HFC supply within the EU drops by 29%

Following evidence of massive pre-phase-down stockpiling in 2014, the supply of HFCs within the EU declined by 29% to 183.3Mt of CO2e in 2015.

The 2015 CO2e bulk supply figures contained within the European Environment Agency (EEA) report published yesterday are, however, nearly 12% up on 2013.

In terms of CO2e, HFCs account for 85% of total F-gases supplied to the market. Total F-gas supply, which include PFCs, SF6 and other perfluorinated compounds, was 214.5Mt CO2e.

Total bulk imports of F-gases were actually 40% below the exceptionally high amounts reported for 2014, both by weight and as CO2‑eq. Except for 2014, bulk imports in 2015 were the highest since reporting started in 2007.

Last month the EEA reported that the total amount of compliance-relevant HFC refrigerant placed on the market in 2015 amounted to 168Mt CO2eq, and within the cap amount for the year of 183Mt CO2eq. These latest figures from the EEA include the HFCs contained in pre-charged equipment, which are not included in the phase down figures until 2017.

Reclamation of refrigerants, which is seen as vital to achieving the longer-term F-gas phase down, increased from a total of 416 tonnes in 2014 to 648 tonnes in 2015, but still makes up less than 1% of total bulk supply.

R134a and R125 continued to be the HFCs supplied in bulk in the largest quantities, followed by R143a and R32.

The lower GWP refrigerant R32 is increasing in importance both as a constituent in many of the lower GWP alternative blends and in its own right as an alternative to R410A in smaller air conditioning systems. Bulk supply of R32 was 8,710 tonnes in 2015, a drop of 20% compared to the stockpiling year of 2014 but 30% up on 2013.

R134a is still used in large quantities as a single refrigerant and in blends. Bulk supply of R134a dropped by 24% in 2015 to 45,558 tonnes compared to 2014 but 16% up on 2013.

R125, a component of R404A along with R134a and R125, saw supply drop by 32% compared to 2014 and virtually matching supply figures for 2013.

Further indications of a reduction in the use of R404A is revealed in the figures for R143a, which saw supply figures drop by 46% to 7,257 tonnes. This was even 18% down on 2013.

The report summary is available here.