The regulations will directly affect anyone involved in refrigeration and cooling businesses. In the short term, it will play a big role in determining what types of refrigerants manufacturers of new equipment are using. It will also play a role in repairing existing refrigeration equipment requiring replacement refrigerant. This includes everything from fixed refrigeration units to portable refrigeration.
Some of the more significant changes include the following:
- the gradual phase out of refrigeration units containing HFCs with global warming potential
- a gradually declining cap on the volume of bulk HFCs allowed in the marketplace
- a freeze on bulk HFCs beginning in 2015
- an incremental banning of several types of technical aerosols.
The rules will eventually accomplish the task of replacing all existing refrigeration equipment with new equipment that is consistent with EU greenhouse gas reduction goals. Moreover, while the financial impact on the industry will be real, the gradual phase-in of the new rules will make it more bearable over the long term. The eventual result will be a noticeable reduction in greenhouse gases.
The one potentially difficult part of the regulations is deciding what refrigerants will be allowed in member countries. Regulations only stipulate that certain F-gas refrigerants not be used where other alternatives are available. It then leaves individual member states to implement the requirements on their own. Perhaps when the regulations are finalised the language will be more specific.
The Effect on the Portable Refrigeration Industry
The fact that the portable refrigeration industry depends on equipment and refrigerants covered under the new regulations means we will be directly impacted. Companies like ours will eventually have to replace older equipment, requiring the new refrigeration and cold room equipment we buy to be in compliance. We expect that to drive up our costs somewhat, but probably not enough to make a noticeable difference at the retail level. Equipment replacement is part of our industry anyway, and all our rented fridge trailers, freezer trailers and mobile cold rooms are regularly serviced and maintained by Scubair.
On a positive note, our adaptation to the new regulations means that we will be contributing to reducing greenhouse gases in the European Union. That is a small price to pay for the dividend it will yield.
In the meantime, the portable refrigeration industry will continue with business as usual. We will continue providing cold rooms, refrigerator and freezer trailers for emergency needs, weddings, corporate gatherings, festivals, etc. By the time the new rules are fully implemented in the next decade, the entire industry will be better off for it.
Institute of Refrigeration – http://www.ior.org.uk/ior_news.php