Since 2015 the EU F-gas regulation have aimed to protect the environment and prevent unwanted effects on climate changes by containing the global average temperature increase.
The European Commission has agreed to pursue this intent by following a precise roadmap: the next goal is to reduce fluorinated greenhouse gases (F-gases) emissions by 79% by 2030, arriving at an 80 -95% reduction by 2050.
These EU F-Gas regulations are still relevant for the UK today, despite the UK leaving the EU regulatory framework, and are likely to remain so for some time to come.
Fluorinated gases or F-gases (HFCs, PFCs and SF6s) are artificial chemicals used in various sectors: as refrigerant gases for industrial refrigeration, air conditioning and in heat pumps; as blowing agents for foams; as extinguishing agents in fire-fighting systems or also propellants for aerosols and solvents.
F-gases do not contribute to the depletion of the ozone layer, then why limit or ban them? The answer lies in the GWP, the value that indicates the planet Global Warming Potential of these gases.
GWP is the acronym for Global Warming Potential and expresses the effect of a gas compared to CO2.
The GWP is therefore the measure that determines the climate-changing power of greenhouse gases, relating the heating potential of one kilogram of gas to one kilogram of carbon dioxide CO2, whose reference potential has the value of 1. The GWP value of these gases is usually very high, even up to 23,000 times higher than that of CO2.
The reduction in the use of F-gases, required by the 2015 European regulation, is accomplished by regulating the quantities of gas in the market through a CO2 emission quota system. Producers and importers consume a quantity of shares proportional to the product between gas quantity and GWP. In this way, the use of gases with a high GWP value is discouraged.
What does the European regulation entail for the simulated environmental testing sector?
Most of the simulated environmental test chambers that need to reach temperatures below -50°C use a type of F-gas that falls within those called HFCs. These refrigerant gases usually have a GWP value much higher than the imposed limit. In derogation from the regulation, their use is allowed according to quotas, only because there is -or rather, there was - no climate-friendly alternative that meets the thermodynamic and safety requirements needed to replace traditional HFCs.
The use of these gases too, however, will be drastically reduced starting in 2030, making the use of an alternative capable of meeting the stringent objectives imposed by the new F-gas regulation necessary also at legislative level.
The only alternative known to date in the ULT (Ultra Low Temperature) refrigeration sector is based on the use of hydrocarbons as refrigerants. Hydrocarbons are extremely flammable, and although their performance is satisfactory from a thermodynamic perspective, there are significant safety limits connected with their use.
A safe solution is therefore required, capable of both preserving the environment by minimizing GWP and maintaining the performance of the HFCs that will soon be banned.
Today, thanks to the assiduous research of our technicians and engineers and the collaboration with Universities, Research Centres and Accreditation Centres, Angelantoni Test Technologies is proud to present the new ACS R472A refrigerant gas, a blend of HFCs with the lowest GWP value ever.
R472A has already obtained ASHRAE certification.