GEA helps customers tackle F-Gas refrigerant legislation challenges (2023)


Trade press release


16 Dec 2019

The new European Union (EU) regulation on the use of partially fluorinated hydrocarbons (HFCs) in refrigeration systems (F-Gas Regulation) has significant implications for manufacturers, operators of refrigeration and air conditioning systems and heat pumps, as well as for service providers who, for example, offer maintenance and service for these systems.

GEA helps customers tackle F-Gas refrigerant legislation challenges (1)

GEA created in co-operation with the customer coming from the food industry a cooling solution with the use of ammonia. (Photo: GEA)

These can include necessary new installations, conversions and the use of alternative refrigerants. Other countries also stressed at the UN Climate Action Summit in September 2019 in New York that they wanted to join the regulations. GEA, one of the world's technology and innovation leaders in the development of environmentally friendly, economical solutions in the field of refrigeration, heat pump and air conditioning technology, points customers should be planning to replace refrigerants that have Global Warming Potential (GWP) of above 2500 as they will be banned under the European F-Gas legislation in certain static refrigeration applications. Reclaimed and re-processed refrigerant can continue to be used for servicing of existing equipment until 2030 but is likely to become costly and in short supply (as seen already and previously experienced with the phase out of r22).

(Video) Webinar - The revision of the F-gas regulation

Definitions of terms: What are F-Gases and what is meant by Global Warming Potential (GWP)?

The term "F-gases" stands for fluorinated greenhouse gases and is a collective term for partially fluorinated hydrocarbons (HFC), perfluorinated hydrocarbons (PFC), sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) and nitrogen trifluoride (NF3). They contribute to the depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer, which in turn leads to global warming. GWP stands for “global warming or global warming potential” of a substance. The GWP value of a refrigerant defines its relative global warming potential in relation to CO₂ (also known as the CO₂ equivalent). The value describes the global warming effect over a certain period of time, usually more than 100 years for refrigerants. The higher the GWP value, the more harmful the substance is to the climate. To illustrate this, here is an example calculation. The CO₂ equivalent of the common refrigerant R134a over a period of 100 years is 1,430. This means that one kilogram of R134a contributes 1,430 times as much to the greenhouse effect as one kilogram of CO₂ within the first 100 years after its release. The release of 1 kg R134a therefore corresponds to the release of 1,430 kg CO₂.

What does the EU want to achieve with this new regulation?

The EU's new F-Gas Regulation is a contribution to reducing industrial sector emissions by 79 percent by 2030, using 1990 as a baseline. The new regulations aim to reduce emissions of fluorinated greenhouse gases (F-gases) in the EU by 70 million tons of CO₂equivalent to 35 million tons of CO₂equivalent by 2030. The reduction of emissions of fluorinated greenhouse gases is to be achieved through three main regulatory approaches:

  1. the introduction of a phased reduction (phase-down) of the quantities of partially fluorinated hydrocarbons (HFCs) available on the market to one-fifth of today's sales volumes (100 % starting value in 2015 based on average CO₂ equivalent between 2009 to 2012) by 2030,
  2. to ban use and placing on the market where technically feasible, more climate-friendly alternatives are available.
  3. maintaining and supplementing the rules on leak testing, certification, disposal and labelling. In particular, the new F-Gas-V is intended to create an incentive to use alternatives instead of F-gases.

Overview of the regulations

In concrete terms, this means that HFCs may continue to be used, but will become less and less available over the coming years and their use in commercial and industrial refrigeration will be subject to the following restrictions:

  • From January 1, 2020, the use of “virgin” HFCs with a GWP value of ≥ 2500 in new stationary refrigeration systems will be banned. With a GWP value of 3920, R404A falls under this ban, as does R-507, unless the operating temperature is below -50 °C. As a further consequence, the use of HFCs with a GWP value ≥ 2500 for the maintenance and servicing of refrigeration systems with a filling quantity equivalent to 40 t CO2 or more (that would be around 10 kg R404A) is prohibited from January 1, 2020.
  • From January 1, 2020, the use of HFCs with a GWP value ≥ 2500 in new hermetically sealed cooling units for commercial use is prohibited. In 2022, the GWP value may then amount to a maximum of 150.
  • As of January 1, 2022, HFCs with a GWP value ≥ 150 are prohibited in new hermetically sealed cooling units with a capacity of 40 kW or more, with the exception of the main circuit of cascade systems whose refrigerant must have a GWP value below 1500.
  • From January 1, 2022, it is no longer permitted to place cooling units for commercial use with the refrigerant R134a on the market. By 2025, further products, such as stationary refrigeration systems or mono-split air conditioners, with particularly climate-damaging F-gases will gradually be withdrawn from the market.
  • By the year 2030, the GWP-weighted HFC quantity that may be placed on the market annually will be reduced to exactly 21% of its current value. Possible consequences of this "phase-down" could be price increases or a shortage of refrigerants.
  • Until January 1, 2030, however, under certain conditions, reprocessed and recycled fluorinated greenhouse gases may still be used for the maintenance or servicing of existing refrigeration systems. This would limit the service life of the R404A system to around 15 years if the refrigerant were not to be replaced.

GEA helps customers tackle F-Gas refrigerant legislation challenges (2)

(Video) A2L Refrigerants Webinar - English

Recommendation of the GEA expert

David Blankley, GEA Product Manager Cooling, Director Cooling Application, explains: "The deadline for switching to environmentally friendly refrigerants is approaching. Most cooling systems that use greenhouse gases need to be replaced by those that can handle natural refrigerants, such as ammonia, CO₂or hydrocarbons. Ammonia, for example, is a natural refrigerant that has no effect on global warming or ozone depletion," says Blankley. It also complies with global legislation. For the GEA expert, one thing is certain: "Food companies should take action sooner rather than later as time is running out to install the new natural refrigerant based systems, needed to reduce their environmental impact, and it is not possible in the vast majority of cases to retrofit an F-gas system with a natural gas, especially ammonia. We have been helping customers with natural refrigerants-based refrigeration compressors already since 1918, and we are continuing to help our customers to tackle their challenges together.”

Example of a GEA cooling solution in food industry

There is a good example how GEA helps its customers with its expertise in the cooling business. In the UK, GEA has already installed a large ammonia-based system for a major food manufacturer and retailer with mechanical and absorption cooling, contributing to the supply of one of the most energy efficient frozen food distribution centers in Europe. A customer coming from the food industry, wanted to build a new cold store. The question was what refrigerant to use. The refrigerant should be economically and ecologically sensible. The strength and expertise of GEA is the total design of a plant. And so GEA created a solution with ammonia.

Robert Unsworth, Head of Sales (Refrigeration) for GEA UK explains the design of this state-of-the art plant design: The ammonia absorber in the system returns its heat to a common condensation system, which allows recovery for both underfloor heating and defrosting. This significantly reduces other associated waste streams such as cooling tower water, chemicals, waste water, fans and pump capacity. Heat is also recovered for underfloor heating by subcooling ammonia, which not only provides free heat but also improves compressor efficiency.

”Typically, in a food storage environment, up to 90% of energy consumption is used for refrigeration; while this operation has a refrigeration capacity equivalent to 12,000 household freezers, the system consumes less than a third of the energy consumed by the two cold stores it replaces in size comparison. In addition, water and chemical consumption has been reduced by 86%, equivalent to the annual water savings of eleven Olympic swimming pools”. Unsworth believes food manufacturers should not delay switching to cooling systems that can reduce their emissions and power bills, citing an ammonia plant (especially a centralised one) as significantly more efficient than cold stores using greenhouse gases. Or, as he put it, the difference between driving an old car belching out pollutants because it gets you from A to B, when you have been offered a shiny new Hybrid model with twice the miles per gallon (km/l).

Unsworth highly encourages manufacturers to act now, explaining, “If cold stores, factories or freezers are using any of the gases that will be banned from the end of 2019 or latest 2030 – depending on the type of system – a leak could prove devastating as companies may not be able to mitigate the issue in time to avoid extended down time in production. GEA offers customers a total solution, which when coupled with a heat pump, means fewer boilers are required for generating heat and that this heat, or energy, can be reused instead of being wasted.” A heat pump is a much more environmentally friendly and economical solution than conventional heating alternatives. Industry, municipalities and homeowners have been using it for heating applications for many years. The food industry is now increasingly recognizing the significant financial and environmental benefits of using heat pumps in production processes, especially those that require heat for preparation and subsequent cooling. "GEA, one of the world's leading suppliers of high-tech refrigeration equipment and solutions, is here to help companies comply with the new legislation to reduce CO₂ emissions and to leverage the energy savings that heat pump technology affords. If you are forced to invest as a result of changes in legislation, then adding a heat pump gives you a return on investment and the opportunity to recover these costs to your business more quickly" Unsworth explains.

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With more than 18,000 employees working across five divisions and 62 countries, the group generated revenues of more than EUR 4.7 billion in fiscal year 2021. GEA plants, processes, components and services enhance the efficiency and sustainability of production processes across the globe. They contribute significantly to the reduction of CO2 emissions, plastic usage and food waste. In doing so, GEA makes a key contribution toward a sustainable future, in line with the company’s purpose: "Engineering for a better world". GEA is listed in the German MDAX and the STOXX® Europe 600 Index and is also among the companies comprising the DAX 50 ESG and MSCI Global Sustainability Indices.

Press Releases


What is the F gas regulations? ›

The F gas Regulation bans the use of F gases in certain applications and sets requirements for leak checks, leakage repairs and recovery of used gas. In addition, the F gas Regulation requires that all technicians handling F gases must be trained in their safe use and certified.

What is the HFC refrigerant regulation? ›

Section 608 of the Clean Air Act was established to prohibit intentional venting of ozone depleting refrigerants (CFCs and HCFCs) and their substitutes (HFCs) while maintaining, servicing, repairing, or disposing of air-conditioning or refrigeration equipment.

Which F gas is being phased out? ›

Refrigerants: F gases banned in new products
Type of F gasBanned uses
Hydrofluorocarbons ( HFCs ) and perfluorocarbons ( PFCs )Non-confined direct evaporation systems (where refrigerant can escape into the atmosphere)
HFCsDomestic fridges and freezers
HFCsStationary refrigeration equipment
2 more rows

What refrigerants are banned? ›

In 1928, ChloroFluoroCarbon (CFC) refrigerants were created.

Decades later, scientists discovered the chlorine in CFC & HCFC refrigerants was damaging to the ozone layer. As a result, R-22 was banned and phased out of production worldwide.

What is the problem with F gases? ›

F-gases are often used as substitutes for ozone-depleting substances because they do not damage the atmospheric ozone layer. However, F-gases are powerful greenhouse gases, with an even higher warming potential than carbon dioxide (CO2). They thus contribute greatly to climate change.

What is Regulation 26 9 of the Gas Safety Installation and Use Regulations 1998? ›

Note 2: Regulation 26 (9) requires that where a person performs work on a gas appliance the following checks shall be made: The effectiveness of any flue. the supply of combustion air. Its operating pressure or heat input or, where necessary, both.

What is the difference between HC and HFC refrigerant? ›

Consequence on Global Warming

The difference between using a HC (natural) refrigerant vs. a HFC refrigerant is massive. In the graph, the test products are the same, however the difference in CO2e emission is times 1000 when using HFC refrigerants compared to natural refrigerants (HC).

What are 4 examples of HFC refrigerants? ›

Common HFC refrigerants are R-32, R- 125, R134a, R-143a, and R-152a. A blend that contains different HFCs is considered an HFC refrigerant.

What temperature is HFC refrigerant? ›

Both new and retrofitted existing systems can use this hydrofluorocarbon (HFC), which works as retrofit refrigerant for medical freezers and environmental chambers applications requiring very low temperatures (VLT)—below -40 to -73 °C (-40 to -100 °F).

Where is F gas used? ›

Common uses for F-gases include those in refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment, aerosols, solvents, foam blowing agents, firefighting fluids, high voltage switchgear, and medical equipment and products - such as inhalers and scanners.

What does F gas stand for? ›

Fluorinated greenhouse gases (F gases) include: hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) perfluorocarbons (PFCs)

Is R134a an F gas? ›

The most common f-gases are hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). These gases include R134a, R404A and R410A and are used in refrigera- tion and air conditioning, foam blowing and propellant applica- tions.

What is the new refrigerant in 2023? ›

What is the new HVAC refrigerant type in 2023? R-454b is a more environmentally friendly alternative to R-410a. The industry change will create much lower global warming potential.

What is the most harmful refrigerant? ›

CFCs and HCFCs are the most harmful because they contain chlorine. These refrigerants are also relatively stable, meaning they don't get destroyed easily by rain or sunlight. This makes it more likely that they will reach the stratosphere, where the ozone layer is.

What is the most toxic refrigerant? ›

The most common toxic refrigerant is ammonia, and you would generally only find it in old appliances or large industrial applications. Propane (R290) is a flammable refrigerant and is becoming quite popular in small self-contained refrigeration units like vending machines and reach-in coolers.

What is an example of F-gas? ›

Fluorinated greenhouse gases (F gases) can significantly contribute to global warming if released into the atmosphere. Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), Perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and Sulphur Hexafluoride (SF6) are all types of F gas.

Can fluorinated gases be destroyed? ›

Many fluorinated gases are removed from the atmosphere only when they are destroyed by sunlight in the upper atmosphere. In general, fluorinated gases are the most potent and longest lasting type of greenhouse gases emitted by human activities.

What are the environmental impacts of F-gases? ›

Effects of F-gas emissions

F-gases have a very high Greenhouse Warming Potential (“GWP”), much higher than carbon dioxide, and contribute to rising global temperatures. EU legislation therefore requires that the use of F-gases is restricted and monitored.

What is Reg 35 of the Gas Safety Installation and Use Regulations 1998? ›

35. It shall be the duty of every employer or self-employed person to ensure that any gas appliance, installation pipework or flue installed at any place of work under his control is maintained in a safe condition so as to prevent risk of injury to any person.

What is the Regulation 6 gas? ›

General safety precautions

6. —(1) No person shall carry out any work in relation to a gas fitting in such a manner that gas could be released unless steps are taken to prevent the gas so released constituting a danger to any person.

What is Regulation 26? ›

Regulation 26 – Temporary approval of a relative, friend or other person connected with C. Regulation 27 – Expiry of temporary approval. Regulation 28 – Temporary approval of a particular prospective adopter as a foster parent. Regulation 29 – Independent fostering agencies – discharge of authority functions.

Which is better CFC or HFC? ›

Because they contain hydrogen, HCFCs break down more easily in the atmosphere than do CFCs. Therefore, HCFCs have less ozone depletion potential, in addition to less global-warming potential. HFCs do not contain chlorine and do not contribute to destruction of stratospheric ozone.

Is CO2 better than HFC refrigerant? ›

HFC (R404A) operates at discharge temperatures reaching 150°F (65°C). This enables preheating of water to 125 to 130°F (51 to 54°C) using conventional heat recovery methods. CO2/R744 systems can recover up to 100 percent of the rejected heat as well as operate as a heat pump.

What is replacing HFC? ›

In chillers, hydrocarbons and ammonia are safe and energy-efficient alternatives to HFCs, both under moderate and high ambient temperature conditions.

What are the main 3 refrigerant groups? ›

Types of Refrigerants
  • Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), including R12. This is known to contribute to the greenhouse gas effect. ...
  • Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), including R22. ...
  • Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), including R410A and R134.

What is the most common refrigerant used today? ›

R-134a is one of the world's most used refrigerants, widely embedded in automotive, commercial and residential air conditioning systems, across the world. R-32 is another commonly used, as an attractive lower GWP solution for air conditioning.

What are the disadvantages of HFC? ›

HFCs are a greenhouse gas, and so emitting them contributes to global warming. While in volume their emission rate is much lower than other gases, they're thought to have an effect over a hundred times worse than carbon dioxide.

Do all air conditioners use HFCs? ›

Are There HFCs in Your Air Conditioning System? If you have a central air conditioning system in your home, chances are good that the refrigerant used includes a man-made chemical substance known as HFCs (hydrofluorocarbons).

Which HFC is used in AC? ›

R134a is a HFC refrigerant (Tetrofluoroethane) commonly used for medium temperature applications such as air conditioning, commercial and domestic refrigeration, and automotive airconditioning. It is non toxic and non flammable.

Do new air conditioners use HFC? ›

R-410A. R-410A is a type of HFC refrigerant that is widely used in newer AC units, replacing older HCFC coolants.

What hazards are associated with handling fluorinated gas? ›


* Fluorine can affect you when breathed in and by passing through your skin. * Contact can cause severe eye and skin irritation and burns leading to permanent eye damage. * Breathing Fluorine can irritate the nose and throat.

What are the uses of HFC gas? ›

Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are a type of synthetic greenhouse gas, mostly used in refrigeration and air conditioning equipment. HFCs generally have a high global warming potential which means they have a greater ability to trap heat in the atmosphere compared to a similar mass of carbon dioxide.

What are the sources of HFC emissions? ›

They are primarily produced for use in refrigeration, air-conditioning, insulating foams and aerosol propellants, with minor uses as solvents and for fire protection. Most HFCs are contained within equipment, so emissions are the result of wear, faulty maintenance, or leakage at the end of a product's lifetime.

What is an F-gas engineer? ›

An F Gas engineer is someone whose gained F Gas certification so can legally work on appliances containing related refrigerants, including air conditioning and heat pump systems.

How long does fluorinated gases stay in the atmosphere? ›

Major Long-Lived Greenhouse Gases and Their Characteristics
Greenhouse gasAverage lifetime in the atmosphere
Carbon dioxidesee below*
Methane11.8 years
Nitrous oxide109 years
Fluorinated gasesA few weeks to thousands of years
Aug 1, 2022

Is F gas used in air conditioning? ›

F gases are fluorinated gases that include HCFCs, HFCs and CFCs used in refrigerated applications and equipment, including air conditioning. Certain F gases have been proven to deplete the ozone layer, whilst others directly contribute to greenhouse gases associated with global warming.

What is the GWP limit for F gas? ›

The F-gas Regulation (EC) No 517/2014 Article 13 states: (3) From 1 January 2020, the use of fluorinated greenhouse gases, with a global warming potential of 2500 or more, to service or maintain refrigeration equipment with a charge size of 40 tonnes of CO2 equivalent or more, shall be prohibited.

Is F gas a refrigerant? ›

Fluorinated gases (F-gases) are man-made substances that fall into three groups, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs, perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and Sulphur hexafluoride (SF6. They are used widely as refrigerants, solvents, insulators and in fire extinguishers and aerosols.

Will R-410A be available after 2023? ›

Although R-410a will be available for equipment repairs over the next few decades, no new air conditioners or heat pumps will contain R-410a beginning in 2023 [LINK:]. You do not have to replace any equipment because of the new refrigerant changes. A well-maintained AC system will last 15 to 20 years.

What will replace R-410A in 2023? ›

What is Replacing R410a Refrigerants? R410a is scheduled for elimination from all new systems in 2023. Daikin has announced R-32 as the ideal choice to replace R-410A in the Americas and around the world for many of its key products.

What is the new refrigerant for 2024? ›

These approved changes, which go into effect with the 2024 IBC, IFC and IMC, permit the use of A2L refrigerants for human comfort uses, consistent with industry standards, and will help to facilitate the phasedown of HFCs following EPA rules.

Will R-410A be banned? ›

This means that consumers can continue to use their existing AC and HVAC units and not have to replace them, or replace the R410-A refrigerant that they use with A2L. However, the EPA has proposed banning the use of R410-A in new air conditioners and heat pumps by January 1, 2025.

How much worse is Freon than co2? ›

The most common refrigerant today, R-22, has a 100-year GWP of 1,810, almost 2,000 times the potency of carbon dioxide, so just one pound of R-22 is nearly as potent as a ton of carbon dioxide.

Which refrigerant is highly flammable? ›

R-22a is a hydrocarbon refrigerant blend with primary components including flammable substances such as propane and butane. In some cases, it may also contain small amounts of other hydrocarbons or a pine-scented odorant. This refrigerant is a highly flammable, colorless gas that is heavier than air.

Which US states are HFC regulated? ›

New York and Maryland adopted bans on HFC-containing products and equipment. As of April 26, 2021 three additional states have finalized their HFC rules: Virginia, Massachusetts, and Delaware.

What year will HFC-134a be unacceptable? ›

HFC-134a: a Potent Greenhouse Gas

HFC-134a will no longer be approved for use in new light-duty vehicles manufactured or sold in the United States as of model year 2021 as a result of EPA's July 2015 final rule under SNAP (July 20, 2015, 80 FR 42870 ).

Are HFC refrigerants being phased out? ›

Refrigerants affected. Among the HFCs and HFC-blend refrigerants affected by the regulations are several that are familiar to facility managers: R-404A, R-134a, and R-410A and R-407C, used to replace R-22. Under the rules, new chillers would no longer be produced using these refrigerants after Jan. 1, 2024.

Is HFC refrigerant banned? ›

Unfortunately, releases of HCFCs deplete the Earth's protective ozone layer and contribute to climate change. R-22 is an HCFC refrigerant that is often used in air-conditioning equipment. To protect the Earth's protective ozone layer, the United States is phasing out R-22, along with other chemicals.

What is the aim act? ›

Inflation Reduction Act – AIM Act Grants

Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are potent greenhouse gases (GHGs) intentionally developed as replacements for ozone-depleting substances (ODS) in the refrigeration, air conditioning, aerosols, fire suppression, and foam blowing sectors.

Is lending regulated in the US? ›

Financial institutions, financial markets, and financial products in the United States are largely overseen by federal agencies and subject to federal laws. The major exception is the insurance industry, which is regulated primarily by the individual states.

Are HFC legal in California? ›

In addition to the ban on sales of bulk HFC refrigerants, the bill prohibits California from using non-reclaimed HFCs with GWP greater than 750 to fix leaks on service stationary equipment owned or operated by the state, starting January 1, 2025.

Is HFC and R134a the same? ›

R-134a freon

Also referred to as HFC-134a, this freon is a hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerant. This chemical compound includes carbon, fluorine and hydrogen atoms. These atoms are connected by single bonds.

What will replace HFC refrigerants? ›

Condensing units
SubstanceReplacement for
Natural refrigerantsR290 (propane) R744 (CO2) R717 (ammonia)R134a, R404A, R407A R134a, R404A, R407A R134a, R404A, R407A
HFC-HFO blendsR448A R449A R452A* R454C R513AR404A R404A R404A R404A


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