Refrigerant R22 - How was the exit?
In the early 1980s, the international debate on the elimination of HCFCs and CFC refrigerants began, and with it the search for alternatives. It was decided to gradually reduce the use of these refrigerants by 2040 and then ban them altogether.
R22 was explicitly part of this solution. In the US, the use of R22 even increased thereafter, as the agreed goals were generally seen as unrealistic and it was believed that developing countries needed more time for a total phasing out of CFCs.
In the meantime, a global change of mind has begun, and accordingly, the 19th Conference of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol in September 2007 set stricter rules for phase-out periods:
Industrialized countries or non-Article 5 states: Reduction of production and use of HCFCs (R22) by 75% by 2010 and by 90% by 2015; CFC ban from 2020.
Developing countries according to Article 5: Reduction of production and use of HCFCs (R22) by 1% by 2010, by 35% by early 2020 and by 67.5% by 2025. Complete phase-out 2030. 2.5% of original CFCs Quantity are still allowed until 2040.
The accelerated phasing out of CFC over the next ten years means that it will no longer be possible to operate new plants with CFCs in both industrialized and developing countries .
In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established specific provisions to implement the Montreal Protocol, which aims to phase out R22 use by 2010. However, devices manufactured before 2010 can continue to operate until 2020.
To achieve this goal, several initiatives have been launched, including the EPC's GreenChill Advanced Refrigeration Partnership. It involves companies in the food industry as well as refrigeration equipment and refrigerant manufacturers. The partnership aims to help supermarkets withdraw R22. Currently, it is still used in more than 70% of US supermarkets. HFCs are clearly favored as an alternative in the US, as will be seen, for example, at the opening of the world's largest production facility for R32 in September 2007. The plant in Colvert City, Kentucky produces 25,000 tons of R32 per year. R32 is a component of HFC refrigerant blends such as R410A.
The new provisions have no impact on European legislation. The deadline for the complete ban on R22 in existing facilities is 31.12.2014. Use in new cooling, air conditioning or heat pump systems has been prohibited since January 2001. The use in combined air conditioning and heat pump systems since January 2004 prohibited.