Why are the cost of refrigerants increasing?
In 2015 the EU issued new F-Gas regulations surrounding the use of and types of refrigerants. The purpose of the regulation was to cut the availability of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) by 79% between 2015 and 2030.
What are HFCs?, They are the refrigerant such as R404a; R407c; R410a; and R134a that we use in commercial refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heat Pumps systems.
It’s not all about legislation; An Anhydrous Hydrogen Fluoride (AHF) plant in Jiangxi province exploded. AHF is a key raw material in the production of all F-Gas refrigerants. The plant accounted for 30% of Chinese production. Increased environmental legislation, health and safety restrictions and pollution controls in china has further affected output.
Because of the new regulations and the effect of the Chinese market and production, HFCs, particularly those with high global warming potentials (GWP), are becoming more expensive. R404a, used in large commercial refrigeration systems has risen by cost by 739% in the last 12 months, R410a used in air conditioning systems has risen in cost by 283%. In addition to the large price rises the availability of refrigerant has also been called in to question.
What are Adcock doing about it?
Our large buying power and the partnerships that we have with our supply chain, established over decades, mean that we have not experienced the supply limitations that some of our competitors have and we have managed to limit the price rises to our clients by about half the wholesale market has: 404% for R404a and 46% for R410a.
We are actively involved in replacing the outdated refrigerant with new drop in replacements and training all our engineers with the new generation of refrigerant such as R32.
What are Manufacturers doing about it?
Manufacturers are already adapting. Most of the world leading manufacturers have already responded by introducing new energy efficient, low carbon solutions that use R32, a low carbon refrigerant. However, this is still not available for all equipment or projects, VRF is still only available using R410a for example.
What can you do now?
For many of our clients the answer is do nothing at the moment, if you are under contract with us we are already looking after your interests. If your air conditioning system is over 15 years old then it almost certainly contains R22 which was withdrawn from the market in 2004 and was outlawed to use on servicing and maintaining equipment form 1st January 2015. If air conditioning uses R22 you can continue to use it but we won’t be able repair it using R22, we will have to replace the refrigerant with a drop in or replace the whole system. A planned replacement f the system is the best option, the new systems are way more efficient and will save you on running costs which over a few years will pay for itself.
For large commercial refrigeration or chilled water systems we would need to carry out a full assessment for you and advise accordingly.
For further information or to arrange an onsite assessment please call your local Adcock office or email firstname.lastname@example.org.