Illegal imports & trade of HFCs in the EU
HFCs illegally imported into the EU have been reported continuously since the beginning of 2018. They are a big threat to the EU F-Gas Regulation (EU) No 517/2014 and generate risks, both for the environment and safety of installers and end users.
Large quantities of illegal HFC refrigerants are entering the EU market.
Estimated1 minimum quantity 2018:
16.3 Mt CO2-equivalent
Based on R134a, this means
633 Iso Tank Containers (18mt)
or more than 900.000 cylinders
1Source: EIA report "Doors wide open" (Website), (PDF)
The impact of illegal imports and trade
The illegal import of HFCs into the European Union will ultimately threaten the success of the F-Gas Regulation and the EU’s climate goals.
Unknown source = unknown substance
The use of potentially health & safety hazardous products can lead to serious safety issue for installers and end users.
Uncertain product quality
Illegally imported HFCs are often of dubious quality.
What is a quality refrigerant?
Quality refrigerants follow internationally accepted standards like AHRI700. These standards describe the quality of refrigerants and their blends.
- Only known substances, of high purity (>99.5% for R134a)
- Exact composition in case of blends
- Little content of non-condensable gases (<1.5 vol.% in gas phase for R134a)
- Little moisture (<10 ppm H2O in liquid phase for R134a)
- Low acidity (<1ppm as HCl for R134a)
- No solid particles
Purchasing from established suppliers who are interested in maintaining future business with their customers ensures that refrigerants have the quality you need for you business and fulfill the requirements of e.g. AHRI700.
How to identify a quality refrigerant?
In most cases a quality refrigerant can be easily distinguished from a refrigerant of poor quality. Check for these indicators of good refrigerant quality:
- Returnable cylinders – no disposables!
- Cylinder is in good shape
- Cylinder is approved for the refrigerant by a certified body (see stamped refrigerant types or pressure approval)
- Test interval of the cylinder has not expired
- Clear indication of the producer
- Safety indication in your national language
- ADR Transport Symbol and UN number
- SDS / Quality certificate