Honeywell says it plans to exit the sale of R404A and R507 refrigerants in the European Union in 2018. One of the worlds main refrigerant producers, Honeywell explained that it was taking this action “in anticipation of the expected scarcity of high GWP products due to the F-gas regulation phase-down schedule”. Prices of R404A and R507 from all manufacturers and suppliers have risen dramatically this year in anticipation of the 37% cut in CO2e required next year under the European F-gas regulations.
With quotas based on CO2 equivalents, no manufacturer wants to continue selling high GWP gases like R404A. The phase out of high GWP refrigerants is seen as essential if refrigerant shortages are to be avoided next year. Groups such as EPEE have previously warned that this would require the retrofitting of at least 50% of current R404A systems. Reports suggest that Europe is currently far short of that target and, worse, new equipment using R404A is still being manufactured, imported and installed in large numbers.
R404A, with its GWP of 3922, is the most widely used gas in Europe in stationary refrigeration systems, commonly used in low temperature commercial systems such as those used in supermarkets. R507 has a GWP of 3985 and, although less common, is also used in low and medium temperature refrigeration. The BRA PURR report highlighted this issue over 18 months ago, and a revision of the report is currently under way to take into account market developments.