Kevin Priest, Marketing & Business Development Manager at A1 CBISS, explains.
January 2014 saw the revised EU Regulation of F-Gases following publication of a draft proposal by the European Commission at the end of 2012. The much anticipated regulation changes aim to strengthen the existing F-Gas Regulation and to ‘encourage’ the industry to move towards a HFC free market and use of low GWP (Global Warming Potential) refrigerants.
How can we reduce our F-Gas emissions?
High GWP Emission Reduction
One theory is to use low or very low GWP refrigerants. The refrigeration industry is being ‘encouraged’ to move towards a HFC free market and use of low GWP refrigerants. For many people, this is an ideal solution as many of these refrigerants have a GWP score of less than 10, however there are constraints with using these gases, with flammability being one.
An Effective Leak Detection Programme
Refrigerant gas leakage to the atmosphere can result in product loss, causing systems to operate inefficiently and is detrimental to the environment, therefore breaching F-Gas Regulations. The F-Gas Regulations now have a greater emphasis on gas leak detection therefore it is important to understand how the new GWP concept affects leak detection.
What is the GWP concept?
The intention is to put all greenhouse gases onto a common scale and GWP, however imperfect, remains the recommended metric to compare future climate impacts of emissions of long-lived gases. Under the new proposal, sites now have to factor in the GWP and make a calculation relative to CO2 equivalent emissions. Recent discussions have highlighted the issues concerned with identifying the correct GWP used to calculate the requirement for leak detection. A simple look through the search engines for the likes of R404a throws up a number of GWP scores making it difficult to determine an accurate calculation.
A simple framework with set GWP figures needs to be made available for the refrigeration industry. This will undoubtedly complicate things for many site operators who will be asking ‘how do we calculate how frequently we need to check for leaks’? And we didn’t need to have fixed leak detection under the existing regulations; do we need it under the new F-Gas regulation’?
So how does this affect refrigerant leak detection?
The table allows anyone using the most common refrigerant charges to evaluate frequency of leak checks plus if there is a requirement for fixed leak detection equipment.
Simply find your HFC and see which bracket your refrigerant system charge falls into.
The new F-Gas Regulation will be implemented in January 2015 so you need to start reviewing your requirements now to ensure you are compliant with leak checking procedures. Any required fixed leak detection systems will need to be in place for when the F-Gas Regulation comes into force.