Committing to Lowering GWPs Long Before Regulatory Mandates

As the urgency for environmental sustainability grows, the refrigeration industry faces a critical juncture, compelled to adopt eco-friendly alternatives amid tightening regulations. Aspen Systems emerges as a leader in sustainable cooling solutions, leveraging its extensive experience and innovation in cooling systems, including efficient heat exchangers, advanced compressor development, and precise cooling control. With a keen eye on the global shift towards low global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants, particularly within the European Union, Aspen Systems has long informed its customer base about impending changes. Propane (R290) emerges as a promising refrigerant with significantly lower GWP, requiring only around half the mass of traditional refrigerants like R134a for the same cooling capacity. However, stringent regulations govern the shipment of propane-based systems by air, limiting systems to containing 100 grams of propane. Aspen Systems’ liquid chiller modules are air-qualified, easing logistics, while its compressors are UL-rated for propane use, facilitating the transition for its customers. Beyond refrigerant choices, Aspen Systems remains committed to regulatory compliance and environmental stewardship, proactively meeting the highest standards. With a focus on sustainability and expertise in developing cooling systems using low GWP refrigerants, Aspen Systems offers tailored solutions to meet evolving needs, fostering a cleaner, greener future for all.

Montreal Protocol

The Montreal Protocol, adopted on 16 September 1987, is a key international agreement that regulates nearly 100 chemicals that deplete the ozone layer. It has achieved universal ratification and phases down these substances with specific timelines for developed and developing countries. The Protocol includes detailed provisions on control measures, trade, data reporting, and technical assistance, evolving with new scientific and economic insights. The Multilateral Fund, established in 1991, supports developing countries in meeting Protocol commitments through financial and technical assistance.

The Protocol has successfully phased out 98% of ozone-depleting substances (ODS), significantly contributing to climate protection by reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 135 gigatons of CO2 equivalent between 1990 and 2010. The 2007 Montreal Amendment accelerates the phase-out of HCFCs, potent greenhouse gases, while the 2016 Kigali Amendment aims to reduce HFCs by 80-85% by 2047, potentially avoiding up to half a degree Celsius of global warming by the century’s end. The U.S. ratified this amendment in October 2022. The Protocol’s effective implementation is projected to allow full ozone layer recovery by mid-century, preventing millions of cases of skin cancer and other health issues, exemplifying the power of international cooperation.

EU F-Gas Regulation

In response to the European Climate Law and the Montreal Protocol, the European Commission reviewed and proposed updates to the 2014 F-gas Regulation. The new F-gas Regulation (EU) 2024/573, adopted on 7 February 2024 and effective from 11 March 2024, aims to further reduce F-gas emissions to meet the EU’s 2030 and 2050 climate goals. It includes measures such as steeper reductions in hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) quotas to achieve a complete phase-out by 2050, the integration of HFCs in metered dose inhalers into the quota system with additional prohibitions on F-gas equipment, stricter rules to prevent emissions during the production, use, and disposal of F-gases, and improved enforcement and monitoring through digitalisation and automated customs control to combat illegal trade. The regulation also initiates a phased reduction in HFC production within the EU starting in 2025, decreasing production rights from 60% of 2011-2013 levels to 15% by 2036. The HFC quota system, established in 2015, limits the amount of HFCs placed on the EU market, with a gradual reduction to zero by 2050. Quotas are allocated annually to importers and producers, and equipment containing HFCs must comply with these quotas and provide a declaration of conformity.

AIM Act

The American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act, enacted on December 27, 2020, empowers the EPA to regulate hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) by phasing down their production and consumption, managing HFCs and their substitutes, and promoting next-generation technologies. HFCs, potent greenhouse gases used in various applications, have been increasing in use due to the global phaseout of ozone-depleting substances. Alternatives with lower global warming potentials (GWPs) are available or being developed.

The Inflation Reduction Act provides significant funding for the AIM Act’s implementation, including $38.5 million for compliance and grants. Recently, the EPA announced $15 million in grants for projects focused on HFC reclaim and destruction technologies.

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