Restricted use of F-gas (fluorinated gases)
Be aware of the new regulations
In 2015, the European Union released an updated F-gas Regulation to replace the one adopted in 2006, and the new targets aim to cut the EU’s 2014 F-gas emissions by two-thirds by 2030.
Although most commonly used in the refrigeration and cooling industries, F-gases are present in many old generation solvents used across a wide range of industries – and unfortunately many users don’t realise this, so they are inadvertently breaking the law.
F-gases have a very high GWP (Global Warming Potential) of up to 11,000 which equates to 11,000 kg of Co2 being released into the atmosphere (compared to new generation solvents eg, SF80 with has a GWP <2.5) The current legislation limits how much F-gas can be sold in Europe and bans the use of F-gas in new equipment where alternatives with a lower GWP are widely available. A range of mandatory checks and scheduled services have been introduced in an effort to control F-gas emissions, including safe recovery of the gases when the equipment is decommissioned.
In summary, leaking F-gas into the atmosphere is a criminal offence and steps must be taken to switch to safer, environmentally friendly solvents.
How Fraser Technologies can help
Our one-stop solution includes advice on the regulatory and technical challenges, full audit of your process and requirements, recommendations on most suitable equipment and chemistries, and supply of all equipment and chemistries.
We can also offer a range of after sales support packages.
Contact us to find out more, and learn how we have helped many other customers through this process with huge success.
Comply with F-gas regulations
The operators of any equipment using or containing F-gases must ensure the equipment is leak tested to specific standards. If a leak is detected, the equipment must be immediately removed from use and repaired, and then remedial checks are to be carried out within one month.
Any stationery equipment that contains more than 3kg of F-gases must keep records of their use, including:
- the type and quantity of F-gases used
- details of any services carried out on the equipment
- details of every leak test conducted on the system
Also all equipment must be labelled with the type and quantity of F-gas contained within.
Identifying which solvents contain F-gas should be fairly straightforward – the drum should by law show the presence of any F-gas within. Additionally the Material Safety Data Sheets should be the latest versions for all solvents used, and any F-gases should be clearly listed.
What are the alternatives to F-gases?
A new generation of solvent cleaning fluids are just as effective as those containing F-gases. In most cases, they also make cleaning processes more efficient and more cost-effective, as well as minimising environmental impact. The Opteon™ range from Chemours™ were specifically developed to be safe for users and for the environment. Opteon™ SF80, which is the newest product in the range and has an ultra low GWP of less than 2.5, is a non-flammable, fast drying cleaning solvent that works well as a replacement for hydrofluorocarbons and perfluorocarbons as well as high GWP HFE’s currently noted in annex 2 of F-gas regulations. It is well-suited for vapour degreasing, precision cleaning and the removal of greases and oils; and to clean a variety of soils from mechanical components, electronics, optics, and military hardware. These solvents are also increasingly replacing commonly used heat transfer fluids.
With availability of F-gases set to decline while costs escalate, businesses currently using F-gases in their equipment, and in particular those using old generation solvents containing F-gases for industrial applications, must look to the future and to the alternatives.
New generation of cleaning solvents have significantly lower CO2 emissions than those containing F-gas.
F-gas use is scheduled to be reduced by 80% over the 15 years to 2030.
Under REACH regulations, users of enclosed cleaning systems had to cease use of Trike as a cleaning solvent by the sunset date of 21 April 2016. Many competitor solvents were sold as simple replacement chemistries as the deadline loomed – but now it’s time to reconsider given the advance of safe, powerful and eco-friendly new generation solvents now available.
Countdown to nPB ban
The sunset date for the use of nPB is fast approaching – 4 July 2020! There will be no exceptions under this legislation, and the date for requesting special authorisation to continue using nPB has gone. Time is of the essence here, as the process of switching chemistries and/or cleaning equipment can take months – so get ahead of the competition.