Phasing out synthetic refrigerants

Phasing out synthetic refrigerants

The Europe Union has adopted legislation to cut back on synthetic refrigerants in cooling and deep-freeze installations. On this page, ENGIE informs you about the changes, consequences and especially the opportunities for you as an entrepreneur.

How does phasing out affect your business process?

Is refrigeration part of your business process and does your refrigeration system run on synthetic refrigerants? Then you will be affected by the so-called F-gas legislation which is new European regulations that focus on phasing out these refrigerants. These regulations prescribe to reduce synthetic refrigerants. In the Netherlands only, around one million industrial cooling installations use these refrigerants.

‘Double refrigeration capacity, lower energy costs’
- Rémon Post, Supply Chain Manager
Vegetable processing company Heemskerk Fresh & Easy

The European legislation foresee a usage ban, a production restriction, and a new-construction ban

  • Usage ban
    This concerns the prohibition of refilling installations filled with an HFC with a GWP> 2,500 and among others, the frequently used refrigerants R404A and R507. Until January 1, 2030, replenishing is only permitted with regenerated refrigerant. From January 1, 2030, replenishing an installation with an HFC with a GWP> 2,500 is completely prohibited.

  • Production restriction
    The production of F-gases is gradually being phased out from 100% in 2015 to 21% in 2030. Due to this production restriction, there have been considerable price increases. This makes the replenishment of installations with synthetic refrigerants considerably more expensive.

  • New-construction ban
    As of January 1, 2020, a ban applies for the construction of new installations filled with an HFC with a GWP > 2,500. This includes the refrigerants R404A and R507. As of January 1, 2022, a ban on new construction of commercial installations filled with an HFC with a GWP > 150 applies.


Below is an overview of all refrigerants and their phasing-out.

Phasing out refrigerants

Price development - synthetic refrigerants

Due to production limitation, there have been price increases of 60% per month. In addition to EU legislation, China announced price increases for the mineral fluorite, one of the components in the production of synthetic refrigerants, which further increased the price of synthetic refrigerants. This makes the replenishment of installations with synthetic refrigerants considerably more expensive. Moreover, the availability of these refrigerants is decreasing, resulting in even higher prices and shortages.

What options do I have?

Although well-maintained installations can continue to operate well after 2020, you will need to replace them in the long term. You will certainly have to in the case of a leak. There are various options for timely adapting your company to the new laws and regulations:

  1. New construction / replacement
    We build a new cooling installation that runs on natural refrigerants or replace an existing installation as a result. This is the most environmentally friendly and energy-efficient solution. With this, you also comply with legislation.

  2. Conversion
    We make an existing installation suitable for another refrigerant by replacing a number of components. This is a suitable scenario for large, well-maintained cooling installations.

  3. Drop-in
    Is your installation under 10 years of age and already prepared for the use of a synthetic refrigerant? We can place a drop-in at a DX-system for R404A and R507. In that case, the refrigerant is discharged and replaced by an alternative refrigerant. Keep in mind that a drop-in reduces cooling capacity, increases energy consumption and shortens the lifetime of the installation. A drop-in is not possible for pump circulation systems. Moreover, this option is less suitable if cooling is crucial for the business process.
‘The biggest added value is the reliability of the installation’
- Dick de Vries, facility manager
Meat importer and exporter Jan Zandbergen
Read more

How do natural refrigerants contribute to better operating results?

Up to 40% less energy costs

Up to 40% less energy costs

Natural refrigerants are energy efficient and result in 25 to 40% less energy costs.

Use subsidy schemes

Use subsidy schemes

With the Energy Investment Allowance (EIA), in addition to your usual depreciation, you can deduct 45% (2019) of the investment costs from your taxable profit. On average, the EIA provides you with a 10% tax benefit.

Cost-saving solutions

Cost-saving solutions

In some industries, such as food, cooling with natural refrigerants helps to improve the quality of the refrigerated product. You can, therefore, benefit from more revenue and lower (processing) costs.

More sustainable business operations

More sustainable business operations

Cooling with natural refrigerants fits in with a sustainable production chain. Approximately 3% of the total electricity consumption in the Netherlands is used for cooling purposes. Natural refrigerants help to reduce this share.

Phasing out & Dairy

We are happy to assist dairy companies in phasing out synthetic refrigerants. As of 2022, no new cooling installations may be built with synthetic refrigerants. That is why we offer various suitable and safe applications of a more sustainable alternative, like using natural refrigerants. By using these, you don’t only safeguard your production processes, but you can also benefit from interesting tax benefits.

Everything about Dairy

Phasing out & Fish

While new European legislation prohibits the use and the replenishment of synthetic refrigerants in the long term, thousands of cooling and freezing installations in the fishery industry still depend on it. If you do not act on time, this can have major consequences for the continuity of your production. ENGIE Refrigeration offers various applications of a more sustainable alternative, like using natural refrigerants. With this, you not only safeguard your own production process, but you can also benefit from interesting tax benefits.

Everything about Fish

Phasing out & Food processing

We are happy to assist food processing companies in phasing out synthetic refrigerants. As of 2022, no new cooling installations may be built with synthetic refrigerants. That is why we offer various suitable and safe applications of a more sustainable alternative, like using natural refrigerants. By using these, you don’t only safeguard your production processes, but you can also benefit from interesting tax benefits.

Everything about Food processing

Phasing out & Agriculture

We are happy to assist you in phasing out synthetic refrigerants. As of 2022, no new cooling installations may be built with synthetic refrigerants. That is why we offer various suitable and safe applications of a more sustainable alternative, like using natural refrigerants. By using these, you don’t only safeguard your production processes, but you can also benefit from interesting tax benefits.

Everything about Agriculture

Do you want more information?

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