The F-Gas regulations that came into force on July 7, 2011 mean that owners and operators – rather than suppliers or service companies – are responsible for the f-gases (greenhouse gases) used in their refrigerators.
That means owners and operators need to get their refrigeration checked for leaks regularly, and ensure that anyone handling and servicing the equipment is fully certified. The 'f' in f-gas stands for fluorine, which is used in many refrigerants (including R134a and R404a) and is a powerful greenhouse gas. The whole point of the F-Gas regulations is to contain, prevent and ultimately reduce emissions of these gases, as covered by the Kyoto Protocol.
Refrigerants with GWP (Global Warming Potential) greater than 2500 will be banned by 2020. This includes R404A which is commonly used in freezers with a GWP of 3922. The bands will be tightened in 2022 to include all refrigerants with GWP greater than 150. This includes R134a which is commonly used in refrigerators with a GWP of 1430.
Precison is in the process of converting it’s entire product range to Hydrocarbon refrigerants which have a GWP of just 3. Most of the product range is already Hydrocarbon as standard and the rest will be completed in 2017 - way ahead of the guidelines.
In addition, we have invested in the latest automatic charging stations and leak detection systems. The charging stations automatically check every system we manufacture before charging it with refrigerant, aborting the process if any leaks are found. The leak detection systems are incredibly sensitive, capable of detecting leak rates of just 0.05g per annum.
To comply with F-Gas regulations, owners have to check for leaks of f-gas and keep records. However, precision customers need not be concerned about these obligations. That's because they only apply to systems with more than 3kg of refrigerant; if the system is hermetically sealed then the limit rises to 6kg. All precision refrigeration systems are hermetically sealed, even those that are well below the 3kg threshold. And none of our current systems require more than 3kg of refrigerant. However, precision is fully committed to the protection of the environment and the containment of greenhouse gases. We recommend our customers have a full planned preventative maintenance contract and that they ask service engineers to carry out leak checks on a regular basis.
The F-Gas Regulations call for any leaks that are found to be repaired as soon as possible by certified personnel. In addition, owners must arrange for the proper recovery of f-gases by certified personnel, to ensure their recycling, reclamation or destruction. By 'certified personnel' the regulations mean engineers working with f-gases must have the appropriate qualifications. All companies who employ operatives undertaking activities within the scope of the F Gas Regulations must have a Company Certificate to carry out this work. Precision is fully F-Gas compliant.