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Sustainability | HFC refrigerants phase down causes extreme price increases

HFC refrigerants phase down causes extreme price increases

What should we use now?

- by Jeroen Fijan, 25 July 2017

Earlier we have dealt with the HCFCs, particularly R22, phase-out in the EU and it is also in other countries close to being finalized. In October 2016, the HFC phase down became a part of the Montreal Protocol and many governments are applying measures for reducing high Global Warming Potential (GWP) refrigerants consumption, such as GWP weighted taxes. As a result, refrigerant manufacturers increase their prices regularly as they state that end users should switch to lower-GWP alternatives.

Prices for several high-GWP refrigerants have risen sharply this year. Next year, a significant step will be taken in the phase down of authorized HFC volume on the market: the HFC quota is reduced by 37 percent. It is almost certain that there will follow price increases. Not only the prices of refrigerants R404A and R507 are under pressure, also R404A alternative R407A becomes much more expensive and soon the price of R134a will rise by 40 percent.

Fear of serious deficiencies

With these price increases, which lead to a total price increase of more than 62 percent in just one month, the end of price inflations are not yet in sight. Also other refrigerant providers announced similar increases last March and further price increases are expected. This development does not happen at a time when major shortages of high-GWP refrigerants are feared. From these F-gas regulations next year’s F-gas phase-down will be reduced further, up to 63 percent of the 2015 level.

Options left

I can reassure you: your current HVAC and refrigeration system can keep running for years to come. At the moment there is no need to change your refrigerant as your system was built for running on this refrigerant. For new systems, we are looking over the options left. It is impossible to foresee exactly how the market will react to the new mechanisms of the updated F-gas regulative, but below diagram could be a good indication.

 

market-indication-2.jpg

As we expect most high-GWP refrigerants will be phased out over the years, we are now looking over the options to implement low-GWP refrigerants like R1234yf, R1234ze, R449a and natural refrigerants ammonia, carbon dioxide, propane and water in our HVAC and refrigeration systems. Currently we are testing those options which will fit installation on board the best.

Substitutes

When refrigerants cannot be replaced anymore, or it is very expensive to replace it, there are other options available. In below diagram we give options to substitute your current refrigerant. Warning: not all substitutes are drop-in replacement refrigerants.

refrigerant-substitutes-2.jpg

Jeroen Fijan | R&D Manager

Jeroen Fijan has been working at Heinen & Hopman since 2001. He started as a draughtsman and, over the years, worked his way up to the top of the R&D division. Sustainability is a top priority in the quest to improve H&H's products and processes.


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With these price increases, which lead to a total price increase of more than 62 percent in just one month, the end of price inflations are not yet in sight.

Jeroen Fijan

Jeroen Fijan

Jeroen Fijan

- R&D Manager

Jeroen Fijan

Jeroen Fijan

- R&D Manager

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