EU Reducing Emissions of Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases from Electronic and Electrical Products

(PresseBox) ( Geneva, )
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 can be found in the Table 1 within the latest SafeGuards bulletin.

EU Legislations on F-Gases

Current EU legislation on F-gases 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 on limiting the use of fluorinated greenhouse gases in refrigerators and air conditioners. According to the result of vote, the new proposal 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
(2) Greenhouse Gases
(3) ODSs Legislations

About SGS Electrical and Electronics Services

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