Measures Announced to Reduce Global HFC-23 Emissions

Date: 26 October 2021
Measures Announced to Reduce Global HFC-23 Emissions

The Kigali Amendment required that from 2020, HFC-23 is to be destroyed to the extent practicable using technology approved under the Montreal Protocol. The Ozone Secretariat to the Montreal Protocol, in 2020, explained its interpretation of this requirement may apply to either “destruction” (i.e., destroy to the extent practicable), or to the “use of the technology” (i.e., using approved technology to the extent practicable), which effectively means that there is a reporting requirement for those Parties that generate HFC-23 [1]. The F-gas Regulation required from 2015, that HFC-23, produced as a by-product, during the manufacturing process for HFCs and HFOs placed on the EU market, is destroyed or recovered for subsequent use, in line with best available techniques.

The U.S. EPA has now finalised its HFC phase-down rule, which also requires all plants to capture and destroy HFC-23 starting October 2022, using EPA-approved destruction technologies. HFC-23 can also be captured for some niche uses. A related proposal sets out more specific requirements for HFC-23 destruction from HCFC production plants.

China, which has ratified the Kigali Amendment, has reported that in 2018, 99.8% of the HFC-23 generated at all HCFC-22 production plants, including the integrated facilities, had been incinerated or collected, stored and sold, and 0.22 per cent had been vented [2] This is a correction to the data in an earlier report [3] that stated 49% of reported HFC-23 by-product production was abated (incinerated) in 2018. China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment has now issued a Circular on Controlling the Emissions of HFC-23 By-products [4], which sets out additional requirements for emission abatement and data reporting for companies that generate HFC-23 by-product from production of HCFCs and HFCs.

Even though China reported that it destroyed 99.8% of HFC-23 generated in 2018, according to a 2020 paper [5] global HFC-23 emissions derived from atmospheric measurements were historically at their highest level in 2018, in contrast to the forecast emissions of HFC-23 by-product, primarily from reported HCFC-22 production, that were expected to be much lower.

The EFCTC July 2021 Newsletter clearly explained why there is No Credible Link Between Elevated Atmospheric HFC-23 Levels and Uptake of HFO-1234ze.

References

[1] UNEP/OzL.Pro/ExCom/85/63 Key aspects related to HFC-23 by-product control technologies

[2] September 2021 TEAP Decision XXXI/1 Replenishment Task Force Report page 54 available at Technology and Economic Assessment Panel (TEAP) | Ozone Secretariat (unep.org)

[3] May 2020 TEAP Decision XXXI/1 Replenishment Task Force Report page 45 Technology and Economic Assessment Panel (TEAP) | Ozone Secretariat (unep.org)

[4] Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development (IGSD) China Takes Steps to Address HFC-23 Emissions in Advance of International Ozone Day - IGSD

[5] K. M. Stanley, D. Say, J. Mühle, C. M. Harth, P. B. Krummel, D. Young, S. J. O’Doherty, P. K. Salameh, P. G. Simmonds, R. F. Weiss, R. G. Prinn, P. J. Fraser, M. Rigby, Increase in global emissions of HFC-23 despite near-total expected reductions, Nature Communications, 11, Article number: 397 (2020), https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-13899-4

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