Refusal to use refrigerant R-22 in the marine industry
Refusal to use refrigerant R-22 in the marine industry
The Montreal Protocol was created in 1987 to protect the ozone layer by controlling, reducing and ultimately eliminating global emissions of ozone-depleting substances (ODS), including R-22. R-22 has been completely decommissioned in the EU since January 1, 2015, other developed countries are also completing a phase-out of R-22, since after January 1, 2020 R-22 will no longer be produced or imported. However, according to a UNEP report on the Technology and Economic Assessment Panel for 2016, 70% of the world's fishing fleets still use R-22 as their primary refrigerant.
Terms of the termination of use of R-22
Full rejection of R-22 in the EU in accordance with the “Ozone Regulations” of the EU - Regulation (EC) 1005/2009.
The use of R-22 (new, recycled and disposed of) on ships under the EU flag for servicing air-conditioning and refrigeration systems is prohibited and illegal.
The remaining R-22 volumes in EU ports are still available for export to ships with non-EU flags until December 31, 2019.
Complete abandonment of the production of R-22 in developed countries (Parties not operating under Article 5)
After January 1, 2020, only accumulated or recycled freon will be used to service systems with R-22.
Key participating in this ban countries: Australia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Canada, the Vatican, Israel, Japan, Kazakhstan, New Zealand, Russia, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Ukraine, the United States and Uzbekistan. The ban also extends to Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, the Isle of Man and Taiwan.
Complete abandonment of R-22 production in developing countries (Article 5 parties).
Production of the R-22 will be discontinued in the remaining 147 developing countries in 2030. Thus, suppliers will stop supplying R-22 in 2030 to 147 developing countries, such as: Brazil, Chile, China, Egypt, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Panama, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and others.
Recommended options for Companies using refrigerant R-22:
- Complete system replacement
This decision will entail a high initial cost of conversion and long ship downtime. However, the installation of newer and more efficient systems can lead to a significant reduction in operating and energy costs and full compliance with current legislation. In the long run, this choice seems to be the most environmentally responsible and cost effective.
- Retrofit of the existing system - replacement of R-22
f the system is still in good condition, consider upgrading or retooling it for alternative ozone-friendly refrigerants.
We offer our services for the preparation of the project of conversion, carrying out all the necessary calculations and the implementation of all turnkey works. This is a mid-term solution to maintain system performance without any major investment. This method is well suited for older ships (more than 10 years), for which the installation of a new system will be unprofitable.
- Continue using R-22
If the ship is to be disposed of soon or if the first 2 options are not suitable from an economic point of view, then you will have to continue using R-22 in systems.
To extend the life of the system and minimize the environmental impact, shipowners must responsibly maintain the system to minimize refrigerant leaks. To ensure the smooth operation of the vessel, the owners must also have an adequate supply of R-22. It is important to note that the cost of R-22 is expected to continue to grow. Over the past year, the cost of R-22 increased by an amount from 50% to 120%, depending on the region. There is a high risk of negative consequences if the system with R-22 fails and you do not have the opportunity to replenish it.
Availability of R-22 after 2020
The new R-22 will be unavailable in all developed countries (Parties not operating under Article 5 of the Montreal Protocol) after 2020. Existing R-22 reserves in countries such as the USA, Japan and Taiwan will continue to be available until the end of 2019. Similarly, existing stocks in the Netherlands will continue to be available for export to non-EU vessels until the same period. All unrealized R-22 will be exported from the EU by the indicated time.
After 2020, deliveries of R-22 for ships with the flag of developed countries (USA, Russia, Japan, Taiwan, Canada, Switzerland, the Isle of Man and the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, Australia and New Zealand) will also stop.
Due to limited supply and R-22 price increase at the end of 2019, more counterfeit or illegal R-22 supplies may appear on the market. Counterfeit refrigerants are hazardous as they may contain prohibited substances that are toxic and flammable. To avoid the potential risks of using counterfeit or illegal refrigerant, it is important for shipowners and operators to obtain refrigerants from reliable and trusted sources.
Some refrigerants are cheaper to purchase, but their use will be more expensive due to the following possible reasons: refrigerants that are sensitive to moisture pollution cause corrosion in compressors, resulting in a reduction in operating efficiency and frequent mechanical breakdowns; mixed refrigerants with contaminated components - mixtures of gases that are produced by the “artisanal” method and with the presence of a large amount of impurities, will not allow to achieve the specified technical characteristics of the system; Composite refrigerants with the wrong combination of components or the absence of one or more components in the composition will lead to incorrect system operation.
Avoiding counterfeit and illegal refrigerants
Counterfeit refrigerants compromise the safety of the Company and its crew members and compliance with legal acts. Counterfeit refrigerants, defined as refrigerant imitations designed to cheat for financial gain, existed for many years after phasing out ozone-depleting substances, such as CFC and HCFC refrigerants, in accordance with the 1987 Montreal Protocol. Since then, additional rules have been introduced:
- The EU has introduced an HFC quota and a ban on servicing HFCs with a GWP index of more than 2500 after January 1, 2020, in accordance with the F-gas standard.
- Nearly 200 countries have signed an agreement on phasing out HFCs in accordance with the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol.
This led to a reduction in the supply of HFCs, while the prices of the remaining refrigerants skyrocket, creating opportunities for the sale of polluted (used) and counterfeit refrigerants. Used / contaminated refrigerants that are no longer recyclable or reusable should be destroyed by high temperature incineration. However, some of these refrigerants return to the market without proper processing, which puts the Company, crew and equipment at significant risk. The use of disposable cylinders increases the risk of obtaining counterfeit refrigerants.
What are the risks of using low-quality refrigerants?
Low-quality refrigerants with excessive humidity can freeze in the refrigeration system, blocking the refrigerant flow in expansion valves (TTR) and evaporator pipes (evaporators), which leads to the impossibility of the system to work without drying the system and can also lead to damage to system components.
Corrosion and acid formation in the system.
Excessive moisture reacts with coolants and lubricating oil to form corrosive acids, which damage the insulation of the motor windings and cause serious damage to the compressor, and also damage the pipes and fittings of the system.
High acid content in the system can cause the formation of solid particles in the form of fine powders or sludge. Slurry creates blockages in fine-mesh filters, expansion valves and capillary tubes. The accumulation of sludge in heat exchangers will impede heat transfer and affect system performance.
Negatively affects the quality of refrigerated goods and the freshness of food products that should be stored in strict compliance with the set temperatures. This will compromise the safety standards of the Company.
Health, safety and environmental damage.
Counterfeit refrigerants may contain prohibited toxic and flammable substances, which endanger end-users and refrigeration units, while prohibited substances with high ozone-depleting potential and high global warming will harm the environment.
Penalty and criminal punishment.
In connection with the smuggling of counterfeit and illegal refrigerants in the EU without an HFC import quota, companies and individuals found to be purchased, sold or used one of them will be at risk of serious fines and criminal penalties.
What do shipowners need to know about the current rules for refrigerants?
The time of “low GWP” is approaching (Global Warming Potential, Global Warming Potential, GWP). GWP is a coefficient that determines the extent to which different greenhouse gases affect global warming. Some popular refrigerants (R-507, R-404A, ...) will be banned, which activates the search for new solutions.
Existing regulations for refrigerants.
The Montreal Protocol was established in 1987 to phase out refrigerants with high ODP (ozone-depleting potential). The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol in 2016 concerns high-GWP refrigerants. In accordance with this amendment, all 197 countries agreed to the phase-out of HFCs (hydrofluorocarbons) starting in 2019. From 2020, HFCs with a GWP of more than 2500 will be banned in the EU, which will affect the use of refrigerants such as R404A, R507, R422D and others.
How to better prepare for a low GWP future?
If vessels still operate on HFCs with high GWPs (more than 2500), for example R404A, shipowners should consider switching to environmentally friendly refrigerants with lower GWPs to ensure long-term compliance with mandatory legislation and stable uninterrupted refrigerant supply in the future.
What is the recommended eco-friendly alternative to R404A / R507?
There are numerous replacements for these gases, most of them with a much lower GWP than 3900. However, these refrigerants are either not at all compatible with existing systems, or they will entail huge modernization costs. We can choose the most suitable refrigerant for your working conditions in accordance with all the features of the existing system, which will ensure its stable operation, optimal efficiency and minimum costs for re-equipment.
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