J’accuse: what you need to know about fluorinated greenhouse gases
Fluorinated gases provide energy for:
- Refrigeration systems;
- air conditioning systems;
- heat pumps.
This should be enough to help you understand why we want to talk about it: F-Gases are among the key players responsible for global warming. It’s no coincidence that we often use the term fluorinated greenhouse gases.
This might look like one of those scientific terms you can’t easily pronounce, much less understand, but it actually refers to some of the basic elements that we use every single day, with or without knowing it.
F-Gases: the list of the accused
In 1997 the Kyoto Protocol decreed that all industrialized countries must drastically reduce the emission of certain substances. The charge: being highly pollutant
In the defendant’s dock we find carbon dioxide (CO2) and five other greenhouse gases: methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N20), the hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride. The last three on this list are anthropogenic F-Gases, meaning they are man-made and not found in nature.
Let’s take a closer a look.
Article 2 of European Regulation n.517/2014 confirms that fluorinated gases include perfluorocarbons, hydrofluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride. But accusations extend to all gases and mixtures that contain fluorine or a blend of the listed substances.
If you’re anything like us, you’ve probably wondered why everyone’s ganging up on F-Gases. Well, their actions weaken the stratospheric ozone layer, which filters out aggressive solar radiation. And here lies the heart of the problem.
Measures to fight greenhouse gases
Over time, a number of institutions have taken measures to counter the greenhouse effect derived from harmful gas emissions: before the Kyoto protocol we had the Montreal Protocol (1987), which established the terms within which the signatories had to contain the production and consumption of substances that are harmful for stratospheric ozone. These include halon, carbon tetrachloride, chlorofluorocarbons, hydrochlorofluorocarbons, trichloroethane, methyl chloroform, methyl bromide, and bromochloromethane.
The F-Gas Directive
The F-Gas Directive led to EU Regulation n. 517/2014 on the use of fluorinated greenhouse gases, for which a special database was created.
The legislation obligates all operators in the sector to declare the sale of F-Gases and the equipment containing them. The same applies to all related activities of assistance, maintenance, installation, repair and disposal.
Equipment under indictment include:
- stationary refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump systems;
- high-voltage switching devices;
- equipment containing solvents;
- stationary fire protection systems and extinguishers
Who’s the number one culprit? Now you’re starting to get the picture.
The use of alternative gases as the primary solution
“The choices we make today determine our lives tomorrow”
We carry this thought with us every day, like a song we can’t get out of our heads. We couldn’t help think about it at the end of this reflection on greenhouse gases.
Now that we know that fluorinated gases have an enormous impact on the greenhouse effect, we’ve got serious qualms about using them in our plants.
We’re convinced that every single company can still make a difference, in spite of the undeniable pressure that the market exerts on our business.
The use of natural gases such as propane, for example, is a valid and viable alternative. Now, because it is a hydrocarbon, we have to assess all the characteristics linked to its inflammable nature in order to raise the level of security in our plants to necessary levels.
R290 has a GWP (Global Warming Potential) much lower than any of the F-Gases. This is why we at Euroklimat are investing our time and resources to develop refrigerators and heat pumps with this natural gas.
The alternatives are out there, and there’s nothing stopping us from choosing one that fits.
Think about it. It’s all up to us.
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