While there still hasn’t been a formal amendment added to the Montreal Protocol to phase out HFC refrigerants across the world there are many countries that are taking pro-active steps to phase out HFC refrigerants such as R-410A, R-404A, and R-134a. The United States announced phase-out measures that they would be taking in the summer of 2015. The European Union has been even more proactive and has already completely phased out R-134a refrigerant across their various countries.
Australia has now committed to phase down their HFC refrigerant usage by eighty-five percent by the year 2036. This scheduled phasedown will begin in the year 2018 and is predicted to be completed over an eighteen year period. The Montreal Protocol’s HFC amendment is expected to pass towards the end of 2016 and implementation to begin in 2018 or 2019. Australia is just getting a head start before the mandate is pushed down to the rest of the world.
At this time the go to replacement products are HFO refrigerants such as 1234YF or Natural Refrigerants such as CO2. New HFOs are being developed to this very day by companies like Honeywell and Chemours. Using natural refrigerants, like CO2, is ironic for us as when the refrigeration market was first being developed CO2 was one of the FIRST refrigerants used in large commercial buildings like movie theatres. When refrigerant was discovered, a much cheaper alternative, CO2 began to go away and be replaced by the much cheaper R-12 and eventually R-22.
Even though it seems we just started using HFC refrigerants, and regardless what anyone thinks about them, the world powers have deemed that HFCs are bad and that they will be going away over the next decade. The question is are you, or your business, ready for the change?