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EPA Releases Proposed Timeline for HFC Status Changes

Earlier this year I reported the EPA’s intention to move on the delisting of certain hydroflourocarbons (HFCs) and HFC blends this summer. That process is now officially underway. On July 9, the EPA released the prepublication version of a Notice of Public Rule (NOPR) detailing proposed changes in listing status, tentatively scheduled to take effect as early as January 1, 2016.

The proposed rule is part of the Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program, which evaluates and revises acceptable alternatives to ozone-depleting substances (ODS) on an ongoing basis. A 60-day comment period for industry stakeholders begins once this NOPR is published in the Federal Register.

Key points in the rule include bans on R-404A and R-507A for new and retrofitted retail food refrigeration, including direct and indirect supermarket systems and walk-in cooler/freezer condensing units. It also proposes bans on R-404A, R-507A and HFC-134a in new, stand-alone refrigeration units and vending machines. Other blends to be delisted as unacceptable for direct and indirect supermarket systems include: HFC-227ea, R-407B, R-421B, R-422A, R-422C, R-422D, R-428A and R-434A.

These changes are intended to drive the market to refrigerants with lower global warming potential (GWP). In the near term, the industry will move toward already-tested, available alternatives, such as R-407A, carbon dioxide (CO2) or R-290, depending on the application. The proposed rulemaking will also accelerate the exploration of emerging alternatives, such as R-448A, R-449A, R-450A and XP10, etc.

Emerson Climate has been actively participating in meetings and discussions with the EPA and industry organizations and will continue to do so throughout the commenting process. It is essential that the move to low-GWP refrigerants continues to progress. But it is also important the rulemaking strikes a balance that accounts for the infrastructure changes and resources necessary to support the transition in an effective, commercially viable manner.

We will continue to work proactively on alternatives to make sure you have access to the products and services you’ll need to remain compliant with SNAP. In many cases viable substitutes are already approved and ready for application. We continue to work on developments that will not only meet this NOPR, but keep you compliant with foreseeable future rulings.

We welcome and encourage your participation and feedback throughout the commenting period. We’ll cover the proposed changes and discuss their implications in more detail in our Making Sense webinar on August 26. Click here to register.

For specific details of the proposed changes, review the Rule and Fact Sheet published by the EPA. Check back here for further updates as new information becomes available. We believe the final rule can be expected sometime in late November or early December.

Rajan Rajendran, Ph.D
Vice President, System Innovation Center and Sustainability
Emerson Climate Technologies

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