Refrigerant Solutions - the refrigerant specialists

European regulation for fluorinated gases & Directive to phase out HFC 134a in vehicle air conditioning


Fluorinated gas (F gas) emissions in 1995 in the European Community were 65m tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent to 2% of total greenhouse gas emissions in the European Community and, if unchecked, are forecast to increase to 98m tonnes by 2010. These proposals are expected to reduce emissions of fluorinated greenhouse gases by 23m tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2010, and an even greater reduction thereafter since some of the provisions (eg mobile air conditioning) will not have a significant impact until then.

The EC and member states have ratified the Kyoto Protocol which requires industrialised countries to reduce greenhouse gases by 5.2% below their 1990 level for the period 2008 to 2012. The EC has committed to an even larger reduction of 8% for this period.

Evolution of EC Regulation & Directive

These proposals are the first of two stages in the regulation and containment of F gases:

  1. Introduction of controls on HFC emissions & phase out of HFC134a in mobile air conditioning (MAC).
  2. After a period of monitoring and evaluation, the EC will consider the need for additional measures to achieve the objective of reducing Fgases to the targeted levels.

The measures in these proposals are to be reviewed by the EC & a report published by the end of 2007. Further and more stringent measures could then be taken if required.

Main Elements Of The Regulation

  1. Containment

    1. Duty to prevent and minimise leakage: all persons responsible for the emission of fluorinated gases are required to take all technical and economically feasible measures to prevent and minimise leakages.
    2. Leakage inspections: stationary, air conditioning and heat pump equipment must be inspected by competent personnel as follows:
      Kgs of F gas in equipment Inspection frequency pa
      3 1 (*)
      30 2
      300 4

      * not applicable to hermetically sealed systems containing <6 Kgs

    3. A check must be made within one month after a leak has been repaired to ensure the repair has been effective.
    4. Leakage detection systems: all owners of stationary refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump systems with more than 300 Kgs of F gas must install leak detection systems.
    5. Where a properly functioning appropriate leakage detection is in place, the frequency of checks required for applications containing 30 kgs & 300 kgs or more of HFCs shall be halved.

  2. Disposable Cylinders

    The sale of HFCs in disposable cylinders will be banned with effect from 4 July 2007. Disposable cylinders filled with HFCs prior to this date can be placed on the market after 4 July 2007.

  3. Record Keeping

    There is a requirement for all owners of stationary refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump equipment and fire protection systems containing 3 Kgs or more of F gases to maintain records which should include:

    1. Quantity
    2. Type
    3. Amounts added during servicing
    4. Amounts recovered
    5. Name of employer or technician performing service
    6. Date & results of inspections
  4. Reporting

    By 31 March 2008, producers, importers & exporters exceeding one tonne pa must report to the EC annually on production, imports, exports, recycling and destruction of F gases which shall also include applications and expected emissions over the life cycle of the substance.

  5. Non Confined Direct Evaporation Systems

    HFCs will be banned in this application which includes self-chilling drink cans and any other system where the act of cooling results in the refrigerant being released to atmosphere.

  6. Recovery & Recycling

    F gases must be recovered for recycling, reclamation and destruction from all equipment including refillable & non-refillable gas containers.

  7. Training

    Programmes will be required to provide for the training and certification of personnel involved in making leakage inspection systems and also for those involved in recycling, reclamation and destruction of F gases.

    Although operators must comply with the requirement to hold the necessary certification by July 2007, Member States have until July 2008 to establish their own minimum certification requirements. Informally, the EC has indicated that current certification criteria are used in the intervening period.

  8. Labelling
    1. Products & equipment containing fluorinated gases to be labelled with chemical names.
    2. Labels to state that equipment contains fluorinated gases covered by the Kyoto Protocol, but excludes existing equipment.
    3. Labels to be placed at service point.
    4. EC to establish label format.
    5. Product manuals to contain the Greenhouse Warming Potential of the gas.
  9. Entry into Force (EIF)

    4 July 2006 with the control measures 12 months later

  10. Review

    By July 2011, the EC will publish a report which will in effect assess the effectiveness of these regulations in practice & where necessary present further proposals to reduce emissions.

  11. Alternatives to HFCs

    Member States may promote the placing on the market of alternatives to HFCs with low GWPs which are efficient, innovative & further reduce the climate impact.

MAC Directive


  1. Adoption of harmonised leakage tests 4 July 2007.
  2. HFC134a leakage rates introduced 4 July 2008.
  3. HFC134a banned in new vehicle models by 2011.
  4. Phase out of HFC134a in all new vehicles by 2017.
  5. Replacement of HFC134a by HFC152a permitted
  6. Timetable
    Leakage test introduced 4 July 2008
    HFC134a leakage rates in existing vehicles 4 July 2008
    HFC134a leakage rates in new vehicles 4 July 2009
    HFC134a banned in new models 2011
    HFC134a banned in all vehicles 2017


  1. A standard test to measure leakage from MAC systems will be introduced within 12 months from adoption of a harmonised leakage detection test.
  2. HFC134a leakages from motor cars & light vehicles will be restricted to 40-60 grams pa.
  3. HFC134a leakages from new vehicles will be restricted to 40-60 grams pa.
  4. HFC134a will not be permitted in new models after 1/1/2011 which allow sufficient time for new MAC systems to be fully tested & integrated into a mass production line.
  5. HFC134a will be banned in all new vehicles from 1/1/2017
  6. Refilling HFC134a in MAC systems fitted to vehicles not categorised as new models before 2017 will be permitted after 2017.