European Regulation of Refrigerants for Commercial Refrigerators
The European project ProCold promotes energy efficient commercial refrigerating appliances as well as products dealing solely with climate-friendly refrigerants. EU Member States have committed themselves to a gradual regulation of substances essential for cooling. From 2022 onwards, climate-friendly refrigerants with low global warming potential will be available for use.
Twenty years ago almost all countries in the world committed themselves to restrict the use of ozone depletion substances. By virtue of its scope and implementation, the Montreal Protocol is considered a unique example of international collaboration. Freons, which were used as refrigerants and solvents in the past, also belong among controlled substances. The Czech Republic has successfully reduced or even stopped using these ozone depleting substances in a significant manner. Another challenge is regulation of substances (e.g. perfluorocarbons), which significantly contribute to the global climate change caused by global warming. Perfluorocarbons belong among greenhouse gasses and their potential of global warming (PGW) is very high. These substances are also called F-gasses and involve the following substances often used as refrigerants: R134a (GWP 1300), R404A (GWP 3300).
EU Member States agreed to control perfluorocarbons as early as in 2006 by adopting Regulation 842/2006. The first perfluorocarbons regulation focused primarily on gas leakage and recycling. Today two regulations exist under the EU, one focusing on mobile air conditioning in cars (2006/40/ES) and the other pertaining to other areas of greenhouse gasses use (517/2014). The first regulation involves prohibition to use gases whose GWP is higher than 150. The second regulation is rather complex and entails a significant change in the field of industrial and commercial cooling. The crucial changes concern strict leakage checking, recordkeeping and prohibition on the use of high GWP refrigerants.
The market offering commercial refrigerators and freezers lags behind household refrigerating appliances in the area of natural refrigerants use. Refrigerants with relatively low impact on the climate (GWP has to be less than 150 since 2015) are used for household refrigerators and freezers. Most often the refrigerants R600a or R290 are used. However, for commercial refrigerators this will not be required until 2022 and by 2020 all commercial refrigerating appliances must have refrigerants with GWP less than 2,500. Commercial refrigerating appliances with climate-friendly refrigerants are available in most sizes (except large open refrigerating chests and freezers). At present, neither Czech nor other European producers of refrigerating chests use climate-friendly refrigerants with low GWP in most cases. Nevertheless, there are several producers who gradually extend their range of products and are starting to use products with climate-friendly refrigerants. These producers should serve as a positive example.
The European project ProCold promotes energy efficient commercial refrigerating appliances using climate-friendly refrigerants which will be obligatory from 2022. One of the major tasks of this project is regular updating of the list of energy efficient commercial refrigerators and freezers available on the European market. The main categories include storage refrigerators and freezers, beverage refrigerators, minibars, wine refrigerators and refrigerator showcases. Any refrigerating product satisfying the transparency criteria can be added to the list of energy efficient commercial refrigerators and freezers.
The list of products is available at www.uspornespotrebice.cz/komercni-chladnicky (in Czech), further information in English: www.pro-cold.eu
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