F-GAS: Council and Parliament reach agreement
The new F-GAS Regulation expected to come in force on 1st January 2024 will gradually phase out the consumption of F-Gases in Europe by 2050 with sharp quota reductions already from 2024.
Starting from 2030, the most common HFCs (like R448A, R449A, R134a, R410A, etc.) will be prohibited, since the current GWP2500 limit is lowered to GWP150 for all refrigeration products (not only plug-ins and centralized systems with capacity >40KW but also remote cabinets, power racks, condensing units, heat exchangers, condensers, etc.) and to GWP750 from 2032 for the servicing and maintenance of the existing systems.
The European Parliament and Council negotiators reached a provisional political agreement to phase down substances that cause global warming and deplete the ozone layer during the Trilogue on 05 October 2023.
The agreement foresees the total phase-out of hydrofluorocarbons by 2050, in line with EU and global climate goals, including a trajectory to reduce the EU HFC consumption quota particularly in 2024 and 2030.
The text also introduces some new prohibitions for products and equipment containing medium and high GWP HFCs in order to accelerate the move towards climate-friendly solutions.
Finally, the agreement also covers strict conditions and deadlines for the use of F-Gases with high global warming potential for the servicing or maintenance of different types of refrigeration equipment.
The expected provisions concern the placing on the market of the following stationary refrigeration products:
11. Refrigerators and freezers for commercial use (self-contained equipment)
GWP<150 from 1 January 2025
Plug-ins, Freeblock, Drop-In, Vending machines, etc.
12. Any self-contained refrigeration equipment, except chillers
GWP<150* from 1 January 2025
Industrial equipment such as coolers, ice cube makers, ice cream machines, etc.
13. Refrigeration equipment, except chillers** and equipment covered in 12 and 14
GWP<150* from 1 January 2030
Display cases, power racks, condensing units, heat exchangers, condensers, etc.
14. Multipack centralized refrigeration systems for commercial use with capacity ≥ 40 kW,
GWP<150 from 1 January 2022
(except primary circuit of cascade systems GWP≥1500)
20. Foams, all fluorinated greenhouse gases prohibited* from 1 January 2033
Injected insulation panels of cold rooms and insulation parts for display cases
(*) except when required to meet safety requirements.
(**) Chillers are appliances capable of cooling a liquid for air conditioning or industrial applications
F-GAS Quota phase down
Additional expected provisions
- Service and maintenance ban: from 1 January 2032, the use of fluorinated greenhouse gases with GWP≥750 for the servicing or maintenance of stationary refrigeration equipment is prohibited, with an exemption for reclaimed and recycled refrigerants, provided they have been recovered from the same equipment and by the undertaking which carried out their recovery
- Export ban: from 2025 the export of stationary refrigeration equipment included among the prohibitions shall be limited to GWP<1000;
- Spare parts for repair and servicing of existing equipment included among the prohibitions is allowed provided that the repair or servicing does not result in an increase of the capacity, amount or GWP of the refrigerant
- Certification of technicians: natural persons shall be certified for carrying out activities involving also natural refrigerants (the current certificates are valid until expiration)
- The allocation of quotas for refrigerant producers is subject to the payment of 3€/CO2eqT, adjustable for inflation;
- Review clause fixed in 2040, taking into account technological developments and the availability of alternatives to HFCs for relevant applications.
- Mandatory Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) scheme from 1 January 2028 for F-gases in products and equipment which fall under the categories of electrical and electronic equipment subject to Directive 2012/19/EU (on waste electrical and electronic equipment).
The provisional agreement will now be submitted to the member states representatives within the Council (Coreper) and to the Parliament’s environment committee for endorsement.
If approved, the text will be formally adopted by both institutions, before it can be published in the EU’s Official Journal (December 2023, tbc) and enter into force (1 January 2024, tbc).