Phasing out refrigerant R22

Phasing out refrigerant R22

What are the rules for phasing out refrigerant R22 and what are the implications for you?

What has been decided?

According to European legislation (regulation on Ozone Depleting Substances – EC 1005/2009), the R22 refrigerant is not prohibited in your cooling installation. According to the regulation, 'use' for new construction and service purposes is prohibited (Article 3). Refilling and replenishing installations with the R22 refrigerant falls under 'use' and therefore is prohibited.

This means that existing R22 installations may continue to run, but no operations with the refrigerant may take place outside the installation.

In the event of a leak, your installation is likely to fail for an extended period of time and can jeopardize the continuity of your business process. The refrigerants R401A, R402A, R408, and R409A are mixtures and contain R22 in addition to HFCs. These mixtures, therefore, fall under the same rules as for R22.

What can I do?

If you have a cooling installation that is refrigerated with R22 or R12, you have four choices:

  1. Continue using it
  2. Drop-in
  3. Conversion
  4. New construction

To make the right choice, it is important to include several factors in your consideration. Such as the age, the number, the state of maintenance and the cooling capacity of your installations.

  1. You continue to use your existing installation
    Reliable and well-maintained installations without leaks can continue to run. It is still permitted to repair your R22 installation and to replace components, with the condition that the R22 refrigerant remains in the installation. The statutory inspections also remain mandatory for R22 installations.

    What is not permitted is the temporary draining of the refrigerant. Repairs requiring drainage of R22 may no longer be carried out. Refilling R22 is also prohibited.

    Continuing with your existing installation is less suitable if refrigeration is crucial for your business processes. In the event of a leak, you risk not being able to use the installation for an extended period of time, due to the ban on replenishing cooling installations with R22 after January 1, 2015. If you do choose this scenario, we recommend having your cooling system checked regularly.

  2. Drop-in
    At a drop-in the refrigerant R22 is discharged and replaced or refilled by an alternative refrigerant. This scenario is suitable for installations under 10 years of age and which are already prepared for the use of a synthetic refrigerant. Less cooling capacity, increased energy consumption and a shorter lifetime of the installation are the disadvantages of a drop-in, which makes this in many cases a less suitable solution.

  3. Conversion
    It is possible to make your R22 installation suitable for an alternative refrigerant. Cooling with natural refrigerants therefore becomes a possibility in which case a number of components will be replaced. This scenario fits large, well-maintained industrial cooling installations, for example, installations in shipping. When adapted, they can last for years, making early and high investments unnecessary. 

  4. New construction / replacement
    Replacing R22 by natural refrigerants in your cooling installation is a sustainable solution. Increasingly, more installations run on natural refrigerants, such as CO2, propane, or ammonia. These solutions are environmentally friendly and very energy efficient. With this, you also comply with legislation in the long term and as an entrepreneur, you can benefit from interesting tax schemes. Various entrepreneurs have achieved considerable financial savings with this.

Supervision and enforcement?

The government can visit you for an inspection of your R22 cooling installation. The Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (IL&T) of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management supervises compliance with legislation. The IL&T has already visited companies with R22 cooling installations to check whether the legally prescribed leak detection checks are being complied with. The IL&T also checks for refilling and replenishing of R22 installations. You are required by law to cooperate with IL&T inspections.

Do you want to know more about phasing out synthetic refrigerants? Call or email us directly.

Gert Jan Knippenberg
Gert Jan Knippenberg
Phasing out | Climate chambers | Horticulture