What is the impact of illegal refrigerants?
The illegal trade of hydrofluruocarbons (HFCs) is a real issue within the EU market. We take a look at the real impact of illegal refrigerants and what activity is taking place to stop it.
The current situation of illegal trade
In Europe alone, the black market of illegal refrigerant gas is thriving. Each year, up to 34 millions tonnes CO2 equivalent are illegally exported in the EU. This equates to 33% of the annual legally-allowed quota.
As a result of the high global warming potential (GWP) of some HFC refrigerants, their use is being phased down with quotas. These encourage a shift to produce and purchase low GWP alternatives.
However, criminals illegally import additional quantities of HFCs and banned refrigerants to circumnavigate the quotas.
The real impact of illegal refrigerants
The illegal import of HFCs and refrigerants has a number of implications; financial, environmental, physical.
Financially, illegal refrigerants have an impact on both consumers and manufacturers. Sold on the black market, the price of illegal HFCs is usually below market average. This drives down the price of genuine refrigerants sold by manufacturers. Consumers also face an additional cost of replacing illegal purchased refrigerants.
The aim of the F-Gas regulations and worldwide proposals is to reduce the volume of high GWP gases and their impact on the environment. Illegal trade undermines the purpose of working to reverse climate change, leaving an environmental impact.
Lastly, the physical impacts of illegal refrigerants are the most devastating. Because illegal refrigerants are unregulated, the products can be composed of unsafe elements. As a result, the use of them in existing systems often results in physical injury and even fatalities. Again, this can result in a further financial impact on companies with costs incurred for system repairs, medical care and insurance claims.
Saying no to illegal HFCs
The European FluoroCarbons Technical Committee (EFCTC), a sector group of European Chemical Industry Council, is represented by the 5 major HFC manufacturers including Koura. The purpose of the EFCTC is to raise awareness of illegal trade and promote initiatives to end illegal activity.
This year, the EFCTC launched a pledge to stop the illegal trade of HFCs and to #SayNoToIllegalHFCS. So far, over 200 organisations have joined the pledge, with a continued campaign for more.
While, HFC manufacturers such as Koura have invested in creating product verification systems that allow customers to validate the products they receive. Encrypted holograms and sequential bar codes are just some of the ways we are working to ensure customers have peace of mind that they have purchase and received a genuine Klea® refrigerant product.
The future of refrigerants
The F-Gas regulations and phase down of quotas has a sole purpose of encouraging HFC manufacturers to develop low GWP offerings. In order to support the phase down, we’ve developed a range of low GWP refrigerants, also designed to deliver a significantly improved performance.
LFR3 has been developed as low GWP alternative to CO2, designed to operate with 15-20% less pressure and 20% more energy efficiency. It’s suitable for a range of applications; heat pump systems, commercial refrigeration, cold-chain and transport refrigeration and vehicle air conditioning.
Whereas R-473A is designed specifically for low temperature refrigeration down to -70°C, tested for space refrigeration temperatures of -75°C. It’s suitable for a range of applications, including cold-chain and medical storage.
Samples are available for testing; to find out more and to get in touch with the LFR team, visit our next gen refrigerants.