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F-gas quota cuts will hit heat pump ambitions

The leading European associations have called on the European Commission to rethink its accelerated HFC phase down proposals or risk jeopardising the switch to heat pumps.

In one of its lead stories, the Cooling Post revealed that DG Clima, the Commission’s department responsible for formulating proposals for the revision of the F-gas regulation was planning a steeper phase down in quotas, starting with a potential 50% cut from 2024.

In a joint statement, the manufacturers group, EPEE, the European contractor’s association, AREA, and the European Heat Pump Association (EHPA) have expressed the concern that any new measure in the F-gas revision that would limit “in a foreseeable future” the availability or choice of refrigerants would slow down the speed at which heat pump equipment could be deployed.

It is known that the Commission wishes to accelerate the phase down of fluorinated gases to meet Europe’s climate neutrality ambitions and a requirement to bring the regulation into line with the Montreal Protocol. The Cooling Post revealed that the revision proposals, which are due to be published next month, will seek a near 50% cut in current quotas in 2024, followed by an even larger percentage step down in 2027 to just 10.01% of the 2015 baseline.

This, the leading European associations argue, would run counter to the recognised urgency to accelerate the deployment of heat pumps, both from the aspect of the EU’s 2030 climate and energy goals and in view of recent geopolitical developments.

“We call on the European Commission to calibrate its upcoming F-gas revision proposal with this urgency. F-gases, such as HFCs, are needed as refrigerants in our technologies,” the groups maintain in their statement.

“Modelling performed by the sector shows that the current HFC phase-down quotas of the existing F-gas regulation would already pose a challenge for the task to install the 50 million heat pumps necessary to implement the 2030 target. The modelling further shows that the greenhouse gas emissions from F-gases in heat pump equipment are very small when compared with the emissions that can be saved by replacing fossil fuel heating with heat pumps.”

The groups claim that the model used to prepare the F-gas regulation revision suggests a “maximum substitution scenario” which would lead to significantly reduced quantities for HFC refrigerants in the coming years.

“While refrigerants with lower or lowest global warming potential are the best choice for some applications in some sub-sectors, the complexity of refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump technologies and applications requires a full range of refrigerants (including significant quantities of HFCs) to speed up their massive deployment in a safe and highly efficient manner,” the statement says.

“Any new measure in the revised F-Gas Regulation that would limit in a foreseeable future the availability or the choice of refrigerants (bans, stricter quotas) would necessarily slow down the speed at which heat-pump equipment will be deployed.”

Source: Cooling Post