News | April 25, 2014

SGS Announces EU Will Reduce Emissions Of Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases From Electronic And Electrical Products

On 12 March 2014 the European Parliament (1) had a final vote on the proposal for a stronger regulation on fluorinated greenhouse gases (F-gases). As a consequence, a tighter legislation will shortly be published which affects refrigerators and freezers containing F-gases. It is expected that placing on the EU market would be prohibited starting from 1 January 2015.

F-gases are powerful contributors to global warming as they act as strong greenhouse gases. The six major greenhouse gases(2) are as follows:

  • Carbon dioxide (CO2)
  • Methane (CH4)
  • Nitrous Oxide (N2O)
  • Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)
  • Perfluorocarbons (PFCs)
  • Sulphur Hexafluoride (SF6)

F-Gases – Substitutes for Ozone-Depleting Substances
F-gases are a family of man-made gases, such as HFCs, PFCs and SF6, with a global warming effect up to 23,000 times greater than CO2. Because these fluorinated gases do not damage the atmospheric ozone layer, they are often used as substitutes for ozone-depleting substances (ODS). As fluorinated combined with other halogenated gases, ODS are being phased out under the Montreal Protocol and EU legislation(3).

F-gases are still used in several types of appliances. Some possible applications (http://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/f-gas/index_en.htm) can be found in the Table 1 within the latest SafeGuards bulletin (http://newsletter.sgs.com/eNewsletterPro/uploadedimages/000006/sgs-safeguards-05814-eu-reducing-emissions-f-gases-a4-en-14.pdf).

EU Legislations on F-Gases
Current EU legislation on F-gases (http://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/f-gas/legislation/docs/com_2012_643_en.pdf) consists of two main legislative acts:

  1. Regulation (EC) No 842/2006 focusing on preventing leakage during use (containment) and at the end of the life of (mostly) stationary equipment and on a limited number of F-gas bans on narrowly defined niche applications (the Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases Regulation).
  2. Directive 2006/40/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council introducing restrictions on the use of F-gases with global warming potential (GWP) of more than 150 in the air-conditioning systems of new motor vehicles (the MAC Directive).

Since the emission of F-gases is rising strongly, the European Commission proposed a law in year 2012 to cut F-gas emissions by two-thirds of today's levels by 2030. In addition, on 16 December 2013 the European Union reached a tentative agreement (http://www.euractiv.com/climate-environment/eu-reaches-deal-cap-super-warmin-news-532386) on limiting the use of fluorinated greenhouse gases in refrigerators and air conditioners. According to the result of vote, the new proposal (http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meetdocs/2009_2014/documents/envi/dv/f-g_934092/f-g_934092en.pdf) passed on 12 March 2014. If the proposal was published, the following products in Table 2 within the above-mentioned SafeGuards bulletin containing F-gases placed on the EU market would be prohibited starting from 1 January 2015, leaving only a short phase-out period for the industry to follow the requirements and find alternatives.

References:
(1) European Parliament Final Vote (http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-%2f%2fEP%2f%2fNONSGML%2bPV%2b20140312%2bRES-VOT%2bDOC%2bPDF%2bV0%2f%2fEN&language=EN)
(2) Greenhouse Gases (http://www.epa.ie/air/airenforcement/ozone/fluorinatedgreenhousegases/)
(3) ODSs Legislations (http://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/ozone/documentation_en.htm)

SOURCE: SGS Electrical and Electronics Services

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