Under the Kyoto Protocol, the European Union has committed itself to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 8% compared to the base year 1990 in the period 2008-2012. To reduce emissions of these F-Gases, the Regulation (EC) No 842/2006 on certain fluorinated greenhouse gases (F-Gas Regulation) was adopted on 17 May 2006.
The aim of the F-Gas Regulation, regulation (EC) No 842/2006, is to reduce emissions of fluorinated greenhouse gases through:
- Better containment of F-Gases in their applications;
- Recovery of F-Gases from products and equipment reaching their end of life;
- Training and certification of technical personnel and companies working with F-Gases;
- Reporting of production, import and export data within the EU;
- Labelling of certain products and equipment containing those gases;
- Prohibition of placing on the market some products containing F-Gases and the control of use in some specific applications.
This Article covers refrigeration, air-conditioning (including heat pumps, etc.) and fire protection units.
All persons responsible for emissions are required to take all measures that are technically and economically feasible to prevent and minimize leakages;
A periodical check by certified personnel (Art. 5) is required, with the following frequency, depending on the quantity used:
- (a) 3 kg or more : at least once every 12 months – except for hermetically sealed systems containing less than 6 kg;
- (b) 30 kg or more : at least once every 6 months (12 months with an appropriate leakage detection system);
- (c) 300 kg or more: at least once every 3 months (6 months with an appropriate leakage detection system – which is anyway mandatory).
For 300 kg or more units, leakage detection systems must be checked at least once every 12 months. In the case of fire protection systems installed before 4 July 2007, leakage detection systems must be installed by 4 July 2010.
For all units containing more than 3 kg F-gases a log book must be kept, indicating the quantity and type of product, quantities added when necessary, and the quantity recovered during servicing, maintenance and final disposal.
Other relevant information is also requested, like the identification of the servicing company or technician, dates and results of the checks.
Standard leakage checking requirements for stationary refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump equipment containing certain fluorinated greenhouse gases can be found in commission Regulation (EC) No 1516/2007.
Since 1 April 2008, a manufacturer or importer who places F-Gas-based solvent containers on the EU market is obliged to label them. The label is an important source of information to find out if the equipment is covered by the F-Gas Regulation and which requirements apply. Specific requirements for Member States may entail labelling in a Member State’s language.
The label must contain at least the type and quantity of the F-Gas in the container and the sentence: “Contains fluorinated greenhouse gases covered by the Kyoto Protocol”.
This include refrigeration and air-conditioning products and equipment (other than those fitted to vehicles), heat pumps, fire protection systems and containers. The form of labels and additional labelling requirements as regards products and equipment are established in commission Regulation (EC) No 1494/2007.
Staff training and certification
Member States has established certification and training programmes for personnel involved in leakage inspections and the recovery, recycling, reclamation and destruction of fluorinated gases. These programmes must comply with the minimum requirements and conditions laid down by the Commission.
Progress report on EU emissions
All EU Member States, except Cyprus, Portugal and Spain have significantly reduced their emissions while their economy grew strongly between 1990 and 2008. Strong economic growth but decreasing emissions were in particular observed in the Member States in Central and Eastern Europe, due to the transformations of the inefficient heavy industry based manufacturing sector.