Thieves steal $576,000 of R22

Thieves are reported to have got away with over $500,000 worth of R22 from a Hudson Technologies warehouse in Champaign, Illinois.

According to the local News Gazette, staff at the leading US refrigerant supplier and reclaimer Hudson Technologies reported that, over last weekend, thieves forced entry into the warehouse and made off with 641 30lb (13.6kg) cylinders of R22. The value of the refrigerant was put at $576,000.

With the phase out of ozone-depleting HCFCs now well under way in the US, R22 is becoming an increasing valuable commodity.

This year’s allowable production and importation of R22 was 18,000,000lb (8,160,000kg), down from the 51,000,000lb (23,000,000kg) allowed in 2014. Recycled refrigerant is outside of any restrictions but this is not thought to be making much of a contribution to the market at present. Next year the allowable limit will drop to 13,000,000lb, with further annual reductions until a complete import and production ban in 2020.