This week Polarbase’s Regional Sales Manager, Martin Bowman, spoke to Marketing Assistant, Lauren Henderson, about F-Gas, its effect on the cold room industry and how Polarbase are adapting to new legislations in place.
So Martin, what is F-Gas? I see people talking about it on LinkedIn but don’t really understand what it is.
Simply speaking, F-Gas is an abbreviation for ‘Fluorinated Gases’. These are man-made gases used for a multitude of applications but primarily within the refrigeration industry, and are used globally in all refrigeration equipment. When released into the atmosphere, they are low in toxicity and flammability but are high in global warming potential. Due to this, the UK refrigeration industry is heavily regulated by DEFRA.
Sorry, what is global warming potential and how are DEFRA involved?
Whilst these gases are safe to be released into the atmosphere, they are ‘greenhouse gases’ with varying levels of GWP (Global Warming Potenial). The GWP is a calculated factor based on a comparison between the amount of heat trapped in the atmosphere by a gas and the amount of heat trapped by carbon dioxide. Essentially, the higher the expressed number, the more global warming potential the gas has.
Each gas is also measured using its Ozone Depletion Potential (ODP), although this was more prevalent in older Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) and Hydrochlorofluorocarbons(HCFC) gases. Currently used Hydrofluorocarbons (HFC gases) do not contain chlorine and essentially have an ODP of 0.
Through regulation of the type of gases being used in the refrigeration industry, the world’s leaders plan to reduce global warming and eventually return the ozone layer to its original levels.
In the UK, DEFRA are responsible for ensuring anyone working with the gases are certified to do so and appoint companies such as REFCOM to provide training and certification to any individual or company that install, maintains or services refrigeration equipment containing F-Gases.
I have seen something online about phasing out these gases, what does this mean?
Since 2015, the EU have gradually been cutting the availability of HFC gases. Over a 15 year period, the EU will control the levels of HFC gases available to the refrigeration industry and therefore, the prices of currently common gases, will increase drastically.
Gases such as R404A and R507 have been found to have high GWP. These will be banned from 2020 for stationary refrigeration systems with a charge greater than 10kg.
The EU have sent a very clear message – HFC refrigerants are not a viable long-term solution and action needs to be taken now.
How does this affect our business? Are we being pro-active in combatting the changes in legislation?
Yes, we have historically purchased R404A refrigeration equipment for our fleet. Since 2015, we have gradually been phasing out this equipment and have ceased in purchasing any further products affected by the phasing out.
Our clients rely on us to ensure we supply them with the most up-to-date, energy efficient, future-proofed equipment.
As you can imagine, the drastic increase of gas prices can have a huge impact on the service and maintenance costs we absorb within our packages. Therefore, it only makes good commercial sense for us to ensure the equipment we supply is cost-effective for us to maintain. This in turn allows our clients to use the most technically advanced equipment at competitively priced rates.