Refrigerants with GWP > 2500; Supply in 2020

European F-Gas legislation banned the use of refrigerants with a GWP of 2500 and above from January 1st 2020 in stationary refrigeration applications for new equipment and servicing. Reclaimed and Recycled product is exempt from this ban and can continue to be used until 2030, if available.

Refrigerants with a GWP above 2500 include: R507, R404A, R422A&D, R434A, R428A, FREON MO89, R508B and R23. Further exemptions allow for continued use of virgin product for service where a system charge is below 40 CO2 equivalent tonnes (see table below) and systems which cool product below -50°C (usually R508B, R23 and FREON MO89). When Quotas tightened in 2021, availability and price may become more difficult. Chemours and Honeywell have both announced they will no longer supply R404A and R507.

Although Reclaimed refrigerant can be used for servicing existing equipment until 2030, the availability of some of these products may be limited and will depend on how much is converted or replaced.

In dealing with equipment still using one of these refrigerants there are a number of options for the owner/operator of the equipment. The first consideration should be to replace the equipment. If there is no plan to replace the equipment in the very near future, then the next consideration should be to retrofit to an alternative refrigerant if suitable.

Generally, if the system is dx then it can be retrofitted to an alternative refrigerant with a lower GWP. DX Retrofit options for R404A, R507 and R422A are: R448A, R449A, R442A and R452A in some limited circumstances. (in the case of R422A some systems will have mineral oil and this would need to be replaced with a POE oil)

DX Retrofit options for R422D are: R438A, R453A (same oil type) and if a system can take additional pressure R448A or
R449A are further options but will need to be change to POE oil if not already used.

DX Retrofit options for R434A are R442A, R448A and R449A, again system pressure may need to be checked and a change to POE oil if not already being used.

If the system is an LPR, retrofit to the same options as Dx systems may be possible. For flooded and pumped circulation systems there is a risk of component shift in the event of a leak. There are several pumped and flooded systems which have been converted, but as yet have not suffered leaks and therefore cannot be fully evaluated. For Flooded, pump circulation and LPR, retrofit options are limited and need to be evaluated on a case by case basis. R428A systems are usually fully flooded systems.

Retrofitting existing dx equipment can free up product for those systems that cannot be retrofitted. We offer a reprocessing service to bring the product back up to ARI standards where the moisture content is less than 10 ppm, once re-processed as reclaimed refrigerant it can then be stored for call off and or put into standard cylinders and kept on site.

The availability of reclaimed refrigerants over the coming years can only come from refrigerant that is returned from existing systems, so if people do not continue with retrofits and replacing older systems availability may become problematic.

With the next cut in quota in 2021 it is important to encourage end users to retrofit systems that are suitable as current pricing and availability is good for the replacement refrigerants, delaying retrofits until next year could push demand up at a critical time and create shortages.

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