplies of R-22 unless more recovery and reclamation efforts are undertaken. For example, the long-time best guess as to when supplies of R-22 would fall short of demand was 2015. Some think this latest requirement might move that date up a few years, although others still maintain 2015 will be the crossover year.

Unaffected by the latest ruling is the target date for the end of the use of R-22 in new equipment, which remains 2010. The latest ruling does not change existing requirements for HCFC-123, used in chiller applications. The ruling maintains the final phaseout of that refrigerant at 2030 and it maintains the 0.5 percent limit of R-123 production for servicing from 2020 to 2030.

All these rulings affect so called developed countries such as the United States, Canada, and countries in Europe. But also under the new agreement, developing countries such as China, India, and Mexico will now phase out production of new equipment using HCFCs by 2030 instead of 2040, along with a more rapid phase down in the use of such refrigerants.

Publication date: 10/22/2007