HFCs

Donald Trump's Affect on the Refrigerant Industry

Well folks I hate to say I told you so, but I will anyways. A lot of people have said that the court’s ruling a few weeks ago that overturned the EPA’s planned phase out of HFC refrigerants wasn’t a big deal. It wasn’t a big deal as we still had the Kigali Amendment on the table. In fact back in November of 2017 a Trump Administration employee, Judith Garber, stated that the administration was in favor of ratifying the amendment. But now, as expected, the tables have turned.

In some statements made yesterday by Trump’s adviser for International Environmental Policy, George David Banks, the intention of the Trump Administration is now unclear. Mr. Banks stated that the Administration was still reviewing and analyzing all of the data and possible outcomes that would come into effect by ratifying the Kigali Amendment. What this means is that they are digging into all of the details and turning over all the rocks to find out exactly what this amendment will do and if it will help or hurt American jobs, how it will affect the trade deficit, and any other potential detrimental effects.

“The president wants to make sure that any international environment agreement does not harm U.S. workers. If the president does decide to support Kigali … it will largely be because he wants to create U.S. jobs.” – George David Banks – Adviser for International Environmental Policy

If they find that this amendment is in fact a benefit to the American economy then I can see this amendment being sent to the Senate to be ratified. (A two-thirds vote would be required for the Senate to ratify.) However, if they find that this is going to hurt jobs and industry then I can see this amendment going the same way as the Paris Climate Deal. For those of you who don’t know Trump pulled out of the Paris Climate Deal in 2017 due to the economic impacts that it would have the United States.

This administration is a wildcard, and in my opinion this is a good thing. There are so many companies and conglomerates lobbying for this HFC phase out. There are millions of dollars being spent to push through the end of HFC refrigerants. Like Trump or hate him he will come to his own decision without being influenced by the money. Unfortunately, while climate change is an issue I do not see it being a contributing factor to Trump’s decision. It’s all about money and jobs.

Back to the Montreal Protocol

If we do get the Kigali Amendment ratified by the Senate than the Environmental Protection Agency can begin to enact HFC phase outs across the country. There will not be a need for additional legislation. It will be like the court battle over SNAP Rule 20 hadn’t even happened.

Really, this is kind of funny. The EPA was told that they couldn’t phase out HFC refrigerants back in August 0f 2017 because they had overstepped their bounds. HFC refrigerants didn’t contain Chlorine and therefore couldn’t be phased out under the Montreal Protocol and the Clean Air Act. But, now if we adopt the Kigali Amendment then HFC refrigerants become part of the Montreal Protocol and then the EPA has the authority to begin phasing out. Talk about jumping through hoops. If there isn’t one way there’s always another…

Will He or Won’t He?

At this point in time folks I am leaning towards no. I do not believe Trump will push this amendment to the Senate. There are a couple of reasons for this. The first is that I could see Trump feeling like this new amendment could cause jobs and economic production. The second, and a bigger one in my opinion, is that part of the amendment requires richer countries such as the European Union and the United States to provide aid and support to poorer countries as they attempt to phase out HFC refrigerants in their countries. To me this is the killer. This is the main reason why Trump killed the Paris Climate Deal. He killed it due to all of the funding that the United States had to contribute. I have a feeling he is going to see this the same way.

If he does decide not to ratify this amendment there is no telling what will happen with HFCs in the United States’ Marketplace. While some manufacturers have already begun switching to lower GWP alternatives such as Hydrocarbons and HFOs many others haven’t. These smaller to medium sized businesses have been putting it off. It’s a lot of extra cost to absorb and most owners won’t do it until they absolutely need to.

They are running into this problem already in the European Union. Various countries and companies are asking for exemptions on their F-Gas rules because they are just not ready to transition over. Call it bad government planning or bad business planning but regardless these people aren’t ready.  (Example being Sweden.)

That European Union problem is happening even when there were solid phase out dates. They knew when these dates were coming and are still having trouble. If we do not adopt the Kigali and with the court overturning the EPA’s SNAP 20 program there is no telling what will happen here. We could be using HFCs easily into 2030 or even past. Sure, they will eventually began to disspiate just through attrition but to some concerned people it won’t be happening fast enough.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Sources

 

On January 26th, 2018 the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled against the appeal on HFC refrigerants. The appeal comes from an earlier court ruling back in August of 2017. In August a US Court ruled against the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2015 SNAP Rule  20. This rule, which was announced in 2015, was aimed at phasing out HFC refrigerants by using the EPA’s power under the Clean Air Act. Specifically, they referenced section 612 of the Clean Air Act. The problem here is that this section of the Clean Air Act was designed specifically for CFC and HCFC refrigerants. It has nothing to do with HFC refrigerants. It’s design was to stop the damage to the Ozone layer by offering alternative refrigerants. Since HFC’s do not contain Chlorine and do not damage the Ozone they should not fall in the same category.

Mexichem and Arkema, two of the world’s largest refrigerant manufacturers, saw this opportunity and ran with it. They filed a petition with the court against the Environmental Protection Agency. (The court documents can be found by clicking here.) This petition stated that the EPA had overstepped it’s bounds by using the Clean Air Act and their SNAP program to push down and require changes on HFC refrigerants. The EPA defended itself in court and even had Chemours and Honeywell come in as intervenors in the matter but ultimately in August of 2017 the court ruled in favor of Mexichem and Arkema.

The Appeal

This ruling put everything in a tail spin. For years companies, contractors, educators, and everyone thought that HFC refrigerants such as R-410A, R-134a, and R-404A were on their way out and would be phased down and removed very soon. Companies had already begun to build contingencies. Honeywell and Chemours had invested hundreds of millions of dollars in their new HFO refrigerant line. What was going to happen if this ruling became the law of the land?

It was only a month after the initial ruling that Chemours, Honeywell, and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) all filed an appeal against the court’s ruling from August. (I wrote an article about this appeal which can be found by clicking here.) They had two arguments for their appeal:

  1. First, they argue that the SNAP Rule 20 was well-founded and that the federal court’s ruling exceeded it’s jurisdiction as well as ignoring the original intent of the SNAP Program. (To replace Ozone depleting refrigerants with the safest alternatives.) This argument drives me crazy folks. They know they didn’t go through Congress and they know that they didn’t do it the right way. But none of that matters. No. Their intent was good. I guess as long as my intent is good I can do anything I want.
  2. The second argument and just as ludicrous in my book is that these two companies invested two much money to have this ruling being turned on it’s head. Chemours noted that they had invested more then one billion dollars to research, develop, and commercialize their new HFO refrigerants. All of this development was done under the guise of HFC refrigerants being phased out. What they don’t tell you here is that Chemours and Honeywell, have been investing money into HFOs long before the EPA made it’s decision to phase out HFC refrigerants in 2015. This argument seems like a moot point. In business there is a thing called risk as all of you know.

A few days later after the appeal was filed the court ruled that the EPA’s SNAP Rule 20 would stay into affect until another decision was made on the appeal. This basically put a stay on the August ruling and set things back to ‘normal.’ For the short term everyone began to calm down as most everyone expected the court to rule in favor of Honeywell and Chemours. (I wrote an article on this matter as well which can be found by clicking here.)

January’s Decision

As I said in the beginning of our article a few days ago the US Court ruled against Honeywell, Chemours, and NRDC’s appeal. The court stated that the EPA’s authority only extended to those refrigerants or foam blowing agents that contained Chlorine and that actively damaged the Ozone layer. Since HFC refrigerants do not contain Chlorine and do not damage the Ozone layer the EPA does not have authority nor permission to force changes across the country. This ruling has once again caused turmoil in the industry. What happens now? How will prices react? How will manufacturers react? Will HFCs be around for decades now or will HFOs and Natural refrigerants still have an opportunity to dominate the market?

David Doniger, a senior member of the NRDC group, was quoted as saying on Twitter that, “This isn’t over. There’s the option to appeal to [the Supreme Court]. And there are other ways to skin this cat.” In other words folks they are not giving up on this fight. One possible avenue to appeal HFCs in the United States is the most recent amendment made to the Montreal Protocol known as the Kigali Amendment.

Kigali To The Rescue?

For those of you who are in favor of phasing out HFC refrigerants across the United States there is some hope out there. In a meeting in October of 2016 that took place in Kigali, Rwanda negotiators from more than one-hundred and seventy countries met together  for many days and nights until they all finally came to an agreement on HFC refrigerants. There was an agreement that was reached known as the Kigali Amendment. Like the Montreal Protocol, this new amendment is aimed at having a global phase down of HFC refrigerants instead of a country by country approach. More details on this amendment can be found by clicking here.

Although it has been nearly a year and a half since the world came to agreement the United States has yet to ratify the amendment. In fact there is some doubt if the Trump Administration will ratify this amendment at all. The Trump Administration did comment on the matter in late 2017 which can be read below:

“Judith Garber, the principal deputy assistant secretary, at the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, confirmed that the US supported the Kigali Amendment and had started the procedures necessary to ratify.” – Source.

Judith continued to say that there is not an established timeline on when the United States would adopt the amendment. Keep in mind folks that she is not a higher ranking Trump Administration personnel. I honestly don’t know if we can take her word for this or not. Nothing against her, I’m just pointing out that this kind of thing has happened before. In the past year the Trump Administration has contradicted itself and with the withdrawal from the Paris Agreement it is tough to say if we will ratify or not. Looking at the pattern of Trump logically I would say that we would NOT ratify the amendment.

Arkema and Mexichem are both pushing for adoption and ratification of the Kigali Amendment. In fact that was the reason of their lawsuit against the EPA. They are in favor of having one unified agreement on HFC refrigerants across the world instead of having a patch work of regulations and requirements by country or even by state. I mention state as California’s version of the EPA known as CARB has already announced that they will be using the EPA’s SNAP Rule 20 regulations for their state regardless of what the federal ruling is. There are other states here in the United States that are expected to follow suit.

Conclusion

Regardless of what your politics are or how you feel about HFCs and the environment I feel that I can safely say that these rulings and the rejection of an appeal was a direct correlation of the Trump being in the White House. In fact when the ruling was overturned the EPA was silent. They didn’t appeal. They didn’t do anything. It took outside companies like Honeywell and Chemours to file an appeal. I believe that the EPA was silent due to the new people and new management.

Again, regardless of politics, this phase out of HFCs by the EPA did overstep their power. If the goverment thought it was absolutely necessary to phase out these refrigerants then why not go through Congress and enact an actual act of legislation instead of having these agencies install new regulations? By going through Congress we wouldn’t be in this mess and this turmoil where no one knows for what is going to happen.

Thanks for reading and I hope this article was helpful!

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Sources

EU Phasing out HFC

 

The F-Gas regulation is a set of rules and guidelines that is now in place throughout the European Union. It can be traced all the way back to a 2006 legislation called the ‘F-Gas Regulation.’  The initial goal of this legislation was to stabilize levels of the European Union’s F-Gas emissions to that of 2010 levels. (In other words, they did not want future years’ emissions to go above the 2010 baseline level.) The EU had no reason to be squeamish about these types of phase outs as they had finished years ahead of other countries when it came to CFC and HCFC phase outs. They knew what they were doing.

This initial 2006 regulation was met with success just like before with the others. Then in 2014 a new F-Gas regulation was adopted that posed much stricter rules and restrictions. This part two of the F-Gas regulation went into effect on January 1st, 2015. This law accomplished three main things:

  1. It limited the total amount of F-Gases that could be sold in the EU from 2015 and onwards. The goal here was to slowly phase out the quantity and imports of HFCs into the EU. Death by attrition.
  2. Banning the use of F-gases in many new types of equipment. The same way how R-22 is banned from use in new machines today here in the States. Again, death by attrition. If they wait out the old machines they will eventually fail and be replaced.
  3. Preventing emissions of current and existing machines by requiring routine checks, proper servicing, and recovery of refrigerants using the proper methods and techniques.

One way to look at this law from our perspective is that it is similar to the Clean Air Act here but instead of applying towards CFCs and HCFCs it is towards HFC refrigerants that we use everyday. I hate to say it but for whatever reason the EU always seems to be ahead of the US when it comes to things like this. Just look at R-134a. No new vehicles can use it over there. Here we’re still chugging along. But don’t get too comfortable folks because something similar will be coming here to the States as well. Some would argue that it already has with the SNAP Rule 20 from the EPA.

If you look at the table below you can see the schedule of the planned HFC refrigerant reductions in the European Union. While these numbers can mean a lot at first glance to fully understand them you need to understand the baseline. (It’s a percentage, but a percentage of what?) In this case the EU used the average quantity of CO2 placed on the market in the EU between the years of 2009 through 2012. This baseline number ended up being 183 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent. (Remember folks that the Global Warming Potential uses CO2 as their baseline as well.) Now with an established baseline we can begin to see the impact of these reduction schedules showing in the table below.

2015 2016-17 2018-20 2021-23 2024-26 2027-29 2030
100% 93% 63% 45% 31% 24% 21%

While the F-Gas regulation went into effect in 2015 the European countries really haven’t begun to feel the pinch until just this year. Most of you will remember the prices going like crazy on certain refrigerants in early 2017. Imagine what the EU went through. I’ve seen stories of over one-thousand percent increases from last summer. Here’s the scary part. That was at the 2017 reduction levels. Can you imagine another thirty percent reduction at the drop of a hat come January 1st, 2018? This next jump in 2018 is one hell of a reduction. The question is will our European friends be ready for it or will they be in for a world of hurt?

Thanks for reading and I hope that I was able to answer your question,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Sources

Hello ladies and gentlemen! I hope everyone is ready for the new year. I myself am sick of this cold and ready for summer to start cooking again. We’re getting down to -12 here in Kansas City New Year’s Eve! I’m envious of all of you guys down there in the south…

The other day I was researching for an article that was unrelated to the European Union but upon reading a few articles I got down a rabbit hole and stumbled upon the upcoming 2018 HFC production/import reduction for the European Union. While most of us already know that the EU has been moving away from HFC refrigerants such as 134a, 404A, and 410A I bet most of you didn’t know that the reduction that 2018 brings to the EU is huge.  So large in fact that we may feel the ripples here in the United States. But before I get too into these numbers let me explain where this reduction comes from and the history behind it.

The F-Gas Regulation

All of this commotion about HFC refrigerants in Europe can be traced all the way back to a 2006 legislation called the ‘F-Gas Regulation.’  The initial goal of this legislation was to stabilize levels of the European Union’s F-Gas emissions to that of 2010 levels. (In other words, they did not want future years’ emissions to go above the 2010 baseline level.) The EU had no reason to be squeamish about these types of phase outs as they had finished years ahead of other countries when it came to CFC and HCFC phase outs. They knew what they were doing.

This initial 2006 regulation was met with success just like before with the others. Then in 2014 a new F-Gas regulation was adopted that posed much stricter rules and restrictions. This part two of the F-Gas regulation went into effect on January 1st, 2015. This law accomplished three main things:

  1. It limited the total amount of F-Gases that could be sold in the EU from 2015 and onwards. The goal here was to slowly phase out the quantity and imports of HFCs into the EU. Death by attrition.
  2. Banning the use of F-gases in many new types of equipment. The same way how R-22 is banned from use in new machines today here in the States. Again, death by attrition. If they wait out the old machines they will eventually fail and be replaced.
  3. Preventing emissions of current and existing machines by requiring routine checks, proper servicing, and recovery of refrigerants using the proper methods and techniques.

One way to look at this law from our perspective is that it is similar to the Clean Air Act here but instead of applying towards CFCs and HCFCs it is towards HFC refrigerants that we use everyday. I hate to say it but for whatever reason the EU always seems to be ahead of the US when it comes to things like this. Just look at R-134a. No new vehicles can use it over there. Here we’re still chugging along. But don’t get too comfortable folks because something similar will be coming here to the States as well. Some would argue that it already has with the SNAP Rule 20 from the EPA.

If you look at the table below you can see the schedule of the planned HFC refrigerant reductions in the European Union. While these numbers can mean a lot at first glance to fully understand them you need to understand the baseline. (It’s a percentage, but a percentage of what?) In this case the EU used the average quantity of CO2 placed on the market in the EU between the years of 2009 through 2012. This baseline number ended up being 183 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent. (Remember folks that the Global Warming Potential uses CO2 as their baseline as well.) Now with an established baseline we can begin to see the impact of these reduction schedules showing in the table below.

2015 2016-17 2018-20 2021-23 2024-26 2027-29 2030
100% 93% 63% 45% 31% 24% 21%

While the F-Gas regulation went into effect in 2015 the European countries really haven’t begun to feel the pinch until just this year. Most of you will remember the prices going like crazy on certain refrigerants in early 2017. Imagine what the EU went through. I’ve seen stories of over one-thousand percent increases from last summer. Here’s the scary part. That was at the 2017 reduction levels. Can you imagine another thirty percent reduction at the drop of a hat come January 1st, 2018? This next jump in 2018 is one hell of a reduction. The question is will our European friends be ready for it or will they be in for a world of hurt?

How Will The US Be Affected?

How will this drastic decrease in production and imports affect the US? If this was a perfect world the reduction in demand from the EU will be planned by manufacturers like Chemours and Honeywell and it would end up being a perfect balance of inventory management and forecasting. But honestly folks, how often does that happen?

I can see two outcomes with this. We are going to have a shortage of HFCs across the globe because manufacturers cut their forecast by too much for 2018, OR we are going to see a surplus of inventory here in the United States as the EU won’t be taking in as much. If you were to ask me I would think it’s going to be the latter. At least, I hope it is. An extra supply of inventory never hurt anyone but a scarcity scenario is never good, unless you are the supplier.

Depending on how this plays out in 2018 this could either be a bonus or a crisis for 2018. What do you guys think? Feel free to leave some comments on this post in our new community forums.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Sources

Well folks, I’m already striking out on my prediction for R-134a pricing for next year. I wrote an article towards the beginning of this month stating that the price of R-134a would remain rather stable over the winter and into the summer of 2018. Lo and behold, two major refrigerant distributors announced significant increases in R-134a  pricing at about the same time I was writing my article. Hey, they call it a prediction for a reason!

Now, I won’t get into what companies that made these announcements as it doesn’t matter and I don’t want to get on anyone’s bad side here. I will just say that these two companies that made these announcements are major refrigerant distributors that most of you know of. I was made aware of these price change announcements by two of my readers and for that I am very thankful. I’ll take the time now to say if you or anyone else know of any price changes coming down please feel free to reach out to me  with the information. I will do my best to spread the knowledge all the while keeping the source close to my chest.

The Price Increase

Alright folks so let’s get onto the changes. The first notification I received was from December 1st, 2017. It stated that this company would be raising prices on R-134a product by $00.75 per pound effective immediately. The reason here wasn’t quite what I expected. It wasn’t due to lack of inventory. There is plenty of inventory at this point in time. No, it actually was due to a shortage of raw materials that are used to manufacture more R-134a. So, this price increase is in anticipation of their inventory being depleted and having to replenish. This was the first notification that I received and I took it with a grain of salt as it may have been just one company that decided to raise pricing.

Today I was notified by another reader of a price increase on R-134a from a different distributor. This distributor was going as far as raising their price by $1.00 per pound. This price change was effective immediately and was explicitly stated that no pre-buys would be allowed. So, if you had some cash to burn before the increase hit you were out of luck. In this letter there was no explanation as to why the increase came but I can only assume that it is blamed on raw materials again. This second notification definitely got my attention and alerted me that something was going on.

First, let’s take a look at that increase. For argument’s sake let’s call the price of a thirty pound cylinder before this price increase at $100.00. We now have an increase of $1.00 per pound. We’re looking at a price of $130.00 or an increase of thirty percent in one day. That is HUGE. Imagine if you go through pallets of this refrigerant per year. There are forty cylinders on a pallet and say a medium dealership will go through a couple pallets per year. With eighty cylinders this price increase alone will cost that dealership another $2,400 in cost. I hope you have some leftover product…

The Why?

The real question here is why did this increase occur? Everyone is stating that this increase is from a shortage of raw materials. I searched around the internet today looking for any recent articles discussing this sudden price change but I couldn’t find a thing. That’s rare but this change could be too recent for any major stories to be written yet.

I did some further research trying to find out what R-134a is actually made of. It consists of hydrogen fluoride, which is made from flurospar, and trichloroethylene or perchloroethylene. The big thing here is flurospar. Flurospar is what happened to refrigerant pricing towards the beginning of 2017. There was a shortage in China which caused a snowball effect across the world. For some reason, China provides fifty percent of the world’s flurospar. Talk about market control.

Now the cause of the shortage in China isn’t exactly known. I haven’t found concrete information on it except that China has introduced new environmental regulations on mining of flurospar. That could mean a whole host of things that I am not going to speculate on it. The big thing here is to know that we are dependent on the flurospar mining in China. With no flurospar we have no hydrogen fluoride and with no fluroide we have no refrigerant.

During my research I found an article from Thehill.com stating that America isn’t even mining ANY flurospar. Yes, that’s right folks… none. Like so many other things nowadays we are dependent on other countries for our supplies and when those other governments decide to throw a wrench into things we just sit back and take it. Maybe this will change in the future, but for now we are at their mercy.

 

Conclusion

I can only hope folks that with the lower demand from the European Union and the fact that we are still in the dead of winter here in the United States that this new price will have time to taper off and slowly go back down to normal before the spring and summer HVAC season kicks up again. Who knows though? This shortage of materials may just be a hiccup in the supply chain and it will work itself out before it causes to much impact. If it doesn’t then we could very easily be looking at a summer with 134a prices well above $200.00 a cylinder.

The thing everyone in the industry should be worried about is that if this is due to Flurospar shortage then get ready to see all of your refrigerant pricing go up. R-410A. R-404A. It’s going to be early 2017 all over again. Very few refrigerants are exempt from this. Heck, even the new 1234yf could be affected. Here’s hoping that things calm down before the heat cranks up!

Thanks for reading and as always if you come across any tips or leads feel free to reach out to me.

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

 

Sources

Let me preface this article by saying that this information is as of today, December 14th, 2017. This information may change in the future as it usually does but the facts that I present here are what is known today. In the summer of 2015 the Environmental Protection Agency added a new rule to their Significant New Alternatives Policy. (SNAP) This new rule, labeled Rule 20, was designed and targeted towards phasing out Hydroflurocarbon refrigerants. HFC refrigerants include some of the most popular refrigerants used today such as R-404A, R-410A, and R-134a.

The basis of these new phase outs are different from previous CFC and HCFC refrigerants. The HCFC/CFC’s were banned due to the Chlorine that they contained. The Chlorine actively damaged the Ozone layer when released into the atmosphere. While HFCs do not contain Chlorine they do have an extremely high Global Warming Potential, or GWP. GWP is basically a measurement of how much greenhouse gas a certain chemical traps in the atmosphere. Every scale has to have a ‘zero’ measurement point and for GWP we use Carbon Dioxide, or CO2. CO2’s GWP is set at 1. That is our base line. Some HFC refrigerants on the market today have a GWP number of nearly 4,000. Think about that for a moment. If the refrigerant is released into the atmosphere it has 4,000 times the effect of Carbon Dioxide. You can easily see how governments and scientists began to grow concerned.

Like with most scheduled phase outs by the EPA the approach was staggered over different refrigerants and different applications. The thinking here is to allow businesses, contractors, and consumers to have time to adapt to the changes. If they were to flip a figurative light switch from on to off then chaos would ensue. Business owners would protest due to the cost. Contractors would protest due to the lack of training and available resources on the new refrigerants. End user consumers would complain. It would be an all around catastrophe and the EPA would lose all backing when it comes to scheduled refrigerant phase outs.

The staggered approach allows people to adapt and it also allows these same people the benefit of foreseeing and planning for the future. Typically, when a phase out is scheduled it is years in advance. So, if a phase out was announced today on XYZ refrigerant the actual phase out most likely wouldn’t begin until 2020, at the earliest. This was the case for the HCFC refrigerant R-22 and it is the same case for HFC refrigerants under the SNAP Rule 20.

R-410A’s Phase Out Date

Well folks, as I explained above there is no cut and dry date when it comes to R-410A being phased out. Each type of application has a different set of rules and years that are associated to it. The EPA has provided an official fact sheet on their Rule 20 and the phase outs associated to it. It can be found by clicking here. This is a large document consisting over six pages with a lot of text, so to make things a little easier I’m going to break it down for you below in the next section. If you prefer to read through the document though by all means go for it! Below are the various phase out dates of R-410A. (Please note that this is strictly for the United States. Other countries will have differing dates.)

  • Unacceptable as of January 1st, 2019 for stand-alone medium-temperature retail refrigeration units with a compressor capacity below 2,200 Btu/hour and not containing a flooded evaporator (New).
  • Unacceptable as of January 1st, 2020 for stand-alone medium-temperature retail refrigeration units with a compressor capacity equal to or greater than 2,200 Btu/hour and Stand-Alone Medium-Temperature Units containing a flooded evaporator (New).
  • Unacceptable as of January 1st, 2020 for stand-alone low temperature retail refrigeration units (New).
  • Unacceptable as of January 1st, 2019 for new vending machines.

Notice something from this list? It’s a big one and it wasn’t included in the SNAP Rule 20. Yes, that’s right residential air conditioners are not included in this phase out of R-410A. What that means is that we are good to go to keep using 410A for your home or office air conditioner, at least for a while. I imagine the EPA held off on this part of the 410A application mainly because the industry just switched away from R-22 in 2010. It would seem rather crazy to make a completely new change again just ten years later. If you were to ask my opinion I would predict we begin to see 410A phasing out from new home air conditioners by the year 2025.

Conclusion

Remember at the beginning of this article that I said that all of this could change? Well, there was some drama over the summer of 2017. In August a federal court ruled that the EPA’s SNAP Rule 20 overstepped the EPA’s authority. The ruling in essence overturned the EPA’s Rule 20 and removed the planned phase outs of HFC refrigerants. In the SNAP Rule 20 the EPA used Section 612 of the Clean Air Act for their justification. This section of the Clean Air Act strictly specifics on products that contain Chlorine or that cause damage to the Ozone layer. HFC refrigerants do not contain Chlorine nor do they cause ANY damaged to the Ozone. The courts looked at this and ruled in favor of the filing companies, Mexichem and Arkema, and against the EPA. I wrote more in-depth on this ruling in a previous article that can be found by clicking here.

At the time of the ruling and shortly there after no one knew what was going to happen. Everything was up in the air. It was about a month later that an appeal was filed to the court’s ruling. On September 22nd, 2017 Honeywell and Chemours officially filed an appeal to the ruling. I wrote an article about this as well which can be found by clicking here. A few days later it was announced that the court’s August ruling would be overturned until a decision was made on the appeal. (Click here for more info.) So, we are back to square one and it’s like nothing even happened in August.

The question is what will happen next? What will 2018 bring? Will the phase outs continue? Or, will the court rule against Honeywell, Chemours, and the EPA? Personally, I hope that the court’s ruling stands and that we go through Congress to phase out HFC refrigerants. It’s the right thing to do instead of having a goverment bureaucracy force the rules upon everyone all the while using an outdated section of the Clean Air Act.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Let me preface this article by saying that this information is as of today, December 14th, 2017. This information may change in the future as it usually does but the facts that I present here are what is known today. In the summer of 2015 the Environmental Protection Agency added a new rule to their Significant New Alternatives Policy. (SNAP) This new rule, labeled Rule 20, was designed and targeted towards phasing out Hydroflurocarbon refrigerants. HFC refrigerants include some of the most popular refrigerants used today such as R-404A, R-410A, and R-134a.

The basis of these new phase outs are different from previous CFC and HCFC refrigerants. The HCFC/CFC’s were banned due to the Chlorine that they contained. The Chlorine actively damaged the Ozone layer when released into the atmosphere. While HFCs do not contain Chlorine they do have an extremely high Global Warming Potential, or GWP. GWP is basically a measurement of how much greenhouse gas a certain chemical traps in the atmosphere. Every scale has to have a ‘zero’ measurement point and for GWP we use Carbon Dioxide, or CO2. CO2’s GWP is set at 1. That is our base line. Some HFC refrigerants on the market today have a GWP number of nearly 4,000. Think about that for a moment. If the refrigerant is released into the atmosphere it has 4,000 times the effect of Carbon Dioxide. You can easily see how governments and scientists began to grow concerned.

Like with most scheduled phase outs by the EPA the approach was staggered over different refrigerants and different applications. The thinking here is to allow businesses, contractors, and consumers to have time to adapt to the changes. If they were to flip a figurative light switch from on to off then chaos would ensue. Business owners would protest due to the cost. Contractors would protest due to the lack of training and available resources on the new refrigerants. End user consumers would complain. It would be an all around catastrophe and the EPA would lose all backing when it comes to scheduled refrigerant phase outs.

The staggered approach allows people to adapt and it also allows these same people the benefit of foreseeing and planning for the future. Typically, when a phase out is scheduled it is years in advance. So, if a phase out was announced today on XYZ refrigerant the actual phase out most likely wouldn’t begin until 2020, at the earliest. This was the case for the HCFC refrigerant R-22 and it is the same case for HFC refrigerants under the SNAP Rule 20.

R-134a’s Phase Out Date

Well folks, as I explained above there is no cut and dry date when it comes to R-134a being phased out. Each type of application has a different set of rules and years that are associated to it. The EPA has provided an official fact sheet on their Rule 20 and the phase outs associated to it. It can be found by clicking here. This is a large document consisting over six pages with a lot of text, so to make things a little easier I’m going to break it down for you below in the next section. If you prefer to read through the document though by all means go for it! Below are the various phase out dates of R-134a. (Please note that this is strictly for the United States. Other countries will have differing dates.)

  • Unacceptable as of Model Year (MY) 2021, except where allowed under a narrowed use limit through MY 2025.
  • Acceptable, subject to narrowed use limits, for vehicles exported to countries with insufficient servicing infrastructure to support other alternatives, for MY 2021 through MY 2025.
  • Unacceptable for all newly manufactured vehicles as of MY 2026.
  • Unacceptable as of January 1st, 2019 for stand-alone medium-temperature retail refrigeration units with a compressor capacity below 2,200 Btu/hour and not containing a flooded evaporator (New).
  • Unacceptable as of January 1st, 2020 for stand-alone medium-temperature retail refrigeration units with a compressor capacity equal to or greater than 2,200 Btu/hour and Stand-Alone Medium-Temperature Units containing a flooded evaporator (New).
  • Unacceptable as of January 1st, 2020 for stand-alone low-temperature retail refrigeration units (New).
  • Unacceptable as of January 1st, 2019 for new vending machines.

Obviously the big change here folks is the first few bullet points that state that R-134a will be unacceptable for use on new 2021 vehicle model years. That means that we only have a couple years left before the R-134a market starts to aggressively shrink and be replaced either with 1234yf, R-744, or another alternative mobile refrigerant.

Conclusion

Remember at the beginning of this article that I said that all of this could change? Well, there was some drama over the summer of 2017. In August a federal court ruled that the EPA’s SNAP Rule 20 overstepped the EPA’s authority. The ruling in essence overturned the EPA’s Rule 20 and removed the planned phase outs of HFC refrigerants. In the SNAP Rule 20 the EPA used Section 612 of the Clean Air Act for their justification. This section of the Clean Air Act strictly specifics on products that contain Chlorine or that cause damage to the Ozone layer. HFC refrigerants do not contain Chlorine nor do they cause ANY damaged to the Ozone. The courts looked at this and ruled in favor of the filing companies, Mexichem and Arkema, and against the EPA. I wrote more in-depth on this ruling in a previous article that can be found by clicking here.

At the time of the ruling and shortly there after no one knew what was going to happen. Everything was up in the air. It was about a month later that an appeal was filed to the court’s ruling. On September 22nd, 2017 Honeywell and Chemours officially filed an appeal to the ruling. I wrote an article about this as well which can be found by clicking here. A few days later it was announced that the court’s August ruling would be overturned until a decision was made on the appeal. (Click here for more info.) So, we are back to square one and it’s like nothing even happened in August.

The question is what will happen next? What will 2018 bring? Will the phase outs continue? Or, will the court rule against Honeywell, Chemours, and the EPA? Personally, I hope that the court’s ruling stands and that we go through Congress to phase out HFC refrigerants. It’s the right thing to do instead of having a goverment bureaucracy force the rules upon everyone all the while using an outdated section of the Clean Air Act.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Let me preface this article by saying that this information is as of today, December 14th, 2017. This information may change in the future as it usually does but the facts that I present here are what is known today. In the summer of 2015 the Environmental Protection Agency added a new rule to their Significant New Alternatives Policy. (SNAP) This new rule, labeled Rule 20, was designed and targeted towards phasing out Hydroflurocarbon refrigerants. HFC refrigerants include some of the most popular refrigerants used today such as R-404A, R-410A, and R-134a.

The basis of these new phase outs are different from previous CFC and HCFC refrigerants. The HCFC/CFC’s were banned due to the Chlorine that they contained. The Chlorine actively damaged the Ozone layer when released into the atmosphere. While HFCs do not contain Chlorine they do have an extremely high Global Warming Potential, or GWP. GWP is basically a measurement of how much greenhouse gas a certain chemical traps in the atmosphere. Every scale has to have a ‘zero’ measurement point and for GWP we use Carbon Dioxide, or CO2. CO2’s GWP is set at 1. That is our base line. Some HFC refrigerants on the market today have a GWP number of nearly 4,000. Think about that for a moment. If the refrigerant is released into the atmosphere it has 4,000 times the effect of Carbon Dioxide. You can easily see how governments and scientists began to grow concerned.

Like with most scheduled phase outs by the EPA the approach was staggered over different refrigerants and different applications. The thinking here is to allow businesses, contractors, and consumers to have time to adapt to the changes. If they were to flip a figurative light switch from on to off then chaos would ensue. Business owners would protest due to the cost. Contractors would protest due to the lack of training and available resources on the new refrigerants. End user consumers would complain. It would be an all around catastrophe and the EPA would lose all backing when it comes to scheduled refrigerant phase outs.

The staggered approach allows people to adapt and it also allows these same people the benefit of foreseeing and planning for the future. Typically, when a phase out is scheduled it is years in advance. So, if a phase out was announced today on XYZ refrigerant the actual phase out most likely wouldn’t begin until 2020, at the earliest. This was the case for the HCFC refrigerant R-22 and it is the same case for HFC refrigerants under the SNAP Rule 20.

R-404A’s Phase Out Date

Well folks, as I explained above there is no cut and dry date when it comes to R-404A being phased out. Each type of application has a different set of rules and years that are associated to it. The EPA has provided an official fact sheet on their Rule 20 and the phase outs associated to it. It can be found by clicking here. This is a large document consisting over six pages with a lot of text, so to make things a little easier I’m going to break it down for you below in the next section. If you prefer to read through the document though by all means go for it! Below are the various phase out dates of R-404A. (Please note that this is strictly for the United States. Other countries will have differing dates.)

  • Retrofitted supermarket systems as of July 20, 2016;
  • New supermarket systems as of Jan. 1, 2017;
  • Retrofitted remote condensing units as of July 20, 2016;
  • New remote condensing units as of Jan. 1, 2018;
  • Retrofitted vending machines as of July 20, 2016;
  • New vending machines as of Jan. 1, 2019;
  • Retrofitted stand-alone retail food refrigeration equipment as of July 20, 2016;
  • New stand-alone medium-temperature units with a compressor capacity below 2,200 Btuh and not containing a flooded evaporator as of Jan. 1, 2019;
  • New stand-alone medium-temperature units with a compressor capacity equal to or greater than 2,200 Btuh and stand-alone medium-temperature units containing a flooded evaporator as of Jan. 1, 2020; and
  • New stand-alone low-temperature units as of Jan. 1, 2020.

Conclusion

Remember at the beginning of this article that I said that all of this could change? Well, there was some drama over the summer of 2017. In August a federal court ruled that the EPA’s SNAP Rule 20 overstepped the EPA’s authority. The ruling in essence overturned the EPA’s Rule 20 and removed the planned phase outs of HFC refrigerants. In the SNAP Rule 20 the EPA used Section 612 of the Clean Air Act for their justification. This section of the Clean Air Act strictly specifics on products that contain Chlorine or that cause damage to the Ozone layer. HFC refrigerants do not contain Chlorine nor do they cause ANY damaged to the Ozone. The courts looked at this and ruled in favor of the filing companies, Mexichem and Arkema, and against the EPA. I wrote more in-depth on this ruling in a previous article that can be found by clicking here.

At the time of the ruling and shortly there after no one knew what was going to happen. Everything was up in the air. It was about a month later that an appeal was filed to the court’s ruling. On September 22nd, 2017 Honeywell and Chemours officially filed an appeal to the ruling. I wrote an article about this as well which can be found by clicking here. A few days later it was announced that the court’s August ruling would be overturned until a decision was made on the appeal. (Click here for more info.) So, we are back to square one and it’s like nothing even happened in August.

The question is what will happen next? What will 2018 bring? Will the phase outs continue? Or, will the court rule against Honeywell, Chemours, and the EPA? Personally, I hope that the court’s ruling stands and that we go through Congress to phase out HFC refrigerants. It’s the right thing to do instead of having a goverment bureaucracy force the rules upon everyone all the while using an outdated section of the Clean Air Act.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Donald Trump's Affect on the Refrigerant Industry

Those of you who follow my posts will know how I feel about the EPA’s SNAP Rule 20. The Rule 20 is the EPA’s planned phase out of HFC refrigerants across the United States. Depending on the application and the type of refrigerant used there were different dates that they would be phased out. This rule was announced over the summer of 2015. What irked me about it, and what still does, is that this rule was just deemed so by the Environmental Protection Agency. Congress was not involved. The White House was not involved. No, it was just the EPA saying how it would be.

What really got me though was that the EPA referenced section 612 of the Clean Air Act for their phase out. The problem here is that this section of the Clean Air Act was designed specifically for CFC and HCFC refrigerants. It has nothing to do with HFC refrigerants. It’s design was to stop the damage to the Ozone layer by offering alternative refrigerants. Since HFC’s do not contain Chlorine and do not damage the Ozone they should not fall in the same category.

Well, I kind of got my way at the end of this summer. In August of 2017 a Federal Court unexpectedly ruled against the EPA’s phase out of HFC refrigerants. This ruling threw everything into a tailspin and no one knew exactly what would happen next. For more information on this I wrote an article around the time it happened which can be found by clicking here. Basically, the court ruled that the EPA overstepped it’s reach and that if they wanted to phase out HFCs then it would have to go through Congress. (As it should be!)

The Appeal

I can’t say that I was surprised to find out that the court’s ruling was appealed by Honeywell and Chemours. They had two main arguments in their case:

  1. First, they argue that the SNAP Rule 20 was well-founded and that the federal court’s ruling exceeded it’s jurisdiction as well as ignoring the original intent of the SNAP Program. (To replace Ozone depleting refrigerants with the safest alternatives.) This argument drives me crazy folks. They know they didn’t go through Congress and they know that they didn’t do it the right way. But none of that matters. No. Their intent was good. I guess as long as my intent is good I can do anything I want.
  2. The second argument and just as ludicrous in my book is that these two companies invested two much money to have this ruling being turned on it’s head. Chemours noted that they had invested more then one billion dollars to research, develop, and commercialize their new HFO refrigerants. All of this development was done under the guise of HFC refrigerants being phased out. What they don’t tell you here is that Chemours and Honeywell, have been investing money into HFOs long before the EPA made it’s decision to phase out HFC refrigerants in 2015. This argument seems like a moot point. In business their a thing called risk as all of you know.

My Letter to Trump

I was irritated when all of this was going on. I felt that there was nothing I could do, and in reality there really wasn’t anything that I could do… but I got it in my head to reach out to the White House. I wrote an e-mail to Donald Trump. Yes, yes I know. It’s cheesy but hey what harm could come from it? Well, I wrote the thing when all of this was going on in the month of October. The letter basically advocated for the courts to rule against the appeal and if the goverment really wanted HFCs phased out then they should go through the proper method of the House, the Senate, and the White House.

A few months passed by and I hadn’t even thought about the e-mail I wrote. Then a few days ago I got an e-mail back from The White House. At first I was very excited but after reading it I realized that it was a generic non-answer e-mail that they had sent back to me. Sure, there were a lot of words in it but after reading it I felt like they didn’t even read my e-mail. It reads like a copy and paste that they do with anything that contains the environment or the EPA. See for yourself. Below is a copy of the letter I received:

Conclusion

I’m not really sure what I learned from this experience. Who knows. Maybe I made a difference. Maybe when the courts hear the appeal they take my e-mail into consideration, but I have a feeling that my e-mail has long been forgotten and will never be read or seen by anyone else. Oh well, it was a fun thought and the possibility of having an impact was a neat idea.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

On October 24th the state of California will hold a public workshop to discuss a proposal for reducing and ultimately phasing out HFC refrigerants from the state. The official document can be found by clicking here. The forum will be held from ten in the morning to two in the afternoon in Sacramento, CA. It can also be followed online through a live webcast that can be found by clicking here.

This public forum is a direct reaction to a federal court’s August ruling that overturned the Environmental Protection Agency’s SNAP Rule 20 to phase out HFC refrigerants across stationary and automotive applications.

The SNAP Rule 20, which was introduced in 2015, was the EPA’s attempt to phase out HFC refrigerants over the next ten to fifteen years. The problem here was that the EPA used the same authority that they used to phase out CFC and HCFC refrigerants. The basis of these previous phase outs were to stop the leaking and venting of Chlorine into the atmosphere. The Chlorine that these refrigerants contained actively damaged the Ozone layer. However, HFC refrigerants such as R-134a, R-410A, and R-404A do not contain Chlorine. Instead, these refrigerants are a very potent Greenhouse Gas that contribute to Global Warming when vented or leaked. So, while they do harm the environment they do it in a completely different way then the Chlorine did to the Ozone.

In August the federal court overturned the EPA’s phase out and then in September Honeywell and Chemours filed an appeal to the federal court’s ruling in hopes that the phase out will be put back in place. There is no timeline for when a decision on the appeal will be reached and so as I write this today the industry is in kind of a limbo not knowing exactly what is going to happen. Will the court rule in favor of Honeywell/Chemours and put the phase out back in place or will they rule against it and force the United States goverment to go through Congress for a HFC phase out?

California

Regardless of what comes out of the courts one thing is for certain. California isn’t waiting around to find out. As I said above on October 24th the California Air Resources Board, or CARB, will be hosting their own public forum on HFC phase outs and how the state will deal with Short Lived Climate Pollutants. (SLCPs.) HFCs are seen as SLCPs due to their short life but damaging Global Warming Potential when compared to Carbon Dioxide.

This hearing will only focus on stationary refrigeration and air conditioning but additional sectors such as refrigerators, freezers, and even automotive could be addressed further down the road.

There are two main goals of the meeting.

  1. The first is to begin a rule making process to adopt regulations that will prohibit use of certain HFC refrigerants.
  2. The second is to further evaluate potential future rulemakings in regards to HFC refrigerants and their other applications.

CARB is mandated by California law SB 1383 to reduce HFC refrigerants by forty percent below the 2013 baseline levels by the year 2030. Originally though, in March of 2017 CARB adopted it’s SLCP strategy for reducing emissions across the state. The strategy was heavily reliant on the EPA and Federal Government’s rules. When the courts overturned the EPA’s rules it threw everything out of whack for CARB’s planned HFC reduction and that is how we have arrived to today’s announced meeting.

Conclusion

While I do not see to big of a change to the average consumer if California begins phasing out stationary refrigerant applications what worries me most is the potential for an automotive HFC phase out in just one state across the country. I can’t even begin to imagine the logistics in that and how it would work. I know when I worked for my previous company we had to be careful not to ship certain types of brake cleaner to California due to the volatile organic compounds that it contained. If we made a mistake and shipped the wrong product we could face heavy fines. Can you imagine how it would work if only new cars with 1234yf or CO2 refrigerant systems could be sold in California?

I’ve always seen California as the ‘red headed stepchild’ of the United States. They are always doing things a little differently and always creating their own, sometimes controversial, laws. Sometimes these laws get carried over to the rest of the states and sometimes not so much. We could very seriously end up in a situation where HFCs are allowed across the country except in California. Very strange times indeed.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

 

 

Sources

 

R-410A, also known as Puron, is arguably becoming one of the most popular refrigerants in the world. It rose to prominence here in the United States in the year 2010 when it’s predecessor, the HCFC R-22, was banned due to the Chlorine that it contained.

Ever since then R-410A has primarily been used on all new residential and commercial air-conditioning applications. Along with residential use it can also be used in industrial refrigeration, chillers, and on centrifugal compressors. Chances are if you have a unit from 2010 or greater it’s using R-410A. But, what exactly is 410A? What goes into it? What are it’s properties? History? Well today folks we are going to dive in and attempt to learn every single thing we would ever want when it comes to R-410A. Please join me, but be prepared for a long read.

The Facts

Name:R-410A
Name - Scientific:Blend of Difluromethane & Pentafluroethane
Name (2):Suva 410A
Name (3):Forane 410A
Name (4):EcoFluor R410
Name (5):Genetron R410A
Name (6):AZ-20
Name (7)HFC-410A
Classification:HFC Refrigerant - Blend
Chemistry:Zeotropic, but near Azeotropic blend.
Chemistry (2):R-32 (Difluromethane) blend of 50+.5,–1.5%
Chemistry (3):R-125 (Pentafluroethane) blend of 50+1.5,–.5%
R-32 Chemistry:
R-125 Chemistry:
Status:Active & Growing Market.
Future:May be Phased Out in Next Ten Years.
Application:Residential & Commercial Air-Conditioning.
Application (2):Industrial Refrigeration, Chillers, and Centrifugal Compressors
Replacement For:HCFC R-22 Freon
Ozone Depletion Potential:0
Global Warming Potential:2,088
Toxicity Levels:A (No Toxicity Identified.)
Flammability Levels:Class 1 -No Flame Propagation.
Lubricant Required:Synthetic Oil - Polyol Ester Oil or POE
Boiling Point:-48.5° Celsius or -55.3° Fahrenheit.
Critical Temperature:72.8° Celsius or 163.04° Farenheit
Critical Pressure:4.86 MPA or 704.88 pound-force per square inch.
Auto ignition Temperature:750° Celsius or 1,382° Farenheit
Manufacturers:Various Including: Honeywell, Chemours, Arkema, Mexichem, Chinese, etc.
Manufacturing Facilities:All Over Including: USA, Mexico, EU, China, and others.
Form:Gas
Color:Colorless Liquid & Vapor
Odor:Faint Ethereal Odor
EPA Certification Required:Yes, 608 certification required by January 1st, 2018.
Require Certification to Purchase?Yes, 608 certification required by January 1st, 2018.
Cylinder Color:Pink
Cylinder Design:r-404a 25 pound cylinder
Cylinder Design (2):Twenty-Five Pound Tank
Price Point:Medium - $90-$160 a cylinder.
Where to Buy Can or Cylinder?Amazon.com
Bulk Purchasing:CLICK FOR A QUOTE!

Points of Note

Ok, so we’ve got the basic facts out of the way on this refrigerant. Now let’s take a look at some of the more interesting points about Puron refrigerant.

  • I’m a little behind the times here as R-410A has been in widespread use for almost ten years now but I figured I would mention this anyways. 410A’s purpose was to come up with a viable alternative to the HCFC R-22 Freon that was found and still is found in residential and commercial air-conditioning applications. While R-22 contained Chlorine the HFC 410A does not so there is no harm that can be done to the Ozone layer.
  • There are quite a bit of differences between an R-22 air-conditioner and a R-410A air-conditioner. I won’t cover every single detail here but you can begin to see a picture of what the differences are:
    • Unlike R-22 the new R-410A is a blended refrigerant mixed up of R-32 and R-125. In some instances blended refrigerants act differently then single refrigerants. We will get into that further on down this list.
    • R-410A is actually more efficient at absorbing heat then R-22. What that means is that your air conditioner won’t work as hard and your home will stay cooler all the while saving on your power bills.
    • 410A operates at a much higher pressure than R-22, between fifty to sixty percent higher. To accommodate this increased pressure the compressors and other components are built to withstand the greater stress. Some people describe these components as having a ‘thicker wall.’ If you were to use an R-22 compressor on a 410A application your compressor would blow it’s head! The extra toughness of these components come with the extra bonus of ensuring a longer life of your air conditioner.
    • Because of the higher pressure of Puron you will need to have special tools in order to service the unit. I will go into this further in the tools section but I wanted to point it out now. R-22 tools will NOT work on 410A!
    • Instead of the mineral oil lubricant you would use for R-22 you will be using a synthetic oil called Polyol Ester Oil, or POE. This oil is actually more soluble with R-410A which causes your compressor and your system to operate more efficiently. R-22 oil will not flow through a 410A system and will most likely end up accumulating in your evaporator.
    • The new synthetic oil, POE, mentioned above absorbs moisture at a much faster rate than mineral oil. Because of this the time allowed for the compressor to be exposed to the atmosphere is much much shorter than what you may be used to for R-22. Best practice is to ensure everything is set and ready before pulling the plugs on the compressor.
    • Because R-22 is a single refrigerant and not a blend there was never any risk of a temperature glide. But, with R-410a since it is a blended refrigerant of R-32 and R-125 there will be a glide during refrigerant state changes. This is because the two refrigerants have different state change points. While I say this, the actual glide temperature difference for 410A is rather minimal at <0.5° Fahrenheit.  For more information on glide temp differences please click here to read an instructional document from Chemours.
    • Also, Since R-410A is a blended refrigerant it is best to evacuate the refrigerant as a liquid.  This ensures optimum and consistent performance. This is recommended by Chemours and other leading manufacturers.
    • Lastly, it is VERY important that when replacing components on an R-410A unit rather they be reversing valves, expansion valves, driers, compressors, or whatever you have to make sure that the replacement you are installing is rated for R-410A usage. If they are not and they are exposed to the high pressure of R-410A you will have a failure, perhaps even a catastrophic failure.
  • Storage requirements for R-410A are the same as other refrigerants. Cylinders should be stored in a clean, dry area, and out of direct sunlight. If you have cylinders in the back of your work van ensure that the temperature does not rise above one-hundred and twenty-five degrees Fahrenheit. Keep valves tightly closed and caps in place when cylinders are not in use. This will prevent any damage to your product, to your facility, or to your vehicle.
  • The last point that I’ll mention on R-410A before moving onto the next section is the possibility of it being phased out. Yes, you heard right. We’ve only been at it for about ten years and there is already talk of a phase out by various governments across the world. In fact just last year, there was an amendment signed to the Montreal Protocol to phase out HFCs across the globe. This amendment was known as the Kigali Amendment. While there has not been a specific alternative refrigerant decided yet it is only a matter of time before a refrigerant is chosen and the phase out will begin. I went into this deeper in another article that can be found by clicking here.

Servicing R-410A

Now I am not going to get into all of the specific details on how to service a R-410A unit but instead give you an overview of what’s changed, what’s stayed the same, and what the best practices are for servicing an R-410A machine.

First and foremost I’d like to tell you what’s stayed the same. You will still need to be certified with the Environmental Protection Agency in order to service or even to purchase R-410A cylinders. You will either need Section 608 II or a Universal 608 certificate. This is the same as it was for R-22, not much difference here.

Also, just like before it is illegal to vent or knowingly release R-410A into the atmosphere. If you need to evacuate the charge then you will need a recovery machine along with a recovery cylinder that are both rated to handle the pressures of R-410A.

On to what’s changed. Ok, so obviously the refrigerant has changed but the big and noticeable difference here is the pressure change. 410A is anywhere from fifty to sixty percent higher pressure than R-22. So, while the basic design and operating procedures of 410A remain the same as R-22 extra caution should be paid to the pressure of 410A.

With this extra pressure comes the need of new tools. Your standard gauges, hoses, cylinders, and everything else will not work with 410A. The increased pressure is too much and will cause your tools to break in the best case scenario and the worst case scenario could cause permanent damage to the unit itself. In the next section I will go over the requirements for 410A tools and what we recommend here at RefrigerantHQ.

The last thing that I’ll mention on 410A is that due to the increased pressure all of the components in your standard AC system have been ‘thickened.’ These parts have an extra thick wall that allows them to absorb the extra pressure as 410A passes through them. I mention this because if you are having to replace one of these parts you absolutely HAVE to make sure that the new part that you will be installing is rated to handle 410A. Again, if you neglect this fact you run the risk of destroying the new part and also destroying the entire unit.

R-410A Necessary Tools

We have gone over the requirements to service 410A but now we need to cover what kind of tools that you will need. With this higher pressure from 410A comes a need for new tools. Let’s take a look:

  • Manifold Gauge Set – The high pressures encountered when working R-410A requires a manifold gauge set that has a low-side gauge that can read up to 500 PSIG and a high side gauge that can read up to 800 PSIG. This is significantly higher than a standard manifold set. There are many versions of gauges out there and by now I will imagine most of them meet 410A requirements. Here at RefrigerantHQ we recommend Yellow Jacket’s 49967 Manifold Gauge set. This is set is rated for both R-22 and R-410A along with a host of other refrigerants. Yellow Jacket’s official product flyer can be found by clicking here.
  • Hoses – Hoses used on 410A applications should be UL recognized and have a minimum of 800 PSI working pressure and a 4,000 PSI burst. This covers you by providing a five to one safety factor. I will refer to the recommended gauge set above as it comes with a set of four hoses as well. If you need to purchase additional hoses then again I would suggest the Yellow Jacket hose which can be bought on Amazon by clicking here.
  • Flaring Tools – Depending on the unit you are working on you may find that you need to flare some of the tubes in order to get everything to fit correctly. While your existing flaring tool may work there is a chance of leaks when working with R-410A due to the pressure. There are flaring tools specifically designed for R-410A that will allow for ease of use and minimize chance of leaks. Our pick at RefrigerantHQ is Yellow Jacket’s 60278 410A Flaring Tool. You can purchase one on Amazon.com and you can also find an instructional video by clicking here.
  • Refrigerant Leak detector – There are so many leak detectors out there on the market today it can be a little confusing. Most of them by now can detect R-410A along with other HFC refrigerants. To make things a little bit easier I put together a price point comparison table that can be found by clicking here. This will give you the option to pick a detector that will work for you as well as stay in your budget.
  • Recovery Cylinders – Recovery cylinders need to be rated to at least 400 DOT. A standard DOT 350 cylinder will not be able to safely handle the pressures of R-410A. Here at RefrigerantHQ we recommend that you purchase the Mastercool 62010 thirty pound recovery cylinder. This is a highly rated tank that can handle the high pressures of 410A refrigerant.
  • Recovery Machine – A recovery machine for 410A must be approved for Class V refrigerants including R-407C, R-404A, R-507, and R-410A per AHRI 740-98. The recovery machine should have the following features: over sized condenser, over sized fan, crankcase pressure regulator valve, and a high pressure cutout switch rated for at least 510 PSI. (Source from Yellowacket.com) Here at RefrigerantHQ we recommend that you purchase the Robinair RG3 Portable Recovery Machine. This is an overall great unit with tons of positive reviews and it can handle the pressures of 410A without a problem.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What happened to R-22?
    • So some of you may be asking why we decided to switch over from R-22 over to R-410A. Well folks it boils down to one thing and one thing only. Chlorine. Yes, that’s right. R-22 contained Chlorine and each and every time R-22 was leaked or vented that Chlorine drifted up and into the atmosphere. Overtime the extended amount and exposure of Chlorine caused a hole, or thinning, of the Ozone layer over the Arctic. Once scientists realized what was going on they alerted the World’s Governments and they took action by creating the Montreal Protocol. The Montreal Protocol organised the phase out of CFC and HCFC refrigerants, like R-22, across the globe. R-22’s phase out began in 2010 and in it’s place came R-410A. 410A does not contain any Chlorine and will not be harming the Ozone layer.
  • What is R-410A?
    • R-410A is an HFC refrigerant that is a blend of the HFC R-32 and the HFC R-125. This refrigerant was designed to be a safe, non-toxic, non-flammable, and reliable alternative to the HCFC R-22. It was invented in 1991 but did not begin to see real popularity until the 2000’s.
  • What is Puron?
    • Puron is the exact same thing as R-410A. The different name comes from the year 1996 when the Carrier Corporation was the first company to introduce R-410A into the residential air conditioning market. The name Puron is trademarked by the Carrier Corporation. The easiest way to think of it is like Freon. Freon is R-12 but Freon is DuPont’s brand name.
  • Can I mix R-22 and R-410A Refrigerants?
    • No! No, you cannot do this. They are two very different refrigerants and mixing them together will cause permanent damage to your air conditioning unit.
  • Can I retrofit an R-22 Unit Over to R-410A?
    • Yes, and no. It can be done but it is not cost effective or recommended. Instead Chemours has provided an alternative drop-in replacement to be used as a substitute to R-22. This refrigerant is known as MO99. Chemours has provided an instructional video on how to retrofit your existing unit to take MO99. If you are interested in purchasing MO99 please click here to be taken to Amazon.com.
  • Do I Need Different Tools to Service 410A Units?
    • Yes! Due to the much higher pressure of 410A you could risk damaging or even breaking your existing tools. You should use gauge sets, recovery machines, and tanks that are specifically designed to handle R-410A. We made our recommended tool listing in the tool section above.
  • What Type of Lubricant Should I Use With 410A?
    • Instead of the mineral oil that you used to for R-22 you will instead be using a high quality Polyol Ester Oil, or POE. Always double check the specific oil that your compressor’s manufacturer recommends before using.
  • Can I Purchase R-410A Without A License?
    • No. In order to purchase you need to be certified with the United States’ Environmental Protection Agency under Section 608 Type II or a Universal Certification 608 License.
  • What Kind of Certification Do I Need to Work With R-410A?
    • In order to work on 410A units you need to be certified with the United States’ Environmental Protection Agency under Section 608 Type II or a Universal Certification 608 License.
  • Can 410A Systems Be Topped Off?
    • While 410A is a blended refrigerant it acts very much like a single component refrigerant. Because of this any change in composition due to a leak is minimal. The system can be topped off without having to evacuate the entire charge.
  • Is R-410A Toxic or Flammable?
    • No. Just like R-22 the new R-410A is rated as an A1 classification by ASHRAE. A means non-toxic and 1 means non-flammable. For more information on toxicity and flammability ratings of refrigerants click here for an article I wrote the other day.
  • Who Manufactures R-410A?
    • There are a lot of manufacturers for R-410A. Some of the most popular names are Honeywell, Chemours/DuPont, Mexichem, and Arkema. There are numerous other companies out there as well including a whole host of imported Chinese product that may not be the highest quality.
  • What Countries Are Using R-410A?
    • The United States, The European Union, Japan, and many others. It is a very widespread and popular refrigerant nowadays.
  • Is R-410A Being Phased Out As Well?
    • This one is hard to say. In the year 2015 the United States’ EPA announced a new rule to their SNAP program. This rule was called RULE 20. A fact sheet on this rule can be found by clicking here. Basically, this rule announced the planned phase out of HFC refrigerants across the United States. The initial target was R-404A and then R-134a. While R-410A was only mentioned against vending machines and other non-residential applications I feel that it is only a matter of time before 410A is on the chopping block to be phased out. I believe the only thing holding us back right now is finding a viable alternative to 410A either through HFOs or Hydrocarbons.

 

History of R-410A

So, when did all of this start? Well, to understand the history of 410A and the other refrigerants we first have to go back in time to the 1980’s. Back then all automotive applications were using the CFC R-12 refrigerant for their air conditioning and all residential air-conditoner units were using R-22. These two refrigerants, R-12 and R-22, were the original mainstream refrigerants that came from the 1930’s. Ever since then they had gained and gained in popularity until they were practically found everywhere across the country and the world.

It was in the 1980’s that a team of scientists out of California realized that all of the Chlorine that was in CFC and HCFC refrigerants were causing damage to the Ozone layer. When vented or leaked the refrigerant would drift up and into the atmosphere. It is there where the Chlorine would do it’s damage. Eventually it got so bad that a thinning of the Ozone layer began to form over the Arctic. The scientists noticing this sounded the alarm and the world’s governments took action by creating the Montreal Protocol.

The Montreal Protocol is a treaty that was signed in the late 1980’s by more then one-hundred countries. It’s goal was to rid the world of using Ozone depleting substances like CFC and HCFC refrigerants. This treaty was enacted in countries all over the world. The first target was CFC refrigerants such as R-12. In 1992 R-12 was phased out of the automotive market in the United States and was replaced with the newer HFC refrigerant known as R-134a. R-134a had the benefit of not containing Chlorine so with its usage there would be no danger to the Ozone layer. The next refrigerant to go was the CFC refrigerant known as R-502 in the mid 1990’s. As time went by there were other CFC and HCFC refrigerants phased out but the big change didn’t happen until 2010.

In 2010 is when the phase out of the ever popular HCFC R-22 refrigerant was to begin. At that date no new machines could be manufactured that took R-22 as a refrigerant. This was the line in the sand saying that there would be no more Chlorine containing refrigerants used. While 2010 was the beginning there was a schedule of set dates every five years that would slowly phase out R-22 entirely from the United States. A picture of this phase out schedule can be found below.

R-22 Phase Out Schedule - Courtney of EPA.gov
R-22 Phase Out Schedule – Courtney of EPA.gov

Enter R-410A

In 1991 the new HFC refrigerant R-410A was invented by the Honeywell Corporation. (Back then they were known by Allied Signal.) After invention Honeywell licensed production and manufacturing rights of 410A to other companies but even today Honeywell still continues to lead production and sales of 410A.

410A saw it’s first use in a residential air conditioning system all the way back in the year 1996. (Hard to believe that was over twenty years ago!)  The Carrier Corporation was the first company to introduce 410A into the residential marketplace and during that time they trademarked 410A as their brand name known as Puron.

While 410A could be found at homes in the early 2000’s it was sporadic. It wasn’t until we got closer and closer to the announced phase out date of R-22 that things began to pick up. Even though we were only a few years away from the phase out date there were still companies who had their heads buried in the sand and hadn’t bothered to train themselves or their technicians on the new technology. You can’t blame them really it’s human nature. The change was down the road and they would worry about it then.

In 2010 when the change did come into play and no new R-22 machines could be manufactured things began to get real for people. R-410A was the new refrigerant and it wasn’t going away, at least for a while. A lot of the old-timers out there got fed up with it all and decided to retire right around 2010. The younger guys or mid-career guys stuck around and got through the turbulent years. Today, in October of 2017, R-410A is one of the most widely used refrigerants in the world. It is used in the United States, the European Union, Japan, and many other countries. But what is it’s future? How long will it be around?

The Problem With HFCs

It was in the early 2000’s that a problem was discovered with HFC refrigerants. This problem wasn’t like the CFC or HCFC refrigerants that came before them. After all, there was no Chlorine involved so there was no thinning of the Ozone layer. No, this problem came from something called Global Warming Potential or GWP. GWP is a relative measure of how much heat a greenhouse gas can trap in the atmosphere. As a basis of measurement they set Carbon Dioxide as a one on the GWP scale.

Ok, so we have our baseline established now let’s compare the one GWP of Carbon Dioxide to an HFC refrigerant. One of the more popular HFC refrigerants known as R-404A has a GWP number of three-thousand nine-hundred and twenty-two. Yes, you heard me right. Three-thousand. That is a HUGE number and obviously a huge problem when looking at Global Warming.

Every time 404A was released, vented, or leaked into the atmosphere it would get trapped as a greenhouse gas and actively contribute to Global Warming. But it would do this and be thousands times stronger then Carbon Dioxide. This was obviously a big problem.

In 2015 the EPA announced RULE 20 of their SNAP program. This rule set the rules for phase outs of HFC refrigerants across the United States. It can be found by clicking here. Basically this rule introduced dates of when HFC refrigerants would be phased out. The first target was R-404A and the next was R-134a. The next year in 2016 an amendment to the Montreal Protocol was announced and signed. This amendment, known as the Kigali Amendment, scheduled the phase out of HFC refrigerants across the globe.

Now I am not sure how this will affect R-410A at this point in time. 410A has a GWP of two-thousand and eighty-eight. While this is a high number 410A was not mentioned in the new Rule from the EPA. (It was mentioned for vending machines but not for residential/commercial air conditioners.) I believe this was done because everyone had just switched over to 410A and wouldn’t make sense to transition so soon after to a new refrigerant. The other reason I believe 410A was left out was that there has yet to be a new alternative announced. Chemours and Honeywell are working on alternative as we speak but nothing is nailed down. I wrote an in-depth article on possible solutions for 410A alternatives that can be found by clicking here.

Regardless of what happens in the next few years I can assure you that R-410A’s time with us is limited. We have the EPA and the governments of the world all fighting against it due to it’s high Global Warming Potential. If I had to wager a guess I would say that by the year 2025 the phase out will begin and we will be looking at a newer HFO refrigerant that has not been invented yet. Time will tell though.

Thanks for reading and I hope that I was able to answer all of your questions and concerns.

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Sources

Last week I wrote an article going into how Honeywell and Chemours are filing an appeal to a federal court’s ruling that overturned the EPA’s phase out of HFC refrigerants. I explained how this was exactly what I thought would happen. These two behemoths aren’t going to sit back and watch their investments into HFO refrigerants go to waste. They are going to fight the ruling tooth and nail to ensure that HFCs are phased out and banned across the United States. It is in their best interest to do so.

Because of this appeal that was filed last week the actual ruling of the court is now suspended, or at least delayed until a decision is made. We are in a sort of limbo here in between phasing out HFCs or overturning the EPA’s phase out plan. At this point no one is for sure what will happen.

In One Corner

All of this started with two refrigerant manufacturers filing suit against the EPA’s proposed HFC phase out. These companies are Mexichem and Arkema. They had two main arguments for their suit: 1) The EPA was arbitrarily adding HFC refrigerants to the Clean Air Act phase out plan even though HFC refrigerants do not harm the Ozone layer. HFCs only contribute to Global Warming and they do not contain Chlorine. 2) Honeywell and Chemours are the only two major refrigerant companies in the world who have a new line of refrigerants ready to go once HFCs are phased out. By phasing out HFC refrigerants the United States government is causing major damage to Mexichem and Arkema’s business and giving millions of dollars of new business to Honeywell and Chemours. Doesn’t seem right.

Now these two companies who filed this suit aren’t small by any means. Mexichem brings in over five billion a year in revenue. Arkema, a French based company, brings in even more at seven and a half billion Euro. These numbers are nothing to sneeze at but it is all about comparison. If you look at who Mexichem and Arkema are fighting against you can really begin to see the contrast. There are only four really major refrigerant manufacturers that I know of: Honeywell, Chemours, Mexichem, and Arkema.

Honeywell’s revenue is near forty billion dollars. Chemours is just shy of six billion, but don’t let that number fool you. Chemours is a split off from the original DuPont company a few years back. DuPont’s revenue is just over twenty-five billion. If you combine the two companies (DuPont & Chemours) they are well over thirty billion dollars. These companies are huge and they are looking to stop the little guy, well at least as little as you can get when you bring in over a billion dollars a year.

Honeywell and Chemour’s also have two main points in their argument for appeal. 1) They argue that the SNAP Rule 20 (The rule the EPA used to phase out HFCs.) was well-founded and that the court’s ruling exceeded it’s own jurisdiction. 2) Their second argument is that between the two companies they have invested over a billion dollars to research, develop, and commercialize HFO refrigerants including building manufacturing facilities here in the United States. To back out now of the HFC refrigerant phase out could cause massive amounts of lost investment and opportunity.

So in one corner we have the two smaller refrigerant manufacturers Arkema and Mexichem pushing to keep HFCs around and then we have the two giants Honeywell and Chemours just waiting for the demand on their new HFO refrigerant line to explode.

Conclusion

What this boils down to folks is money and business. I’ve said it before but here I am saying it again. Honeywell and Chemours are the only players in town with a solid alternative to HFCs. Arkema and Mexichem need more time to develop their own alternatives. They want to extend the life of HFCs while Honeywell and Chemours want to stop HFCs as fast as they can. I feel that this court case was a stalling mechanism that Arkema and Mexichem had little hope of working, but when it actually did work everyone panicked for a moment. No one expected this ruling.

If you ask me for my opinion on the matter I’m hoping that the appeal loses and that HFCs get to stay around a bit longer. Yes, I know it’s bad for the environment but  I am looking at things as a business and competition side. I want HFCs around longer just so that more competition can arise from other avenues. I want Mexichem or Arkema or someone else to come up with viable alternatives out there as well. We need to see innovation! We need to see competition.

As it stands today no one knows who will win and how this ruling will affect the industry.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Sources

Well ladies and gentlemen I have to say that I saw this coming. The deadline to file an appeal on the Federal Court’s ruling against the EPA’s phaseout of HFC refrigerants was September 22nd, 2017. Lo and behold, at the last minute on the last day an appeal was filed by Honeywell and Chemours. This appeal brings up a whole other wave of uncertainty. How will the courts rule? What will happen if the ruling stands and the EPA cannot phase out HFC refrigerants without going through the Congress? If that happens the industry could be turned on it’s head. We all know that today’s Congress would never vote for such a thing. It seems like that people who want HFC’s phased out have this one last appeal card in their deck. If this fails who knows what they will try next.

For those of you not in the know, the EPA announced back in 2015 that they would be phasing out HFC refrigerants such as R-134a, R-404A, and R-410A through their SNAP, or Significant New Alternatives Policy. This new rule was called SNAP Rule 20. The country just accepted this mandate from the EPA and the industry moved on. Many companies began switching over to Hydrocarbons and others over to the new HFO refrigerant lines from Honeywell and Chemours.

In August of 2017 a Federal Court unexpectedly ruled against the EPA’s phase out of HFC refrigerants. This ruling threw everything into a tailspin and no one knew exactly what would happen next. For more information on this I wrote an article around the time it happened which can be found by clicking here.

Basically, the EPA tried to use section 612 of the Clean Air Act for their phase out. The problem here is though that this section of the Clean Air Act was designed specifically for CFC and HCFC refrigerants. It has nothing to do with HFC refrigerants. It’s design was to stop the damage to the Ozone layer by offering alternative refrigerants. Since HFC’s do not contain Chlorine and do not damage the Ozone they should not fall in the same category. This is how the court ruled. It seems like a very logical ruling, doesn’t?

Their Argument

The two companies who filed the appeal brought forth two arguments against the court’s ruling.

  1. First, they argue that the SNAP Rule 20 was well-founded and that the federal court’s ruling exceeded it’s jurisdiction as well as ignoring the original intent of the SNAP Program. (To replace Ozone depleting refrigerants with the safest alternatives.) This argument drives me crazy folks. They know they didn’t go through Congress and they know that they didn’t do it the right way. But none of that matters. No. Their intent was good. I guess as long as my intent is good I can do anything I want.
  2. The second argument and just as ludicrous in my book is that these two companies invested two much money to have this ruling being turned on it’s head. Chemours noted that they had invested more then one billion dollars to research, develop, and commercialize their new HFO refrigerants. All of this development was done under the guise of HFC refrigerants being phased out. What they don’t tell you here is that Chemours and Honeywell, have been investing money into HFOs long before the EPA made it’s decision to phase out HFC refrigerants in 2015. This argument seems like a moot point. In business their a thing called risk as all of you know.

Conclusion

It’s a toss up of what will happen here folks. In the original August ruling the Federal Court ruled two to one for overturning the EPA’s regulation. That is a narrow margin. Nobody had even seen this coming but now that there is a global spotlight on this ruling I can only guess that this appeal will be pushed through quickly.

What concerns me is the money behind this appeal. My fear is that with all of this money behind this that the appeal may not get a fair ruling and we may be back at where we started. I’ve said it before and I will say it again. I am not comfortable with two giant conglomerates like Honeywell and Chemours having all of the HFO manufacturing and production in their hands. Yes, other companies are free to develop their own alternatives but let’s be truthful here. These two companies have the power and they have the sway to convince other companies to make the switch to HFOs. It’s already happened in the automotive sector. Chances are if you look at a newer model vehicle it is taking HFO-1234YF. It’s only a matter of time before we see it start to take hold on Chillers and eventually commercial and residential air conditioning.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Sources

Let me preface this with France is a great country. I had never left the States before until a few months ago when I had a business trip in Belgium. We had an extra day so we took a train down to Lille and then another train down to Paris. I had a lot of fun, experienced two whole new countries, and drank a lot of beer. (The best part.) Also, the picture for this article is one I took when I was on top of The Pantheon in Paris. Lots of fun!

Alright, on to the article!

The Proposed Tax

In July of this year an HFC tax was announced by Nicolas Hulot, the French Environment Minister. The idea is for this new tax to be included in the French government’s 2018 budget. The tax would cover all areas of industry including industrial/commercial refrigeration, air conditioning, and refrigerated transport. There are no exemptions.

The exact amount on the tax has not been agreed to yet. A source from the French Refrigeration magazine said that the tax is likely to be around 30.5 Euros per tonne of CO2 equivalent. So, in other words the tax will be based off of Global Warming Potential number on each refrigerant. One estimate on R-404A points to an increase of one-hundred euros per kilogram of refrigerant. That works out to about one-hundred and nineteen dollar increase for every two pounds of refrigerant. Very very significant increase.

This kind of tax isn’t a new thing either. Other European countries have done this already, some for years. Some of these countries include Denmark, Poland, Spain, and Norway. An example of a refrigerant tax table from Norway can be seen below. Click on the picture to be taken to the official document.

Norway's HFC Refrigerant Tax Chart
Norway’s HFC Refrigerant Tax Chart

Now it’s not all bad news here folks. One point to note is that there will also be a tax credit offered that will reduce the cost of switching over to HFC free technology by up to twenty-five percent. (This is speculative so far, no numbers nailed down yet.) That number is a lot of savings especially to larger companies. This tax incentive opens the doors to either Natural Refrigerants/Hydrocarbons or to the new HFO refrigerant classes from HoneyWell and Chemours. No one knows for sure what will win but if I was to guess I would say we see a solid mix of HFOs and Hydrocarbons depending on the applications. Chillers may be all Hydrocarbons while automotive and home air conditioners may go the HFO route.

The Good Fight

Not everyone is on board with this proposed tax in France. As many of twenty groups of refrigerant manufacturers, contractors, and refrigerant associations have come forward in opposition to the tax proposal. For a complete listing of these companies and associations click here to be taken to CoolingPost.com’s article on it. These companies state that the tax is unnecessary and adds an extra burden to the industry. Here are a few of their reasons:

  1. There is already an existing law in the European Union called the ‘F-Gas Regulation,’ that plans to completely phase-out HFC refrigerants across the EU. Adding a tax on top of this is just greedy.
  2. In the F-Gas Regulation there are HFC quotas that restrict how much refrigerant can be imported and manufactured within the EU. These companies’ point is that if France doesn’t use up the quota then another country in the EU will. It’s a moot point. The environment will be affected the same rather or not if France uses up all of the HFC quotas.

Conclusion

The thing to point out here though folks is this part of the French budget is some of the tamest. This Climate Plan that they are pushing actually aims to end the sale of gasoline and diesel cars by the year 2040. On top of that they will stop using coal by the year 2022 for electricity among many other climate measures.

Europe is changing fast and it always seems that they are a few steps ahead of us on this type of thing. I remember about ten years ago when I was in the trucking industry. If my memory serves me right 2007 was the year that all diesel models in the United States were mandated to use a Diesel Particular Filter and along with the filter came Diesel Exhaust Fluid. Those of you who drive diesels know what I’m talking about. The reason I bring this is up is that the EU had been doing DPFs for years before it came over to the US.

The EU seems to be the testers and the forebearers of what is to come here in the states. So, don’t be surprised if we see a proposed HFC tax coming here over the next few years. I would be surprised to see the Trump Administration propose this but if not them then the next administration most definitely will. And hey, with our EPA they won’t even need to go through Congress. They’ll just use the Clean Air Act and deem it so.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Sources

Almost two months ago on August 8th, 2017 a federal court ruled against the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed ban and phase-out of HFC refrigerants. Originally, the EPA had planned phase out of HFC refrigerants to begin next year with R-404A and again in 2020/21 for R-134a.

I’ve written about this ruling before so I will only do a brief synopsis here on what this ruling is about. Most of you are familiar with the Montreal Protocol. This was the treaty that banned CFCs and HCFCs from the refrigerant world. They banned these refrigerants due to the Chlorine they contained. In 2015 the Obama administration tried to use this same treaty to ban HFC refrigerants. Only one problem though, HFC refrigerants do not contain any Chlorine. When the EPA announced their proposed phase-out of HFC refrigerants they referenced their authority from the Clean Air Act, section 612. Again, we run into the same problem here. This section was written in reference to Chlorine and the Ozone layer, not for HFC refrigerants. For more information on this click here to read my previous article.

Here is where the courts stepped in and ruled against the EPA’s phase-out of HFCs. The courts ruled that this phase-out was beyond the authority of the EPA. If a phase-out was to be made then it should go through congress. Which, is the right thing to do. This ruling upset a lot of the big boys in the industry such as Honeywell, Chemours, and yes… AHRI.

The Push for Appeal

America’s Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute is now pushing for appeal of this ruling.  The deadline for appeal is September 22nd, or only a few days from now. No one knows for sure exactly what is going to happen here. If the court’s ruling stands then the entire market may be turned on it’s head. The prices of HFC refrigerants could fall substantially.

What AHRI is doing is pushing for the EPA itself to push for the appeal. However, if the EPA does not take action then we very well may see Honeywell or Chemour file an appeal. Here is the disturbing part. The AHRI has been contacting the EPA and the White House informing them of the industry’s position on the matter. Evidently, the entire industry’s position is to enforce the HFC phase-out and to push HFO’s onto the marketplace in full force. Who knew?

I may be getting a tad political here but I am just going to be straight forward with you guys and tell you what I think is going on here. Sure, the AHRI and others may hide behind the shield of Global Warming. By cutting HFCs out we can save the world and all of that other hub bub. What they won’t tell you is that the two companies pushing the hardest for HFC phase-outs are Honeywell and Chemours. For those of you who read my article last week you know about these two companies’ monopoly on the HFO refrigerant industry.

Conclusion

This may be the cynic in me but it seems that Honeywell, Chemours, along with the AHRI, are pushing this appeal so hard because they don’t want to lose their investments and their monopoly in the soon to be dominant HFO refrigerant market. To me, all of this doesn’t seem to be about Global Warming but instead lining their pockets with a consolidated market. Think about how much refrigerants the US goes through in a year. Now think about only two companies supplying all of that refrigerant. Prices would go through the roof.

Regardless of how I, or you, feel about this we should know this week if an appeal will be heard or not. I do not know how much power the sitting President or Congress would have over this fight in the courts but maybe they can turn the tide against the conglomerates. I am hoping that HFC refrigerants get more time in the US but only time will tell.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Sources

Greetings everyone! I welcome you this weekend to breaking news in the refrigeration world. On August 8th, just a few days ago, a Federal Court in Washington D.C. ruled against the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed phase-out of HFC refrigerants. The lawsuit against the EPA and federal government was brought by one of the largest manufacturers of refrigerant in the world, Mexi-Chem and Arkema. These two companies joined together for their suit claiming that the EPA had overstretched it’s reach by using the Clean Air Act, section 612, as the basis for their phase-out of HFC refrigerants. Here’s the problem though, and here’s why there is a lawsuit. This section of the Clean Air Act comes from the Montreal Protocol. The Montreal Protocol was formed and signed all the way back in 1987. (You know, the year after I was born!)

The intention of this protocol was to phase out all of the Ozone depleting substances across the world. These included the common CFC and HCFC refrigerants. (R-12, R-22, R-502, etc.) This treaty was used for the past twenty years phasing out all of these damaging refrigerants. In 2015 the Obama Administration’s EPA created a new regulation that would call for the phase-out of all HFC refrigerants. This included your ever popular R-134a, R-410A, and R-404A. The thing is though that HFC refrigerants do not contribute to Ozone deletion, what-so-ever. There is no Chlorine in these refrigerants. No Chlorine means no damage to the Ozone. I wrote an article about this way back in 2015 where I mentioned how underhanded it was. It was not the right way to do it. If HFC’s mattered this much why didn’t they go through congress and get a proper law created?

Personally, I couldn’t be happier with this ruling mainly because the way the EPA went about this was all wrong. Mexi-Chem and Arkema couldn’t be happier either. The big losers here are the EPA obviously, but also Chemours, formerly DuPont, and Honeywell. Both DuPont and Honeywell invested billions into the new HFO refrigerants. They spent their billions on new plants and manufacturing centers across the world. They spent it on research. They spent in on alternatives such as 1234YF and R-452A. Now, here in America, the HFC refrigerants aren’t being phased out. That’s going to hurt.

“The EPA’s authority to regulate ozone-depleting substances under Section 612 and other statutes does not give the EPA authority to order the replacement of substances that are not ozone depleting but that contribute to climate change,” the court ruled. “Congress has not yet enacted general climate change legislation. Although we understand and respect EPA’s overarching effort to fill that legislative void and regulate HFCs, the EPA may act only as authorized by Congress.”

What Happens Next?

The court’s ruling struck down the executive order done by Barack Obama that was part of his climate action plan. So, while HFC refrigerants are not going to be forcefully phased-out in the next few years it doesn’t mean that they will be around forever. Part of Obama’s Climate Action Plan in 2013 was to get as many major companies on board with switching to lesser Global Warming Potential refrigerants such as Hydrocarbons or HFOs. Some of these companies were Coca-Cola, Carrier, Thermo-King, and many others. Even with this ruling a lot of companies have already stated that they will not be changing anything. It doesn’t make sense to reverse course now. What if another ruling happens next year and they have to redo everything they have been working towards? The safer investment is to stick with the new refrigerants. Businesses are always about the safer investment.

Overall this ruling gave everyone more time. R-134a isn’t going to be phased out in 2021 as previously stated by the EPA. (Click here for my article on that.) Now there isn’t a set phase-out date so car manufacturers can still use R-134a on their newer models if they so wish but a lot of them have already begun switching to the new HFO-1234YF. It’s the same story with R-404A. A lot of major companies have already begun switching over to the new HFO R-452A. The big dog of refrigerant right now, R-410A, is the one that I believe will last for at least another decade, maybe two. 410A’s days were numbered due to the HFC phasedown but now with this ruling 410A is the last thing on everyone’s mind. Everyone is focused on replacing 134a and 404A to worry about 410A.

The standard guy in the field wasn’t going to see much of a change over the next couple years anyways but now with this ruling everything may be pushed back another five years. So those old-timers out there may get to retire without having to deal with all of those new fangled HFOs coming on the market. We are still waiting to hear an official statement from the EPA but Honeywell publicly stated, “We strongly encourage the EPA to continue pursuing the phase-out of HFCs and the benefits it provides.”

What is Included in the Montreal Protocol:

The government tried using Chapter VI, 6, of the Clean Air Act to phase-out HFC refrigerants. The name of this chapter is called: “Stratospheric Ozone Protection” See a problem here? Well the courts did too! If we go inside this chapter of the Clean Air Act using the government’s official website we can see that all of the below substances were to be banned. There is no mention of HFC refrigerants anywhere. Funny, how they tried to just throw those in there.

The below is a listing of every chemical that was included in the Montreal Protocol:

Group I

  • chlorofluorocarbon-11 (CFC–11)
  • chlorofluorocarbon-12 (CFC–12)
  • chlorofluorocarbon-113 (CFC–113)
  • chlorofluorocarbon-114 (CFC–114)
  • chlorofluorocarbon-115 (CFC–115)

Group II

  • halon-1211
  • halon-1301
  • halon-2402
  • hydrochlorofluorocarbon-21 (HCFC–21)
  • hydrochlorofluorocarbon-22 (HCFC–22)
  • hydrochlorofluorocarbon-31 (HCFC–31)
  • hydrochlorofluorocarbon-121 (HCFC–121)
  • hydrochlorofluorocarbon-122 (HCFC–122)
  • hydrochlorofluorocarbon-123 (HCFC–123)
  • hydrochlorofluorocarbon-124 (HCFC–124)
  • hydrochlorofluorocarbon-131 (HCFC–131)
  • hydrochlorofluorocarbon-132 (HCFC–132)
  • hydrochlorofluorocarbon-133 (HCFC–133)
  • hydrochlorofluorocarbon-141 (HCFC–141)
  • hydrochlorofluorocarbon-142 (HCFC–142)
  • hydrochlorofluorocarbon-221 (HCFC–221)
  • hydrochlorofluorocarbon-222 (HCFC–222)
  • hydrochlorofluorocarbon-223 (HCFC–223)
  • hydrochlorofluorocarbon-224 (HCFC–224)
  • hydrochlorofluorocarbon-225 (HCFC–225)
  • hydrochlorofluorocarbon-226 (HCFC–226)
  • hydrochlorofluorocarbon-231 (HCFC–231)
  • hydrochlorofluorocarbon-232 (HCFC–232)
  • hydrochlorofluorocarbon-233 (HCFC–233)
  • hydrochlorofluorocarbon-234 (HCFC–234)
  • hydrochlorofluorocarbon-235 (HCFC–235)
  • hydrochlorofluorocarbon-241 (HCFC–241)
  • hydrochlorofluorocarbon-242 (HCFC–242)
  • hydrochlorofluorocarbon-243 (HCFC–243)
  • hydrochlorofluorocarbon-244 (HCFC–244)
  • hydrochlorofluorocarbon-251 (HCFC–251)
  • hydrochlorofluorocarbon-252 (HCFC–252)
  • hydrochlorofluorocarbon-253 (HCFC–253)
  • hydrochlorofluorocarbon-261 (HCFC–261)
  • hydrochlorofluorocarbon-262 (HCFC–262)
  • hydrochlorofluorocarbon-271 (HCFC–271)

Group III

  • chlorofluorocarbon-13 (CFC–13)
  • chlorofluorocarbon-111 (CFC–111)
  • chlorofluorocarbon-112 (CFC–112)
  • chlorofluorocarbon-211 (CFC–211)
  • chlorofluorocarbon-212 (CFC–212)
  • chlorofluorocarbon-213 (CFC–213)
  • chlorofluorocarbon-214 (CFC–214)
  • chlorofluorocarbon-215 (CFC–215)
  • chlorofluorocarbon-216 (CFC–216)
  • chlorofluorocarbon-217 (CFC–217)

Conclusion

I’m not sure if this ruling is due to the now Republican controlled goverment or if it was just the courts doing their job. I won’t get into politics here but I have to say that the courts did the right thing here. As I said before if the EPA saw it as necessary to phase the HFC’s out then they should have gone through the proper channel and had a new law instated. They shouldn’t have tried to weasel in their own interpenetration of the Montreal Protocol which was clearly designed for Ozone depletion chemicals and not high GWP refrigerants.

Thanks for reading folks,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Sources

Well folks the do-it-yourselfer air conditioning repairman will be quickly coming to a close at the end of this year. No more novices trying to ‘recharge’ their system. No more guys just dumping more refrigerant in. Well, we can at least hope so…unless these guys have a friend in the business. Some of the techs and contractors out there will rejoice at this news but others will be groaning again at more government regulation control. What side of the fence are you on?

What’s Changed?

Starting on January 1st, 2018 the same refrigerant sales restriction that applies to the CFC and HCFC refrigerants on the market today are now going to be applied to the HFC refrigerants. HFC refrigerants are the most commonly used refrigerants in the market today and include R-134a, R-404A, and R-410A. Chances are your home air conditioner is using an HFC refrigerant as I write this.

I believe everyone saw that this change was coming but no one knew exactly when. Honestly, I don’t know when the ruling was made by the EPA, or if it was even announced, but I make a habit of checking their website and reading through their regulations. I noticed the change and thought I would spread the word before we hit the deadline. Below is an excerpt from the EPA’s website. You can click here as well to go straight to their site.

Starting on January 1, 2018, the requirements discussed on this page will also apply to most substitute refrigerants, including HFCs.

This sales restriction, just like the previous ones, covers cylinders, cans, drums, or totes of  HFC refrigerants. The only exception to this is are the small cans of R-134a refrigerant that contain two pounds or less. This exception is there to still allow do-it-yourselfers to repair their car’s air conditioning system. So, the EPA allows the homeowner in his garage to dump 134a into his car but they do not allow that same guy to dump pounds of 410A into his three ton home unit. In their defense though, 410A is a lot more dangerous than 134a.

If you are a wholesaler of refrigerant then you will need to keep records of every transaction which include the name of the purchaser, the date of the sale, the customer’s address and contact information, the type of refrigerant purchased, and the quantity of refrigerant cylinders. As a wholesaler you are legally responsible for these records and to discern rather your customer is legally able to purchase refrigerant. (Are they 608 or 609 certified?) This is the same process when selling customers CFCs or HCFCs and to be honest I’m sure most wholesalers are obtaining this information already on HFCs just to be safe so there really won’t be much change for them.

The Why?

Some of you may be asking why this change will be implemented in 2018. While the restriction is still similar to the previous ones on CFCs and HCFCs the reason is quite different. On the past refrigerants such as R-12 or R-22 they were put in place due to their Chlorine content. The Chlorine in these refrigerants were found to be damaging the O-Zone layer of the atmosphere. Each time a refrigerant was leaked or vented into the atmosphere it caused damage. It got to a point where a hole began to form and a global regulations were formed to prevent it from happening again.

HFC refrigerants are a different story. Instead of them containing Chlorine the problem is their greenhouse gases and each HFC’s Global Warming Potential, or GWP. GWP is a measurement of the greenhouse gas emissions that a product releases. It is measured by using the control of Carbon Dioxide. Carbon Dioxide has a GWP of 1. Whereas R-134a has a GWP of 1,430. So, you can begin to see the problem. R-134a has over fourteen-hundred times the GWP of Carbon Dioxide. Each time an HFC refrigerant is vented or accidentally released into the atmosphere it actively contributes to Global Warming.

Conclusion

In conclusion if you are already a tech or a mechanic who works on air conditioning machines and are already 608 or 609 certified then you have nothing to worry about. However, if you were buying HFC refrigerant this year, for whatever reason, and you are not certified then you will find that you will not be able to purchase next year without being certified. Well, you shouldn’t be able to. You may still have some vendors who don’t ask for 608 or 609 numbers before selling but I can assure you that after some time they will learn from their mistakes. Trust me, you don’t want to be on the EPA’s bad side.

For more information on obtaining a 608 or a 609 certification either ask your employer or click the links below. The thing to keep in mind is that if you are going to be working on stationary units like a home air conditioner, a supermarket freezer, or a commercial roof unit then you will need to be 608 certified. However, if you are a mechanic and will only be dealing with R-12, R-134a, and 1234YF then all you need is a 609 cert.

Lastly, if you are wanting to purchase some HFC refrigerants and you are not certified then I highly recommend visiting our store pages below and buying some product today. Also, if you’re interested in bulk purchasing click here to fill out a contact form that we will forward on to a national refrigerant distributor.

Thanks for reading and I hope that I was able to help.

Alec John Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Honeywell Refrigerants

The race is on to find suitable alternatives to R-404A. In 2009 the Honeywell corporation invented a new refrigerant called Genetron Performax. (R-407F) This new refrigerant is an HFC blend containing forty percent of R-134a, thirty percent of R-125, and thirty percent of R-32. The thinking behind this refrigerant was to come up with a viable alternative to the currently used R-404A  in supermarkets and grocers that would be more friendly to the environment.

R-404A has one of the highest Global Warming Potentials in all of the refrigerants on the market today standing at 3,922 GWP. (Source from Linde-Gas.com) To give you some perspective the GWP of R-134a is only 1,430. Just by looking at the numbers here you can see why there is a large concern over the damage that 404A is causing to the environment and the impact that it is having on Global Warming. This is the main reason that when we hear about the phasing out of HFC refrigerants R-404A is the first one targeted. (The phase out began in the United States last year.)

This new refrigerant designed by Honeywell, R-407F, has a GWP of 1,824. That is over a fifty percent decrease in GWP from 404A. While the 1,824 is still very high for a refrigerant it is significantly better than what we had been using. Imagine if everyone converted over to this new refrigerant. The impact on the environment from supermarket freezers and refrigerated transport would be cut in half.

Along with having the lower GWP than 404A the R-407F is an A1 rated refrigerant. That means low toxicity and that it is non flammable. This is a big deal as a common occurrence with alternatives to HFCs is higher flammability ratings. A few more benefits to this refrigerant are that it is an efficient R-22 retrofit option, lower discharge temperature than R-22, similar cooling capacity to R-404A, uses the same oil as 404A, and has around a ten percent energy savings when comparing to existing 404A systems. (Source on these claims is from Linde-Gas.com)

15,000th Store

At the close of 2016 Honeywell celebrated reaching their 15,000th store being converted over to R-407F. That is quite the achievement. Honeywell predicts that over the course of 2016 they saved over ten million metric tons of Carbon Dioxide equivalent. That is equal to eliminating five million cars off of the road.

Most of these retrofitted units were implemented in the Asia Pacific region and in the European Union. The ASDA supermarket chain in the United Kingdom reported that they consumed fourteen percent less energy on the systems using R-407F when comparing it to R-404A.

Along with the added efficiency these stores and business will be in compliance with the European Union’s F-Gas regulation from 2015. The EU regulation can be found by clicking here, but the main goal is to reduce the EU’s HFC usage by 1/4 of 2014 levels by the year 2030.

Conclusion

R-407F is an HFC refrigerant and as I mentioned above HFC’s will be going away. Honeywell does offer a lower GWP under their new Solstice Hydrofluoroolefins refrigerant line. This refrigerant is called N40 or R-448A. R-448A has a GWP of 1,273 which is sixty-eight percent lower than 404A. This HFO refrigerant is also rated as an A1 by the ASHRAE classification. That means low toxicity and low flammability. The downside to alternative HFO refrigerants is the price. Hopefully, as time goes on the price will eventually lower to be closer to HFCs.

As the years pass by we will begin to see more HFO’s, like the R-448A that I mentioned above, come into the marketplace. While HFC’s are going away the push is on to shrink the GWP of refrigerants as much and as quickly as possible. Even though R-407F will most likely be replaced by an HFO refrigerant in the near future Honeywell is still seeing outstanding success in converting systems over to their 407F. It’s better to start converting now and save some carbon than wait until the ‘perfect’ refrigerant comes along.

I predict that in the next few years we will see the push to switch to the lower GWP HFC alternatives increase and during that increase we will slowly transition over and away from HFCs to the newly developed HFO refrigerants that have even lower GWP.

Thanks for reading and if you enjoyed the article please take the time to subscribe to our newsletter by filling out your e-mail in the top right of the page. Thanks again,

Alec Johnson

Owner.

Sources

Alternatives to R-410A?

Rather you like it or not folks R-410A will be going away and it’s going to be happening a lot sooner than everyone thinks. In 2015 the Environmental Protection Agency announced that they will beginning the initial steps of phasing out R-404A in July of 2016, January 2017, and 2018. Along with that they also announced that the tried and tested R-134a will begin being phased out in the year 2020. (2021 model years.) HFCs are quickly coming to an end.

On top of the EPA’s actions on phasing out HFC refrigerants there was an amendment added to the Montreal Protocol only a few months ago in November of 2016. More than one-hundred countries met in Kigali, Rwanda. The United States, the European Union, and many other countries have been working tirelessly on getting an HFC phase out amendment added to the Montreal Protocol for years. Well the last holds out finally gave in and everyone’s dreams finally came true in late 2016. The goal of the agreement was to ban all HFC refrigerants across the world by the year 2100. The United States along with all of the other countries happily signed the agreement.

Under the signed amendment developed countries, including the United States, must reduce their use of HFC refrigerants by ten percent by 2019 from 2011-2013 levels, and then by eighty-five percent by 2036. Along with this developed countries will also have to comply with a freeze of HFC consumption levels in the year 2024. By the late 2040’s all developed countries are expected to consume no more than fifteen to twenty percent of their baselines. In order to meet these guidelines developed countries have already begun phasing out the other HFCs as we discussed above. 410A is not on the chopping block yet but it will be soon.

Everything, and I mean everything, is pointing in the direction that 410A will be no more. The only thing that I could see stopping the phase out of 410A in the near future is the presidency of Donald Trump. Now, keep in mind that this is all speculation, but Trump has said before that he doesn’t believe in Climate Change. So, if you don’t believe in something than why would your country pledge and sign a treaty saying that you would phase something out because of Climate Change? It doesn’t make sense. No one knows what Trump will do though. He may leave things the way they are or he may go back and try to renege on the treaty.

The Four Rules

The race to find an alternative refrigerant for R-410A is on. After all, 410A has to be one of the greatest used, if not the greatest, refrigerant in the world. Everyone needs a cool house and most of the time they’re either using R-22 or R-410A. Finding an alternative has proven difficult though as there has been no perfect match so far. There are four considerations companies have to consider before they can sign off on a golden ticket replacement product. These four ‘rules’ or considerations are Environment, Energy Efficiency, Safety, and Economy.

  1. If we look at the first criteria of environment we have to consider two things. One being that the new product can’t contain Chlorine like the old CFCs and HCFCs of the past. We don’t want a repeat of the O-Zone damage that we went through the eighties and nineties. The second being that the replacement cannot have a large Global Warming Potential like the HFC refrigerants used today. The whole point is to have a refrigerant that does NOT damage the environment, or at least, does not damage the environment as much as the current HFCs do.
  2. Energy Efficiency pretty much explains itself. Obviously we do not want have a gas that would be used across the world that is terribly inefficient. What good would it do to if we’re just wasting energy and impacting the environment in another way? The whole robbing Peter to pay Paul mentality. It doesn’t make sense.
  3.  Safety is another consideration that has to be factored in when finding the ‘perfect’ refrigerant. One of the major risks here is flammability. Each refrigerant has a flammability rating and some are much higher than others. If you have proper training on dealing with flammable refrigerants than there is nothing to worry about. The danger comes in if the R-410A replacement is highly flammable. Commercial units are usually left alone. Only professionals ever attempt to maintenance them. With a home unit you run the risk of having novices or ‘Bubbas,’ trying to maintenance or even install their own machine. Imagine the risk they could be taking if the refrigerant they were dealing with was extremely flammable? (Like R-290.) The other aspect of safety is the toxicity levels of the refrigerant. If you have a leak and it is in a confined area what effect will that have on the people in that area? Will there be permanent damage to them after breathing it, or even death?
  4. Economy is the last and final aspect when looking for an alternative. What good is an alternative if no one can afford it? If a ten pound cylinder is north of $1,000 how is anyone going to be able to afford it? Cost is a large factor when considering an alternative. Truth be told I believe we’re seeing the cost problem now with the 134a replacement. The HFO 1234YF is nearly $700 for a ten pound cylinder. Imagine the cost involved if you had to refill your car after a repair? It’s quite the difference between the $100 cost of a thirty pound cylinder of 134a.

Ok, so with those four considerations in mind let’s review the possibilities of the future for replacing R-410A.

Hydroflurocarbons (HFC’s)

Yes, yes I know. R-410A is an HFC so why would we replace it with another HFC? Well, there is a push to change from 410A over to R-32 refrigerant. The thinking is that this wouldn’t be a permanent solution but more of a temporary until something better comes along. R-410A’s Global Warming Potential (GWP) is 1,725 times that of Carbon Dioxide. This large number is why 410A is being pressured to be phased out. While R-32 is an HFC it’s GWP is only 675. That is about a sixty percent decrease. It’s not a perfect bullet but it would help with the battle against Global Warming.

There are a few benefits to R-32 one of which I mentioned above. The first being the lower Global Warming Potential. The second benefit is that consumers will see a ten percent reduction in their energy usage when switching to R-32. Another pro for R-32 is the cost. It is overall much cheaper than R-410A and is readily available to purchase now. R-32 has seen wide usage across Australia and in July of 2015 was approved for limited usage by the United State’s Environmental Protection Agency. (Visit link to their website here.)

Ok, so we have see the pros of HFC-32 now let’s take a look at some of the downsides.  R-410A is classified as ‘Non-Flammable,’ according to the Safety Data Sheets. The flammability rating on 410A is ruled as class 1. When looking at the same data for R-32 we find that it is ‘Extremely Flammable,’ and is classified under a level 4 for flammability. Both of these come from each products Safety Data Sheets which can be found by clicking here for R-410A and here for R-32. And to think people were freaking out about the flammability of 410A a few years ago!

Another downside to R-32 that companies have complained about is the toxicity of breathing in the product. Proponents have rebutted saying that R-32 is no more toxic than any other refrigerant when breathed in. Which I believe is a perfectly valid point. The last downside and one that is extremely difficult to prove is that R-32 causes cancer. There has been no conclusive tests on this theory and so far it is speculation. The belief is that this rumor started in California due to their strict environmental laws.

So, in review on R-32 we have a cheaper alternative refrigerant to R-410A and one that has nearly sixty percent reduction in Global Warming Potential. But, this replacement product is extremely flammable and may put people at risk. In my opinion I do not believe this refrigerant meets the four conditions to be accepted as an acceptable substitute. (Safety comes to mind.) If we do start using HFC -32 here in the United States than I could see it being only temporary until a better HFO refrigerant comes along. I wouldn’t put money on seeing this at your next service call.

Sources on R-32:

Hydrocarbons?

Hydrocarbons are a different story. They have been around a lot longer than the HFOs and even HFCs. Everyone is at least somewhat familiar with them and even a laymen has heard of most of them. (Propane, Isobutane, Carbon Dioxide.) Some of these refrigerants go all the way back to the nineteenth century if you can believe it. Before the rise of CFCs such as R-12 Hydrocarbons were widely used in various establishments. One of the first air conditioned movie theaters in the early twentieth century was cooled by Carbon Dioxide.

Alright, that’s enough of a history lesson. Let’s dive in and take a look at the possible scenario on each one:

R-290 (Propane)

Alright so let’s get the selling point of R-290 out of the way now. Propane has zero O-Zone depletion potential and only a GWP of only 3. Yes, that’s right. 3. Humongous difference when comparing to 410A’s GWP of 1,725.  Right out of the gate R-290 meets the environmental criteria for an alternative. Overall it is rather energy efficient and the cost is relatively cheap coming in at right about the same cost as a thirty pound cylinder of R-410A. (A little over one hundred dollars a cylinder.) We’re three for four on propane passing the feasibility test. There is just that last one. That one that we overlooked, safety.

The disadvantages are the flammability risk, safety standards/codes, and ensuring each technician is properly trained before handling. If propane is handled in the right way and by a properly trained technician than everything will be fine. However, if ‘Bubba,’ tries to install his own unit or retrofit his own machine with propane that is where things get dangerous. A common occurrence over the years since R-22 has grown more expensive is for companies to market their R-290 product as a drop in replacement for their R-22 units. This is a dangerous practice since the R-22 machines were not meant to use propane. The end result can result in injury or an explosion.

R-290 is already seeing widespread use in India and China and now the middle eastern countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and others are expressing interest for R-290 due to it’s better performance in higher ambient temperature environments. The Environmental Protection Agency has approved R-290 for use in stand alone small charge units including retail food refrigerators and freezers. All that being said though I do not foresee seeing R-290 being widely used as a replacement for R-410A.

R-290 Sources

R-744 (Carbon Dioxide)

R-744 has no harmful environmental effects. I mean, there is nothing more natural than Carbon Dioxide. There is no O-Zone depletion potential and the Global Warming Potential is minimal. In fact as I mentioned earlier R-744 was one of the very first refrigerants used in the world only losing popularity once the easier to use R-12 was introduced.

R-744 requires very low energy to run, is non-toxic, and non flammable. The problem that comes with R-744 is not the dangers of flammability like that of R-290 but instead with economy. R-744 runs at an extremely high pressure during operation. The pressure is so high that the efficiency of the compressor suffers greatly and the durability and thickness of the pipes needs to be increased to compensate. The thickened pipes and the custom high pressure equipment increases the overall cost of R-744 for most uses.  Some could also make the argument that Carbon Dioxide refrigerant due to it’s increased pressure of 2,000 pounds per square inch also makes it dangerous to work on. That’s a tally of two out of four.

While R-744 is seeing usage in other smaller applications like that of refrigerated cases I do not foresee it being used as an alternative to R-410A due to the additional cost of the higher pressure equipment and the potential safety risk of the high pressure.

R-744 Sources

R-717 (Ammonia)

Ammonia or R-717 is often regarded as the most efficient refrigerant gas on the market today. Along with it’s energy efficiency aspect it also has no O-Zone depletion potential and has a Global Warming Potential of zero. The cost for R-717 is much lower than other HFC refrigerants on the market today creating a cost savings if someone was to switch over to R-717.

If we refer to the four rules again that I stated above we are three for four so far. The fourth rule, and honestly one of the most important, is safety. R-717 is not the safest refrigerant… by any means and it is one of the reasons why it is not commonly used in today’s residential market.

Like R-290 R-717 is highly flammable. Don’t let me say it though, let’s take a look at the exact wording on the safety data sheet on R-717: “Flammable. Toxic by inhalation. Causes burns. Risk of serious damage to eyes. Very toxic to aquatic organisms.” – Source. So we have a highly flammable product that has high toxicity and can cause damage to your skin and eyes. I can see why this hasn’t taken off.

While R-717 does have the safety detriments it is still widely used today in many types of manufacturing plants such as dairies, ice cream plants, frozen food production, cold storage warehouses, and meat processing plants.  I’ve said this before but I’ll say it again. This potentially hazardous material works because it is being used in a large commercial setting. The Jo Schmo do-it-yourselfer is never going to tamper or try to fix one of these commercial machines. If something goes wrong at one of these businesses they call in a professional. If R-717 becomes a mainstream refrigerant found in every home in the country than the risk of do-it-yourselfers accidentally burning themselves or worse causing an explosion goes up exponentially. For that reason alone I do not foresee R-717 being used as a suitable R-410A replacement.

R-717 Sources

Hydrofluoroolefin (HFO’s)

HFO’s are already seeing large usage in the European Union and now beginning in the United States. Most of the applications have been under the HFO 1234YF used in automobile applications. As of January 1st, 2017 cars can no longer be manufactured with R-134a systems in the EU. The United States isn’t too far off either with our final date being 2020. (2021 model year.) 1234YF is quickly replacing the R-134a market that we know today. To some it’s 1994 all over again where we phased out the R-12 in place of R-134a.

The selling point on the new  HFO’s are the environmental impact. The goal here was to create something as similar as they could to the current HFCs on the market but without the high Global Warming Potential that comes with them. For example, the 1234YF refrigerant has a global warming potential of four. For comparison, the Global Warming Potential of R-134a is over 3,000. There is a significant difference and the climate will be greatly affected if the whole world switches over to these new HFO refrigerants. (Or Hydrocarbons.)

The problem with HFOs is that they are all in developmental stage. The two conglomerate companies DuPont/Chemours and Honeywell have been putting endless hours and money into developing new HFO refrigerants that could take the place of the beloved R-410A. The other complication with HFO’s is that since they are being invented by only a few companies these same companies hold the patents on the new product. This creates an almost monopoly type setting where Honeywell and Chemours can set whatever price they want on their new Opteon and Solstice brands. Now, I’m not attacking these companies for having a high priced product. There is cost involved and I am sure it is quite high to create these new refrigerants. The reason I bring it up is for you the consumer or the business owner to realize just how expensive these refrigerants are. For example, a ten pound cylinder of the HFO 1234YF goes for about $700. For comparison a thirty pound cylinder of R-134a goes for about $120.

While there are MANY HFO refrigerants under development and available today I am only going to be looking at the possible 410A alternatives. With the introduction out of the way let’s dive into the various HFO refrigerants available today:

Opteon DR-55 (R-452B)

R-452B passed the flammability and toxicology review required by the ANSI/ASHRAE in March of 2016. Upon it’s approval it was given a preliminary ASHRAE number of R-452B. While this new alternative refrigerant from Chemours still has a somewhat high Global Warming Potential of 676 it is still sixty-five percent lower than it’s R-410A counterpart. It also comes with a lower flammability rating than other proposed R-410A solutions. (R-290 for example.)

Along with it being friendlier to the environment  and safe to use R-452B matches the capacity of R-410A allowing it to be compatible with currently used R-410A equipment. This allows for a quick and easy change of refrigerants on existing 410A units in the field.

While this refrigerant is still in the preliminary stages I could definitely see this becoming mainstream once it goes to market. It has right around the same GWP of R-32 but comes with a lower flammability rating. My only concern on this new refrigerant from Chemours is the cost. How much is this going to cost per cylinder when it rolls out this year or next? HFO’s are notoriously known for their high cost. Let’s hope that this new refrigerant doesn’t fall into that same category.

R-452B Sources

Opteon XL41 (R-454B)

R-454B is another new HFO refrigerant that was developed by the Chemour’s company. This refrigerant has the lowest GWP of all of the drop in R-410A replacements out there today. It comes in at a GWP of 466, that is seventy-eight percent lower than 410A. The formula on the refrigerant itself is a very close match to 410A and has been proved to be higher performing than 410A in some instances.

The downside of this new refrigerant is it’s mildly flammable status. While flammable refrigerants are perfectly safe when used in the right hands they can be extremely dangerous in the hands of a novice. Even though this refrigerant is in fact the lowest GWP alternative out there today I do not foresee it becoming a mainstream alternative to 410A simply because of it’s flammability rating. The chances of a homeowner hurting themselves is just too great.

R-454B Sources

SOLSTICE REFRIGERANTS?

I spent some time digging through Google and Honeywell’s website looking for mentions of a feasible R-410A alternative. The best that I found was a press release from 2013, four years ago, saying that they were working on a new 410A alternative. I haven’t been able to find much more news on these refrigerants. When I reviewed their website, which can be found by clicking here, I found four new Solstice HFO alternatives… but they were not for R-410A. Instead they were for R-134a, R-404A, and R-22.

I may be mistaken here and missed the boat on finding their alternatives to R-410A. If I have please let me know by sending me an e-mail and I’ll update this article. (Follow this link and scroll to the bottom to send me an e-mail.)

What’s Winning?

At this point it is hard to say but if I was to put my money down I would be betting on two refrigerants. Over the next few years we are either going to see a push for the Hydrocarbon R-32 or the new Opteon DR-55 (R-452B). As I said before I have a feeling that the cost of the new R-452B will be quite a bit higher than what we are used to today. The consideration that has to be made is the lower cost of R-32 when compared to R-452B worth the risk of extra flammability? Is it worth saving money but having that risk of flammability?

Conclusion

Even though the R-32 and the R-452B refrigerants may be the new normal when it comes to home air-conditioning it is important to realize that they will not last. They are good viable alternatives to the R-410A used today but they are not perfect. They still have a somewhat higher Global Warming Potential. R-32 is too flammable for some people’s taste. R-452B will most likely be to expensive for others. Who knows what the next alternative will be?

There’s no telling what the final answer will be at this point in time. The only certainty is that everything is fluid and the refrigerants that we are using today could change this year or next and that I’ll do my best to keep everyone informed! If you see anything that is incorrect or not factual please take the time to e-mail me by clicking here and I will correct as soon as I can.

Thanks for reading and if you enjoyed the article please take the time to subscribe to our mailing list by navigating to the top right of the page and registering your e-mail. Thanks again!

Alec Johnson

Owner.

Top 3 Refrigerant Changes in 2015

Hello ladies and gentlemen! It’s that time of year again. The cold wind is blowing, the snow is falling, and the temperature barely gets over twenty degrees across half of the nation. Instead of thinking about the cold I’m thinking about the summer. What will the heat be like next summer? How bad will it be here in Kansas City and how easily can I escape it with my precious air conditioning? (Last year we had nearly an entire month of hundred degree days.)

The refrigerant market is always changing and developing. It seems like every week there is something new and most of the time there is. As we close out 2016 and begin to look forward to the new year to come I find myself thinking about what upcoming changes we will see next year on refrigerant here in the United States. Here are, in my opinion, the three biggest change factors that we will see next year:

1 – Chinese Tariffs1

By now I’m sure you heard talk of tariffs on the importing of Chinese refrigerant. Over the past decade the Chinese have been importing larger and larger quantities of R-134a cylinders into the United State’s market. Just in 2015 China imported over 14,000 tons of refrigerant into the United States. (Source) Along with the Chinese flooding our marketplace with their product they are also bringing it in at a substantially lower cost than what our local manufacturers can get to.

Last year if you were to import a container of R-134a refrigerant cylinders into the United States you could pay somewhere between $40-$50 for a thirty pound cylinder. This was practically half the cost of what Chemours or Honeywell were selling at. There was plenty of margin to be made and I could see why importers brought it in by the ton. If I had the opportunity and the storage space I probably would have done it as well. The reason why the Chinese can get their price so low is due to the cheaper labor costs over there but also in big part because of their government subsidizing the industry and artificially lowering their manufacturing cost. This allowed them to go to market at that $40-$50 price and still make a hefty profit.

In order to combat the low priced Chinese product American companies began to file law-suits with the United State’s International Trade Commission. The law-suit was against China’s dumping of R-134a into the marketplace at an unfair value. The American companies lobbied for a tariff to be installed on all of Chinese 134a imports. The first suit was filed towards the end of 2013. Since then numerous suits have been filed and all have been denied by the Trade Commission. The latest suit filed by the HFC coalition, a grouping of American companies, was filed in March of 2016. Unlike the others this suit may actually end up going through.

In September 29th, 2016 the Trade Commission announced a preliminary ruling saying that they were in favor of installing tariffs on imported 134a product. The preliminary tariff percentage they announced was 137.23%. (188.94% on smaller Chinese companies.) This will take a $50 cylinder of 134a up to $118.62. Quite the difference. For more details on the rulings and what to expect click here for a previous article that I wrote.

2017

So, the question on everyone’s mind is what is going to happen in 2017. Well, there are two things for certain. In February the trade commission will announce their final tariff percentage on imported 134a product. Then a month later in March they will announce their final ruling. This is the big kahuna. This is the one that matters. While the other rulings are important this one in March is the yes or no on rather the tariffs will be instigated.

One solace to small business owners and technicians is that the expected price increase from the 134a tariffs has already hit. When the announcement came from the Trade Commission in September of the 137 percent increase the price on 134a skyrocketed to over a $100 a cylinder on bulk purchases. My prediction for 2017 is that if they rule in favor of the tariffs that the price on 134a will pretty much stay the same. However, if they rule against the tariffs than I could see the price of 134a plummet to high $50s per cylinder on a forty cylinder pallet.

Other HFCs as Well?

At this point everybody is expecting the tariffs to eventually get approved. After all, companies have been fighting for them for nearly four years now. Eventually, one of these times, they will get what they want. It’s just a matter of time. The thing to mention is that these suits have all been focused on 134a and not on 410A, 404A, or any other refrigerant.

Are there tariffs expected on these common HFC refrigerants as well? From everything that I have read and seen on the anti-dumping lawsuits I have seen no mention on R-410A or R-404A. At this point in time I believe that there haven’t been measures taken to impose the tariffs on these refrigerants. As far as what will happen in the future I can only guess. I believe that R-404A won’t be bothered with. It’s being phased out in just over a year anyways. To me the one to watch is 410A. This refrigerant is the defacto refrigerant now for home and commercial use. It’s a prime market for the Chinese to target and it’s a prime market for the American companies to fight back on.

Conclusion

In 2017 I see the tariffs on 134a being approved and instigated. Everything is pointing in that direction. For once in many years the price of 134a may actually be stable for a long period of time. If it doesn’t get approved get ready for a roller coaster of back and forth prices as the American companies compete with the Chinese imports.

2 – The Beginning of the End of HFCs

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I’m sure most of you guys saw this coming. It was only a matter of time. The beloved HFCs that we have fallen in love with over the past few years are going away. In a meeting in Rwanda in October of this year over one-hundred and seventy countries agreed to and signed an amendment to the Montreal Protocol. This amendment titled The Kigali Agreement is strictly focused on phasing out all HFC refrigerants across the world by the year 2100. Since this was an amendment to an already existing treaty the Obama administration did not need to get approval by congress. Instead, all they had to do was sign. (I’m not too happy about that, but that’s another story and I’ll leave politics out of this.) I wrote a more in-depth article on the Kigali agreement that can be found by clicking here.

Why HFCs?

Some of you may be asking why HFCs? I thought CFCs and HCFCs were the bad ones. I thought Chlorine was the culprit. Well, yes… that’s true. Chlorine being vented into the atmosphere was the culprit in damaging and eventually tearing a hole into the O-Zone layer. It was because of this Chlorine in the atmosphere that the Montreal Protocol was designed and implemented. The Chlorine containing refrigerants had to be phased out. (R-12, R-22, R-502.) The Montreal Protocol was signed in 1987 and only a few years later R-12 was phased out, then in the late 1990’s R-502 said goodbye. Lastly, in the year 2010 we waved farewell to R-22. As we phased out all of these refrigerants we began to replace them all with the newer HFC refrigerants such as R-134a, R-404A, and R-410A.

How quickly we change our minds. Now that HFCs have been around for a while and have been implemented all across the globe scientists are beginning to realize the impact that they are having on the environment. While they do not contain Chlorine they do contain extremely potent greenhouse gases that when released into the atmosphere are sometimes 1,400 times stronger than Carbon Dioxide. Think about that number for a second. 1,400 times stronger. That is nothing to scoff at. Now think about all of the developing countries in the world who now have the money and business to support air conditioning units. The explosion of industry in India and China coupled with the amount of HFC refrigerants used around the globe made for a perfect storm. The rise of HFCs has correlated directly into the rise of Global Warming. Scientists and governments were determined to stop it.

Changes

Something had to be done across the globe and that is just what the Kigali Agreement was designed to do. In only a few years, in 2019, developed countries such as the United States are expected to cut all of their HFC consumption/production of HFC refrigerants by ten percent in comparison to 2011-2013 levels. By the year 2036 we are expected to cut HFC usage by eighty-five percent. These agreements are signed into international law and will have to be followed.

On top of all of those changes the United States’ Environmental Protection Agency has announced that they will be starting earlier on HFC refrigerants. Their first target is R-404A. As of January 1st, 2017 supermarket freezers and cold cases can no longer use R-404A on newly manufactured machines. (Source from Chemours.com.) Retrofitting is not allowed either. As of January 1st, 2019 vending machines can no longer use R-404A or R-134a. That’s not the big dog though. No, not even close. In the year 2020, or 2021 model year, it will no longer be acceptable for light duty vehicles to use R-134a. Instead most vehicle manufacturers will be switching over to the lower GWP HFO refrigerant known as 1234YF.

Conclusion

Like it or not this is the beginning of the end of HFC refrigerants. They had a good run of… fifteen to twenty years. It’s on to bigger and better things. It’s on to hydrocarbons. It’s on to natural refrigerants. It’s on HFOs. At least, it’s on to these refrigerants until we find something wrong with them and then the whole process will start all over again.

EPA Phases out HFC Refrigerants
EPA Phases out HFC Refrigerants

3 – The Testing and Pushing of Alternative Refrigerants

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Obviously, if we phase out HFC refrigerants we need to find a replacement refrigerant that performs well, is cost consciousness, and does not harm the environment. Somehow, this narrows the list down to only a select few refrigerants. Over the past few years there has been a battle brewing between the newly innovated HFO refrigerants such as HoneyWell’s new Solstice brand name or DuPont/Chemours’ new Opteon brand name and natural refrigerants, also known as hydrocarbons.

As of now there is no clear winner in this battle. It really depends on where you look. Hydrocarbons are very popular in some parts of the world like Asia and at other points in the world they are practically unheard of. For example, it is rare to find a hydrocarbon application in the United States. It just never caught on here.

If I was to put money on what the majority of the market will look like in another five to ten years I would put everything on HFOs. My reasoning here is that you have to giant conglomerate corporations known as DuPont/Chemours and HoneyWell developing, innovating, and pushing their new HFO brands. These companies are monsters for a reason. Most of the time they get their way. On top of that there is just nothing sexy about hydrocarbons. HFOs are new. HFOs are exciting. New and exciting are what the people want.

Hydrocarbons/Natural Refrigerants

Hydrocarbon refrigerants have been around for a long time and I’m sure most of you recognize them right away. Some of the most commonly used hydrocarbon refrigerants are as follows:

  • R-290 – Propane
  • R-600a Isobutane
  • R-1270 Propylene
  • R-744 Carbon Dioxide

Hydrocarbons are just as efficient, if not more efficient, than HFC or HCFC refrigerants. They are extremely cheap as well when compared to the newly patented HFO refrigerants such as 1234YF. (1234YF goes for as much as $700 for a ten pound cylinder.) They also have an extremely low global warming potential so there is no risk to the environment when using them.

While all of this sounds good the downside of natural refrigerants are the high risk of flammability. I’m sure that you noticed that one of the refrigerants that I listed above is propane. (R-290) In my opinion it doesn’t get much more flammable than that. Just a few weeks ago there was a story about two men working on a hydrocarbon unit. They were not being careful and ended up causing an explosion that cost both their lives. (You can read the article by clicking here.) This unit contained a mixture of propane and isobutane.

This risk of explosion is what has turned people off from hydrocarbons. Even though they are perfectly safe if handled correctly and maintained correctly there is still that level of fear. People just aren’t comfortable using propane for their primary refrigerant. Think about it. Go up and ask someone on the street if they want to use propane for their air conditioning refrigerant. They’d look at you like you grew a second head.

HydroFluroOlefins (HFOs)

HFOs are still new. In fact they have only been around for about a decade. The most commonly used HFO today and the one that you most likely heard of is 1234YF. Both HoneyWell and Chemours have their own version of it. See below picture of HoneyWell’s Solstice cylinder:

1234YF Refrigerant & Refrigerant
HoneyWell’s Solstice 1234YF Private Brand

1234YF is the now the default refrigerant across the European Union and is used by all of the major European car manufacturers such as Volkswagen, BMW, Mercedes, and many others. It has also caught on with the Korean and Japanese car market showing up in Toyota and Honda models. Each year that passes we see more and more 1234YF usage across the world and in the United States’ market.

The 1234YF is accepted widely now. The question is what is next. What will replace R-404A? What will replace R-410A? These questions are still up for debate. There are many alternatives out there today and there are many more being developed. So far there is no perfect cross. There is no telling when that perfect solution arrives but I wouldn’t be surprised if it shows up next year.

Conclusion

As I said above I believe in this battle between the HFOs and the Hydrocarbons that the HFOs will come up on top. They have the bank roll of the mega corporations and they have the appeal of something new. Hydrocarbons will always be here and be with us but at least in the United States I see them taking a back seat to the upcoming dominance of HFOs. All of us will be very familiar with the new Solstice and Opteon brands in the near future.

Conclusion

2017 is going to be an interesting year to say the least. There are all the things I mentioned above to consider and there is also a wildcard that I didn’t mention. That wildcard is Donald Trump. What affect will he have on the United State’s refrigerant industry? He has said again and again that he despises China for their trade war against us. Would that mean that he would put on additional tariffs on Chinese imported refrigerant? Could he raise the cost of R-134a even more?

On the other side of the coin he has said that he wants to get rid of as much regulation as he can and that he doesn’t believe in Climate Change. Could this mean that he will back out of the Kigali agreement? (If that’s even possible.) Could he delay some of the EPA’s actions on HFCs? As I said above, it’s a true wildcard. Time will only tell what will happen.

I hope you enjoyed the article and I hope that you are just as excited for the 2017 year that I am. I feel that this is going to be a big year for me and I hope it is for you too!

Thanks for reading and have a happy new year!

Alec Johnson

Owner.