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  • IRI Update on the Revised F-Gas Regulations 2024


The Revised F-Gas Regulations were agreed by the EU Council on 29 January 2024 and were signed and published in the Official EU Journal on 7 February.   The regulations, officially named as EC2024/573, become law in Ireland and in all EU member states from 11 March 2024.  The previous F-Gas Regulations of 2019 will on that same date be repealed.

A brief summary of some of the main features of the regulations is as follows:

Use of F-Gases in new equipment:

The new Regulations aim to phase-out entirely the use of HFC products in new equipment by 2050, with several very significant milestones over the next ten years.

Two key phase-out dates are;

    • 2032 for small monoblock heat pumps and air conditioning (<12kW)

    • 2035 for split air conditioning and heat pumps

Use of alternatives to F-Gases in new equipment:

The new revision is intended to ensure the use of alternatives to fluorinated gases in new systems and equipment where alternatives are available.  All HFCs including R-32 (GWP 675) come under the scope of the Regulations and are subject to an immediate phase-down and an eventual phase-out.

Future availability of F-Gases: the F-Gas Quota:

The amount of new F-Gas refrigerant which can be sold in the EU is already on a phase-down.  This phase-down is now being accelerated, and one very significant date is 2050 when a complete ban on F-Gas sales in the EU comes into effect. 

The F-Gas EU market quota of the old 2014 Regulations and the new 2024 Regulations.

Use of F-Gas refrigerants for service and maintenance:

The Regulations do not propose that existing systems containing F-Gases cannot continue to be operated.  The availability of F-Gas refrigerant for service and maintenance will however become severely restricted.  From 2032, which is less than eight years away, any F-Gas refrigerant with a GWP above 750 used for service and maintenance must be reclaimed or recycled F-Gases and cannot be new refrigerant.  Exceptions include military and nuclear facilities, and refrigeration systems with product below -50°C.

Separate timelines for Chillers

Chillers get special treatment in the new Regulations.  From 2027 chillers smaller than 12 kW must only use refrigerant with GWP less than 150, and all larger chillers must have a GWP below 750.  From 2032 chillers below 12 kW may not use any F-gases.

Exemptions for Safety Requirements:

Many of the bans have an exemption for F-Gas refrigerants required to meet ensure safety.

The Regulations in full:

The Regulations (67 pages in the official pdf document) can be viewed and downloaded from the EU Website 

Further information:

The ESO – European Sources Online – is a useful website with plenty of background information on the new regulations and related links.

The response from the industry:

The real impact of the Regulations has yet to fully sink in, with manufacturers, installers, trade associations and industry bodies all working to assess the implications.  With the regulations coming into law now being inevitable, headlines in the EU media are now acknowledging the significance.  One example is the following from the Euractive media network for EU affairs:

The news article also points out that the refrigerants sector is responsible for just 2.5% of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions.

In relation to the industry’s response to the new Regulations, it is expected that hydrocarbons, especially R290 propane, are likely to be a prime alternative candidate for smaller packaged equipment including heat pumps and chillers.  CO2 will undoubtedly feature strongly in mid-size commercial equipment and in industrial systems.  Smaller low-charge ammonia systems are starting to become more common and these may also feature in mid-size systems, with several air-cooled packaged ammonia chillers now on the market. 

At this point, the future of many synthetic or ‘chemical’ refrigerants including HFOs is uncertain, as the separate proposed EU ban on PFASs (so-called ‘forever chemicals’) adds a further complication to the situation.  That regulation, currently being hotly debated, would ban most of the common HFO refrigerants including R1234yf and R1234ze as well as many other synthetic refrigerants developed as ultra-low GWP alternatives to HFC refrigerants.

What will the UK do?

The UK, no longer being in the EU, are not bound by the Regulations and will be developing their own regulations, with an initial draft expected later in 2024.  Current discussions are leaning towards a pragmatic rather than ideological approach, so their timelines may well be different to those of the EU.

What will industry in Ireland do?

The IRI encourages all companies working with F-Gas refrigerants – installers, service companies, designers, manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, operators and end-users – to become very familiar with the new Regulations as soon as possible in order to be able to face the very significant changes we are facing in the coming years.