06 March 2019
From 2020 certain refrigerants will be banned from use to service or refill refrigeration or freezer systems
A ban is coming in to force in 2020 that will prevent refrigerants with a global warming potential (GWP) greater than 2500 being used to service or refill refrigeration or freezer systems.
This ban affects refrigeration systems containing hydrofluorocarbons (HFC) amounting to over 40 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. This equates to around 10kg of R404A, a common refrigerant in medium sized systems. Smaller and hermetically sealed systems, eg ice-cream freezers, bottle coolers, stand-alone retail displays, should be unaffected by this ban. Commonly used refrigerants that will be subject to this ban include but are not limited to R404A and R507A.
The ban is likely to affect your business if you have refrigeration or freezer units using HFC refrigerants in the following categories:
- condensing units, eg commercial display cabinets, blast chillers and freezers used in small shops, convenience stores and food service
- central pack systems, eg used in supermarkets and other large stores
You can check which category your system falls into and which refrigerant it uses with your refrigeration manufacturer or certified maintenance technician.
Steps your business can take
You should prepare now for the ban by:
- calculating the carbon dioxide equivalent of your refrigerant
- asking your refrigeration service provider or maintenance technician for advice on what steps you can take to manage the impacts of the EU- F-gas Regulation
Options to align your business activities with the ban include switching to:
- reclaimed and recycled HFC refrigerants, which are exempt from the servicing ban until 2030
- low GWP refrigerants that are not covered by the 2020 service ban - this will usually involve replacing or retrofitting your existing system
- an alternative refrigeration system - the Enhanced Capital Allowance Scheme may help with the cost of switching