Planning for R22 Refrigerant Phase Out

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What is it R22?

R22 is a commonly used, manufactured fluorocarbon compound designed for use as the working fluid in refrigeration systems.

What’s happening with R22?

In accordance with Australia’s obligation to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer HCFCs, including the commonly used HCFC 22 better known as R22 are being phased out. R22 can be found operating across a range of HVAC equipment manufactured before 2005.

Why is it happening?

The main purpose of the Montreal Protocol is to further sharply restrict the use of substances that harm the earth’s protective ozone layer and contribute to climate change. Unfortunately, most gases historically used in HVAC and refrigeration have an extremely high Global Warming Potential (GWP). By cutting the production and import of these chemicals and limiting how they can be used, the ozone layer will heal faster.

They also provide significant climate benefits. Over the period from 2010 to 2014, the protocol will provide about the same climate benefit as eliminating the annual CO2 emissions from the electricity use of more than 102 million homes.

How does this effect me?

In 2016, imports of R22 are set to just 4% of pre-phase out levels and will remain so until 2030, when NO imports of R22 will be allowed. From 2013 to 2016 alone, the commercial price of R22 went from approximately $150 to $250 per kilo. The price of R22 will continue to rise as the market forces of supply and demand act on a commodity that is becoming more and more scarce.

What’s to be done?

The phase out is in full swing and those affected must start planning now, if not already done. Experience in Europe has shown that when organisations address R22 phase-out early and proactively, they benefit in the long term. A plan should be developed to look at alternatives to R22 and assess the priorities in terms of costs, benefits and service continuity.

For existing air conditioning and refrigeration systems using refrigerant R22 there are four main options that can be considered:

  • Retain and maintain your ageing R22 system and hope that you won’t have a major breakdown or leakage;
  • Retrofit your system to use an alternative refrigerant
  • Replace your system with an exact match of new equipment; or
  • Review, redesign and upgrade your system for superior high energy efficiency, and low-cost, low-emissions outcomes.

When assessing refrigerant alternatives and replacement systems the focus should be on low-GWP and system life-cycle costing. High-GWP refrigerants are likely to be the subject ofincreasing future controls. Switching to low-GWP refrigerants where possible may avoid the double-step of moving to a high-GWP HFC refrigerant and then having to switch again at a later date. Replacing old R22-based systems has the added benefit of the improved reliability and energy efficiency of next generation refrigerant systems.

As a leader in Industrial Refrigeration solutions, Heuch can work with your business to develop an R22 management strategy that considers not only the technical solutions, but also the business priorities and needs, such as the intended future usage, age of equipment, criticality of the site and other factors, in order to reduce risk and proactively future-proof critical equipment to keep you in business.

Contact Heuch here to discuss a R22 phase out strategy for your business.

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Tags : R22, refrigerant,
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