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Competitiveness, innovation and sustainability: how to square the circle of the F-gas Regulation revision?


06 Apr 2022


Climate & Environment

The European Commission unveiled its proposal for a new F-gas Regulation, with an eye at further reducing greenhouse gas emissions, as part of the set 2030 and 2050 EU’s climate ambitions.

Since it first entered the scene in 2014, the home appliance industry has been supportive of the aims fostered by the F-gas Regulation and has actively invested in new technologies and innovations, as an integral part of its broader emission reduction efforts . In this sense, the sector continues to move away from high Global Warming Potential (GWP) refrigerants and firmly grounds its processes accordingly. However, it is crucial to understand that “F-gases are still essential for the use of a number of applications,” such as energy efficient heating and cooling of buildings, to mention one, and thus critical in enabling decarbonisation.

The drastic, ongoing phase-down of F-gases accelerates the process of reducing the availability of critical refrigerants for the industry and by doing so, it “would undermine manufacturers’ efforts in further innovating their production processes,” explained Paolo Falcioni, APPLiA Director General. Refrigerant choice by manufacturers relies on several factors that are inherent to specific applications. These include technical feasibility, safety and cost-effectiveness.

As laid out in the most recent European Climate Law, enshrining the 2050 climate neutrality target into legislative text, technologies like heat pumps will play an essential role in combining European homes’ decarbonisation with sustainable economic growth. As such, products including air-to-air heat pumps (also referred to as reversible split air-conditioners), among others, will provide top-notch renewable and energy efficient solutions, by allowing for heating and cooling in one. This, as undertaken by REPowerEU, calls for an “accelerated deployment of alike solutions,” with a view to enhance EU independence on gas supply. 

APPLiA welcomes the renewed ambitions set down by the Review, however these should “take into consideration the long-term impact to decarbonise EU homes,” pointed out Falcioni, towards reaching the ultimate climate emissions reduction targets. 

Finally, the proposal of the European Commission includes exports of European manufactured pre-charged equipment with hydrofluorocarbons in Article 16.2(c) within the phase-down quota system, thus creating inconsistencies in the law and severely undermining the international competitiveness of the European manufacturing industry for such equipment. It is key to “ensure a coherent and efficient legislative text that preserves the competitiveness of EU manufactured products sold outside the EU, while stimulating innovation towards efficient and sustainable products,” concluded Falcioni.

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