R22 Phase Out Update News from Chillaire

New legislation is enforcing the removal and replacement of the low temperature refrigerant- R22 refrigeration system. R22 refrigerants are widely used throughout process chillers and industrial refrigerant plants, although these changes in legislation will affect any company that sustains the need for or has a high requirement for R22 refrigeration.

Why are the R22 legislation changes being made?

The reasoning behind the changes in the R22 refrigeration legislation is simple- studies have shown they have a detrimental effect on the ozone layer resulting in excessive UV levels. Due to this, the R22 refrigerants may contribute to further environmental damage. The extent to which R22 refrigerants contribute to global warming is still the subject of intensive debate, although many affected companies have taken the opportunity to comply with the new regulations earlier than planned. This is being demonstrated at two levels:

Firstly, the majority of R22 refrigeration units are at least one third of their way through their foreseeable life. As existing R22 refrigeration systems begin to require modernisation, the majority of companies are choosing to phase these out rather than go to expense of needlessly repairing or maintaining them.

Secondly, unlike the R22 refrigerants, each new factory build/extension will now use refrigerants such as ammonia and R404A which have zero ozone depleting potential. These refrigerants are also proven to be more energy efficient than the R22 refrigerant and are therefore a wiser and more popular choice for the companies in question. What are my company’s alternatives to R22?

Most companies that are affected by the R22 legislation will have a policy to specify only the following environmentally friendly refrigerants are incorporated in new equipment: ammonia, R404A and R407c. The chosen alternative is decided at business unit level and is usually dependent upon the business’ requirements towards energy efficiency.

When do the changes have to be completed by?

Although many companies have undergone or are in the process of exchanging their R22 refrigerants, huge conversions still need to be undertaken to ensure that the 2015 deadline for complete R22 replacement is accomplished.

Additional complications come about when considering the pressure of changing a R22 refrigeration system has upon a company that relies upon the refrigerator for is daily running. Key to a smooth transition lies with ensuring the successful project management of the removal of the R22 refrigerant and professional installation of a replacement system.

Central project issues include effective and efficient utilisation of existing equipment wherever possible, construction of new building, minimising disruption to ongoing operations and the smooth integration of new plant during a suitable period. Most importantly, the careful and safe removal of the R22 and its integral chemicals is foremost to an effective exchange. The replacement of R22 also carries substantial risk as the new refrigerants contain Hydrocarbons. Consisting mostly of Iso-butane, Propane and Ammonia, these refrigerants have additional hazards associated with them which will require specialist engineering skills to deal with.

R22 Refrigerant Phase out

From 1 January 2010 Virgin R22 Refrigerants will be banned.

Fluorinated refrigerants used in air conditioning and refrigeration plant contribute to ozone depletion and the greenhouse effect. European and UK legislation has been created to control and, in some cases, completely ban their use.

R22 is the most common refrigerant gas and is currently used in over 60% of air conditioning units in the UK.

From December 2009 the use of virgin R22 refrigerant will be banned and all stocks destroyed.

Virgin HCFCs will no longer be available, or ‘new’ mineral refrigerant such as the commonly used R22 will no longer be on the market for sale, leaving only ‘reclaimed’ refrigerant available for re-sale from registered dealers.

Concerns regarding Reclaimed R22 Refrigerant
Reclaimed R22 refrigerant also carries the risk of contamination from wherever it has been reclaimed from. Oil or moisture contamination could have a detrimental effect on any plant or equipment it is introduced to. Whilst ‘reclaimed’ gas is ‘cleaned’, prior to resale, its quality cannot be guarantee, nor can the removal of all contaminant.

In essence, from 2010 we will quickly see the demise in availability of refrigerant such as R22, inevitably causing prices to accelerate. This will have the knock-on effect of increasing the cost of maintaining existing equipment using HCFCs, up until 2015, when they will be banned entirely and any equipment using them rendered redundant.

1 January 2015 – all R22 Refrigerants will be banned

Come 2015, once the ban on R22s is in place, it is important to be aware that the end user will be the liable party in terms of its responsibility for its plant and equipment. The end user has a legal duty to ensure the safe removal and disposal of HCFCs such as R22, from any of its plant or equipment.

What are the risks of non-compliance regarding R22 Refrigerant?

  • Loss of insurance cover
  • Health and safety litigation
  • Environmental litigation
  • Business interruption
  • Loss of operationally critical units

How Chillaire Can Help With R22 Phase Out

At Chillaire, we specialise in helping our clients to become compliant with the new legislation. Many companies are actually unaware of the new laws regarding R22 Refrigerant, including many within the air conditioning and refrigeration industry.

We can provide free advice & if required an assessment can be carried out of your equipment by attending site to find out whether or not the law is applicable to you. We will then give you advice on any actions that you may need to take with reference to the F Gas laws and a any R22 related issues.

How can Chillaire save You money?

In many business applications much of the electrical equipment such as lighting, computing and display use small amounts of power. In these situations air conditioning may account for 50% or more of the power usage.

Poorly maintained air conditioning units can often work at 30-40% efficiency and can be costing hundreds of pounds more than they should to run each year.

R22 – Government Tax Allowances to upgrade your equipment

As part of an R22 phase out solution where new equipment may play a part, the government is offering tax incentives to promote the use of new energy saving capital purchases.

Enhanced Capital allowance (ECA) enables a business to claim 100% capital allowance on their spending on new equipment.

Installation of modern, efficient air conditioning units along with the ECA can give dramatic cost reductions and short payback times. In many cases it can be shown that new air conditioning equipment will cover its cost in as little as 3 years.

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