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Fluorinated greenhouse gases

Current

1.1.2020 the use of F-gases with a GWP of 2500 or more in service or maintenance of refrigeration equipment with a charge size of 40 t CO2-eq. or more has been prohibited. The service use of reclaimed or recycled F-gases is permitted until 2030.

 

 

Fluorinated greenhouse gases (F-gases) are a group of man-made greenhouse gases, that include hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) and nitrogen trifluoride (NF3). F-gases are mainly used in refrigeration and air conditioning systems, heat pumps, electrical switchgear, fire protection, foam production and as aerosols and solvents. The use of F-gases is rapidly growing worldwide.

F-gases have replaced the use of ozone-depleting substances which have been abandoned under the Montreal Protocol for the protection of the ozone layer. First and second generation refrigerants, CFCs and HCFCs, destroyed the ozone layer and caused global warming. The following HFCs do not deplete the ozone layer but are powerfull greenhouse gases. Some HFCs and HFOs (hydrogen fluorolefins), in addition to having global warming effects, are associated with the persistence and bioaccumulaton of their degradation products in aquatic ecosystems and toxicity of their salts. As a result, the movement is towards less harmfull refrigerants. Natural refrigerants, for example carbon dioxide, ammonia and hydrocarbons such as isobutane, propane and propylene, do not destroy the ozone layer and have no or very little global warming impact. More information on alternatives to F-gases can be found on the Commision's website.

EU Regulation of fluorinated greenhouse gases (517/2014)

The F-gas regulation is directly applicable legislation in all Member States. The aim of the regulation is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the line with the EU's emission reduction targets. By 2030, HFCs (calculated in tonnes of CO2-eq.) will gradually decrease to 21% of their levels in the EU in 2009-2012. The regulation also provides restrictions and prohibitations for the use of F-gases; the qualifications needed for handling F-gases and the schedule for equipment leakage checks, as well as issues relating to purchase, maintenance, marketing and import of F-gases and equipment containing them.

Prohibitations on HCFC refrigerants

HCFCs that deplete the ozone layer (for example refrigerant R22) are not regulated by the F-gas Regulation but by the EU Ozone Regulation (1005/2009).  The use of HCFCs in the maintenance of refrigeration equipment ended in 2014. The ban also applies to recycled gases. Old equipment may still be in use and must be regularly inspected for leaks.

Tasks of authorities in Finland with regards to F-gases

The Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) acts as the competent authority of the EU regulation concerning fluorinated greenhouse gases. SYKE also gathers the necessary data and calculates the annual emissions of F-gases and prepares emission projections. The emissions are reported to the UNFCCC and EU commission as part of Finland’s national greenhouse gas inventory report. Statistics Finland is responsible for the national greenhouse gas reporting. 

Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes) monitors the qualifications of operators and persons who service and install equipment containing F-gases and maintains records of competence.  The regulations on leakage inspection of equipment are supervised by ELY centers and the municipal environmental protection authorities, but also some other authorities in their respective fields.

The link to Tukes website for qualified operators and persons (only in finnish and swedish).

Further information

For questions related to Ozone and F-gases, please contact: ods.f-kaasut@ymparisto.fi

Senior Adviser Nufar Finel, Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE),  nufar.finel@ymparisto.fi

 

Published 2014-12-19 at 14:41, updated 2020-04-14 at 10:56