What are the options for companies still using R22?
R22 belongs to the hydrochlorofluorocarbon refrigerants (HCFCs), which are subjected to different legislations since the Montreal Protocol. Since January 1st, 2015, the European Regulation EC/2037/2000 – amended by the EC/1005/2009 Regulation – makes it illegal to use recycled or reclaimed HCFCs to service refrigeration and air conditioning equipment.
However, this regulation does not prohibit continued operation of plant using existing quantities of HCFC refrigerant. In the UK for instance, it means that there are still a large number of R22 refrigeration systems operating.
An article recently published in the ACR Journal underlines that the major concern for any company still operating with R22 must be the potential risk of a complete loss of refrigerant from the system and the devastating effect this could have on their business. According to the author of the article, Ed Whinyates, there are two options available to companies still using R22 refrigerant:
- Replace with new plant: the latest technologies can be used to meet both the current and future requirements of the company. For example, selecting refrigerants like HCs, ammonia or CO2 is a good option because these refrigerants are not subjected to any EC regulation and have a zero GWP. However, this kind of replacement takes time and is quite expensive.
- Utilise a suitable “drop in” refrigerant: According to Ed Whinyates, “there are a number of clear benefits of modernising existing plant to use an alternative refrigerant. The obvious one is the lower capital costs involved compared to a whole new system. There are several refrigerant options that can be used, allowing you to retain your existing system. And with a reasonably quick implementation, there is the reduced risk of impact on the day-to-day running of a business.”