AHRI Asks CARB To Delay GWP Limits On Proposed Refrigerant Regulations

In hopes of reaching their goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030, and to reduce HFC emissions to 40% below 2013 levels by 2030, California’s Air and Resources Board (CARB) has proposed regulations that would cap GWP limits on refrigerants and equipment. Throughout their regulatory process, CARB has requested industry and stakeholder comments regarding different aspects of their plans. Recently, the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) submitted an alternative regulatory proposal requesting a longer phase-down on GWP limits and changes to what classifies as “new equipment”.

CARB’s Proposal:

  • 150 GWP cap on refrigerant used in new systems with more than 50 lbs of refrigerant by 1/1/2022
  • A ban on the sale of virgin refrigerants with a GWP above 1500 by 1/1/2022
  • 750 GWP cap for new stationary air-conditioning systems by 1/1/2023

AHRI’s Suggested Changes:

  • 1500 GWP cap on medium-sized commercial refrigeration units with between 50 and 300 lbs of refrigerant in 2021 but delaying the 150 GWP cap until 2024, contingent on the adoption of safety standards in the California State Code
  • AHRI is also recommending that new remote condensing units and those used in new construction, with 50-300 lbs of refrigerant, have a 1500 GWP cap in 2021, and a 300 (as opposed to 150) GWP cap in 2024

AHRI also hoped to clarify the definition of “new equipment” to which these GWP limits apply. Currently, CARB’s definition encompasses new stores and existing stores with equipment modified to handle an expanded cooling load or where equipment is replaced in whole or part so that the cost of the components exceeds 50% of the cost of replacing the entire system. AHRI’s concern is that under this definition a store’s entire system may need to be replaced long before it is due to be retrofitted. In AHRI’s new proposal they suggested that retrofit, maintenance, and replacement of equipment components “cannot be done for all applications given the current equipment limitations and restrictions of safety codes and standards.”

CARB is expected to approve final regulations in May 2020.

 

Source:

http://hydrocarbons21.com/articles/9166/ahri_asks_california_for_more_time_on_gwp_changes

Happy World Refrigeration Day

Dynatemp Refrigerants Company is happy to celebrate the first annual World Refrigeration Day. We’ve been in the refrigerant industry for over 36 years and we understand the value and importance that refrigeration plays in our everyday lives. Refrigeration keeps our food from rotting as it is shipped across the country. Refrigeration makes it possible to keep vaccines chilled as they are administered across the world, saving innumerable lives. As the founder of World Refrigeration Day, Stephen Gill pointed out, even the rockets that landed on the moon needed to be temperature controlled in order to be successful. Our industry has saved countless lives, provides comfort, and even keeps the taste of beer consistent and delicious through a refrigerated brewing process. Who doesn’t love that?

Here at Dynatemp we plan to celebrate World Refrigeration Day by listening in on many of the discussions the IOR (Institute of Refrigeration) has planned. For more information discussions and events click here.

We are very proud to be a part of the refrigerant industry, but there is still work to do to ensure the U.S. continues to be seen as a leader in the industry worldwide. Over the past couple of years, the U.S. refrigerant industry has been stuck in a regulation stalemate. Starting with SNAP rules 20 and 21 being vacated, followed by very little progress on any federally mandated HFC phase-downs, and coupled with one-off state by state phase-down regulations, many of us are looking for clarity from the current administration on where refrigerant regulations are going. However, one thing remains clear, we must find and adopt technologies that have a lower global warming potential than the refrigerants and technologies that are widely used today. In the near future, we see HFOs and natural refrigerants as the most likely option for the next phase of refrigerants. Both have lower GWP than HFC’s which are the most widely used today. In addition to those options, there are exciting reports of technologies that could lead us in new directions.

One report came from the NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) who worked with the U.S. military to identify 12 NEW non/low-flammable refrigerant blends with a low global warming potential. While there is still more research required to find equally efficient non-flammable, low GWP refrigerants this is a step in the right direction.

There was also a report in Science Daily of Japanese researchers creating a new liquid-to-gas phase transition using a graphene. This technology could make the use of natural refrigerants more widely adopted in the future.

Today is a day to celebrate and spread awareness about the incredible accomplishments of the refrigeration industry around the world. And, there are many. But, let’s continue to request a federally mandated HFC phase-down from this administration. Let’s continue to research lower GWP technologies for the future. The refrigeration industry has always advanced the world for the better. Let’s not stop now.

More States Advocate for HFC Reductions

On the one-year anniversary of the Trump Administration withdrawing from the global Paris Agreement, seventeen U.S. Governors, representing over 40% of the nation’s population, announced a new wave of climate actions on June 1 as part of their efforts with the United States Climate Alliance (USCA).  States that are part of this initiative are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont,Virginia, Washington and the territory of Puerto Rico.

Developing a short-lived climate pollutant (SLCP) plan is part of a new wave of climate action initiatives.  Those initiatives include:

  • Reducing Super Pollutants (HFC’s)
  • Mobilizing Financing for Climate Projects
  • Grid Modernization
  • Renewable Energy
  • Appliance Energy Efficiency Standards
  • Building Resilient Communities and Infrastructure
  • Increasing Carbon Storage in our Landscapes
  • Deploying Clean Transportation

The USCA pointed out to strategies which reduce HFC emissions as “those technologies that promote more energy efficient systems that lower costs for businesses and households, support the leadership of U.S. businesses developing alternatives to HFCs, and increase the need for skilled technicians and system designers.”

As an example, the state of New York has directed state departments to reduce HFC emissions through regulatory, incentive, and capacity building.  The NY Department of Environmental Conservation is monitoring the initiative and other agencies have been directed to work on this item.  In his 2018 State of the State, New York Governor Cuomo directed state agencies to develop a comprehensive plan to reduce HFC emissions through a suite of regulatory, incentive, and capacity-building programs.

The Alliance said it “invites all national and subnational jurisdictions, businesses and other actors to bring commitments to reduce short-lived climate pollutants to the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, California this September.”  More information can be found here.  http://globalclimateactionsummit.org/.

The EPA Postpones SNAP Rule 20

Ozone Depletion

In 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency announced that they were going to phase-out HFC refrigerants through a new rule under Section 612 of the Clean Air Act. The new rule, SNAP Rule 20, set a schedule to phase-out HFC refrigerants like R-134a, R-404a, and R-410a. For more details on this rule click here. Although many in the refrigerant industry began to prepare for the next phase of refrigerants, a lawsuit, brought by Mexichem and Arkema, overturned SNAP Rule 20 due to the fact that EPA did not have authority under the Clean Air Act to target HFC’s. The Clean Air Act’s original intention was to phase-out ozone depleting refrigerants, and while HFC’s have high global warming potential, they are not ozone depleting.

While Honeywell and Chemour’s appealed the courts decision, they were ultimately ruled against marking the end of SNAP Rule 20.  Although the EPA has acknowledged that they will no longer enforce the rule, we know eventually HFC’s will be phased-out for lower global warming potential refrigerants like HFO’s.

We would prefer that the state department adopt the Kigali Amendment, which sets the framework for a global phase-down of HFC refrigerants. Read our opinion on the benefits to the Kigali Amendment here.

Without the Kigali Amendment, states will create their own phase-down laws, similar to what California’s CARB is doing. A worldwide phase-down would be much cleaner and easier for the industry as a whole. For now, we wait until the Trump Administration decides their course of action for HFC phase-downs.