The EC Ozone Regulation has been recast and the new Regulation (EC/1005/2009) provides the legislative framework for EU Member States to meet their obligations under the Montreal Protocol, the international agreement drawn up to halt damage to the ozone layer. To assist our clients that still have/use air-conditioning and/or refrigeration (RAC) systems containing HCFC’s (hydrochloroflurorocarbon), such as R22 or R408A, we have drafted the information letter, below. If you have any questions regarding R22, please get in touch with our team.
There were two key phase-out dates: From 1st January 2010 - UK and EU legislation has made it illegal to use any virgin HCFC’s during the maintenance or servicing RAC equipment. Only reclaimed or recycled HCFCs could be used until the 1st January 2015.
Supplies of recycled or reclaimed HCFCs might be very limited and very expensive. After the 1st January 2015, it became illegal to use any HCFCs to service RAC equipment – recycled or reclaimed HCFC may no longer be used. The ban on the use of HCFC gases represents a very real business threat to any company which uses refrigerants such as R22 in their processes or air-conditioning systems. Sectors at greatest risk include the food and drink industry, petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, health, retail, hospitality, finance, and data-processing.
Typical applications can vary widely, but examples include refrigeration systems in shop and supermarkets, blast chillers, cold stores and process coolers and many types of building air-conditioning as well as transport refrigeration. Many of these applications are absolutely critical to the continued operation of their owner’s business.
The bans above refer to the “use” of HCFCs. In terms of considering what action(s) needs to be taken it should be noted that ‘use’ in relation to equipment containing HCFCs means:- “The utilisation of controlled substances in the production or maintenance, in particular, refilling, of products or equipment”.
In plain English, this means that it will be permissible to carry on using RAC equipment that contains HCFC beyond the final phase-out date, but there must be no maintenance or servicing undertaken that involves breaking into the refrigerant circuits. Given that most RAC systems leak to a certain degree, in practical terms this implies that any equipment that is of strategic importance to a business should not be using HCFCs by 2015, so all current users of HCFC systems must develop a plan to manage their operations after the phase-out date.
The recast EC Ozone Regulations (EC/1005/2009) includes an important distinction between “recovered”, “recycled” and “reclaimed” HCFC gases:- Recovered HCFC – is a refrigerant that has been collected from equipment and stored during maintenance or servicing or before disposal. Recovered HCFC can only be reused in the equipment that it was collected (recovered) from. “Recovered” HCFC needs to be “recycled” or “reclaimed” to be used in other equipment. Recycled HCFC – is recovered HCFC gas that has been subjected to only a basic cleaning process. Recycled HCFCs may only be used either by the undertaking that carried out the “recovery” (in most cases the refrigeration contractor) or the undertaking for which the “recovery” was carried out (the equipment owner). Reclaimed HCFC – is recovered HCFC gas that has been chemically reprocessed to a specified standard. Reclaimed HCFC can be placed on the wider market and used by undertakings other than the original contractor and owner.
Those recovering HCFCs for “recycling” or “reclaiming” should also consider the following points if they intend to store the HCFCs on-site:- The holder - should ensure that cylinders used to store “recovered” HCFCs remain within their statutory pressure test validation period. Recovered HCFCs - pending “recycling” or “reclaiming” are hazardous waste. Therefore “recovered” HCFCs should be handled as hazardous waste as required under the Hazardous Waste Regulations. Facilities storing “recovered” HCFCs must register with the Environment Agency as exempt waste operation. This will allow storage of up to 18 Tonne for a maximum period of six months.
Storage of “recycled” or “reclaimed” HCFCs does not require a permit. Should you require further information about the phase-out of HCFCs, or wish to discuss what should be considered by your business before the final phase-out date to safeguard the continued use of your RAC equipment or processes, then please do not hesitate to contact Super Cool Central Limited.