26 May 2021
European manufacturers' body Eurovent says the preliminary findings of the F-Gas review study claiming hydrocarbon refrigerants could replace HFCs in air conditioning by 2030 are 'unrealistic'.
The study by the European Commission and consultant Öko-Recherche study models the degree to which F-Gases could be substituted in RACHP equipment. Eurovent considers the substitution scenarios unrealistic and has expressed scepticism about the modelling assumptions used by the consultant.
The study says that hydrocarbons could be used in up to 90 per cent of small heat pumps by 2025, and in all large split air conditioners and VRFs by 2030.
Eurovent says data on the current market penetration of non-fluorinated refrigerants show that this modelling is completely unrealistic, raising questions on the assumptions that underpin it. It also says the study consultant appears not to have considered the regulatory and standardisation barriers which still significantly prevent flammable refrigerants from being used in heating and air conditioning equipment in many EU countries, unlike for the commercial refrigeration sector where these restrictions have already been eased.
Eurovent adds that the preliminary results are worrying because the review study would form the basis for potential amendments to the F-Gas Regulation, which could result in unfeasible requirements.
Francesco Scuderi, deputy secretary general of Eurovent, said: “Facilitating the transition to lower-GWP refrigerants is one of Eurovent’s core ambitions and, in this context, we have always been big advocates of the F-Gas Regulation.
"With the review ongoing, we have been working closely together with European Commission and the study consultants to see how to further improve the current framework. That said, we are puzzled by the preliminary findings of the review study.
"Except for the commercial refrigeration sector, where non-fluorinated refrigerants already represent a preponderance of new products brought to the market, we see no realistic pathway from the current situation to the substitution milestones that were conjured up by the models. The study puts the global competitiveness of our industry on shaky grounds, which would be a big win for fossil fuels.”
The European Commission is expected to publish its proposed amended F-Gas Regulation later this year, followed by an F-Gas Consultation Forum meeting six weeks after.