As we ring in the new year, the phase down and production of high Global Warming Potential (GWP) HFC refrigerants continues to accelerate for 2023. By the end of September 2023, the consumption of HFCs will decrease by 10% of the baseline 303.9 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent to 273.5 MMTCO2e. This means less R-134a, R-410A, R-404A, R-407C, and many other common gases used today. This phase down will bring along a transition to new solutions but will ultimately drive-up price in the short term as the supply of HFCs decrease and demand continues.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), directed by the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act (AIM Act), is addressing HFCs by facilitating the transition to next generation technologies through industry sector GWP restrictions and focused efforts on maximizing reclamation and minimizing releases of HFCs. This refrigerant transition will move HVACR away from HFCs and shift us to new A2L refrigerants. A2L refrigerants operate with substantially lower GWPs but do come with an increased risk of flammability. It is more important than ever that technicians become familiar with these industry changes, identify appropriate trainings around A2L refrigerants, and equip themselves with appropriate tools to support an evolving market.
MSA will continue to monitor the AIM Act to provide updates as the transition progresses. We can provide solutions that help facilitate the transition including refrigerant identifiers and leak detection systems. Refrigerant Identifiers allow technicians to confirm refrigerant prior to recovery which helps reduce recovery contamination. This allows our industry to continue to reclaim and reuse refrigerants keeping a manageable level of HFC’s for older equipment. Just as important is the installation of fixed gas detection systems to proactively identify refrigerant leaks, minimizing system loss, and reducing costs associated to refilling systems. Refrigerant monitoring can also help facilities reduce carbon emissions and energy consumption as corporations look to meet Net Zero carbon emissions.