Rising Costs for High GWP Refrigerants
7th July 2023
Future Implications for the Cooling Industry
Are you aware of the rising refrigerant costs for higher GWP refrigerants in Europe? According to the latest industry reports, prices for these refrigerants are continuing to soar, with some experiencing price hikes of up to 75%.
Figures from Öko-Recherche for Q1 2023 show a 75% Increase for R410A, 67% Increase for R404A and a 48% Increase for R134a compared against Q1 2022. Lower GWP alternatives have also seen smaller rises with a 17% increase for R448A and a 11% Increase for R449A. This is in the face of global markets for these refrigerants’ where prices are remaining static. Therefore, we can attribute these increased costs as a direct result to FGas legislation.
Many cooling professionals have already shifted towards lower GWP options, but this is not always possible due to cost of capital investment, lack of drop-in replacements, technical or safety reasons
In addition, the ongoing shortage of virgin refrigerants is also driving up costs for higher GWP refrigerants, with demand for refrigerants continuing to exceed supply across the globe. This means that cooling professionals need to keep a close eye on prices and availability to ensure efficient and cost-effective cooling for their clients.
But what does this mean for the future of cooling industry? It is likely that the rise in refrigerant costs will continue as the EU F-Gas Regulation becomes stricter over time and places further restrictions on high GWP refrigerants. This will compel even more businesses to transition to low GWP refrigerants while also remaining energy efficient.
Therefore, it is essential that the cooling industry continues to adapt and evolve, finding new and innovative solutions to reduce our reliance on high GWP refrigerants while ensuring access to reliable and efficient cooling systems.
There are several actions that the cooling industry can take to mitigate the rising refrigerant costs for higher GWP refrigerants. These include:
1. Choose lower GWP refrigerants: Although many businesses may already have lower GWP refrigerants in place, others may need to make the switch to more energy-efficient options. It’s essential to work with a knowledgeable refrigeration professional to assess and determine the best option that is both technically feasible and cost-effective.
2. Reclaim and recycle refrigerants: Proper maintenance, system leak detection and regular refrigerant reclaim, and recycling can significantly reduce the annual costs of refrigerants and secure their availability. Ensuring that the refrigerants are safely reclaimed and recycled also helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
3. Explore alternative cooling technologies: Beyond refrigerants, there are other cooling technologies available that may be more energy-efficient, cost-effective, and safer. Cooling technologies that use natural refrigerants are now commonplace, such as carbon dioxide and hydrocarbons, which have minimal or no global warming impact. Explore and consider using such alternative refrigeration systems that can help to mitigate the high costs of refrigerants.
4. Stay 4. Stay up to date with legislation: Keeping informed on the latest updates from UK and EU F-Gas regulations can enable businesses to keep ahead of mandated phase-down and phase-out initiatives. Companies that stay compliant with regulations will not only reduce environmental impact but also avoid costly penalties and negative public perception over violating FGAS legislations.
By adopting these actions, the cooling industry can mitigate the rising costs of refrigerants, ensuring that their systems remain operational, efficient, and cost-effective.