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R32 may be banned from 2027

The EU Commission's proposal for a new F-gas regulation will prohibit the sale of products such as split systems with a GWP over 150 from 2027, and tightens the requirements for competence.

The following article is a recapitulation from The Norwegian Heat Pump Association (NOVAP). The full article can be read here

The tightening of the F-gas regulation is part of the EU's climate package 'Fit for 55', where the goal is to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030.

A crucial part of the F-gas regulation is to prohibit the sale of products with high GWP values. For air-to-air heat pumps with less than 3 kg of filling, a ban on F-gases with a GWP of 750 or more enters into force on January 1, 2025.

The proposal for the new regulation tightens this further from January 1, 2027:

A ban on split systems (nominal capacity up to 12 kW) that contain or depend on fluorinated greenhouse gases with a GWP of 150 or more, except when necessary to comply with safety standards.The same for split systems with a nominal capacity of more than 12 kW. "If this goes through, for example, R32 will be banned in new products from 2027," says Rolf Iver Mytting Hagemoen, Managing Director of the Heat Pump Association.

Production Capacity and CompetenceHeat pump manufacturers will then have to switch production to heat pumps based on natural refrigerants such as propane and CO2, or new synthetic refrigerants (HFOs) with a GWP below 150. For installers, this means a greater need to update their skills in handling alternative refrigerants.

"Many in the heat pump industry have warned against introducing new requirements too quickly; it could affect the ability to meet the EU's tightened climate requirements and the effort to make Europe independent of Russian oil and gas," Hagemoen emphasizes.

Heat pumps are central to both of these efforts; the ambitions mean that EU countries must install millions of heat pumps towards 2030. "Others argue that the industry will be able to adapt if the requirements are clear. We have seen this in the car industry, for example," says Hagemoen.

The Market is DevelopingHe points out that a lot is already happening: Several European research programs for new refrigerants are underway, and every year new products with natural refrigerants or HFOs with low GWP are introduced.

Hagemoen closely follows the development through the European Heat Pump Association (EHPA), where NOVAP is a member."Some players believe that the refrigeration and heat pump industry will manage the transition by 2027, while others are deeply concerned," Hagemoen reports. EU ambitions assume that the industry will be able to develop new, efficient heat pumps in time for all types of purposes. In addition, they assume access to enough qualified installers who can handle flammable refrigerants.

Greater Emphasis on AlternativesOther things worth noting in the proposal for the new F-gas regulation:

Greater emphasis on alternatives to F-gases, including through requirements for training and certification.All fluorinated media, including HFOs, are covered by rules to prevent emissions, leakage control, record keeping, and labeling.The proposal for the new F-gas regulation is now being consulted in the EU.

R32 may be banned from 2027