Natural refrigerants only – No further harming of humans and nature.
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To switch the whole refrigeration industry to natural refrigerants only, like propane, water and air, to stop the pollution of the environment with harmful substances and to stop harming of the human health.
Therefore: Additional to the ongoing F-Gas regulation (Nr. 517/2014), we demand a ban of all chemical refrigerants in new installations starting from 2022 (including low temperature applications < -50 °C) and additionally to the service ban for refrigerants with a GWP>2500 in 2030, a service ban for all chemical refrigerants in 2040.
Heat energy moves on its own from warm to cold. Cooling something below ambient temperature always needs a complex process. In most cases these processes require a working fluid: the refrigerant. At the beginning of refrigeration technology in the 1840s, refrigeration systems mainly consisted of solvents and natural refrigerants (e. g air and water). These refrigerants are very cost effective, due to the availability on the market and have no negative impact on the environment.
Operation of refrigeration systems in the mid 1800s and beginning of 1900s required advanced technology to operate safety. At those times, this was challenging with natural refrigerants. In the 1930s, refrigerants mainly shifted from natural refrigerants to chlorinated (and fluorinated) chemical refrigerants for local safety and durability reasons. The first generation of chemical refrigerants had a very high ozone depletion potential (ODP) and were the main cause of destroying the ozone layer (e.g. R11, R12) as it was later discovered.
By then, they were already extensively used for half a decade. With the Montreal protocol in 1987 they were globally phased-out in 1996 and in 2010 for industrialized (A2 countries according to the Montreal Protocol) and developing (A5) countries, respectively. The following years, new chemical refrigerants with high global warming potential (GWP) were introduced that are now known to contribute to the global warming. Even to this very day, there are still refrigerants in use which have an extremely high GWP. For example, the refrigerant R23 has a GWP of nearly 14,800. That means 1 kg of R23 has the same global warming potential than approximatelz 15 tonnes of CO2. This is the same amount of CO2 which a car would have emitted after driving 2 times around the globe.
These refrigerants are now phased out in Europe since 2016 due to the EU F-Gas regulation and will be phased out globally due to the Kigali amendment to the Montreal protocol later. Even though a reliable and very safe technology for natural refrigerants is available nowadays, there are even more complex new chemical refrigerants introduced, the HFO refrigerants.
These refrigerants have a lower GWP because of their short lifetime in the atmosphere. The main degradation product of theses refrigerants is TFA which is a highly persistent short-chain per-fluorinated carbolic acid compound. As a consequence, it is accumulating in the environment and adds new ways of human exposure. Measurements already show a widespread exposure to TFA in China. Especially surface waters, ice and precipitation show already an alarming raise of concentrations which is proven by many, independent measurements around the globe as it can be seen in our HFO-Report. (https://www.refolution.de/hfo-report With the current treatment methods TFA cannot be removed from our drinking water. The effects of these accumulations in the environment and the human health are not exactly known, but scientist and environmental agencies advocate a phase-out of HFOs.
History has already proven several times that emitting chemicals or substances in large quantities into the environment without knowing their exact impacts can result in global threats that prevail over generations and require regulations to avoid further damage. It is no question that sooner or later negative effects or an environmental disaster will happen; it is only a question of when it will happen. Before bringing tones of chemicals into the environment, it needs to be proven that they are harmless to human and the environment, especially regarding chemicals with high persistence such as TFA. Therefore, phasing out HFOs (and consequently TFA), or emission reduction strategies along with best practice measures that help ensure efficient capturing of HFO/TFA during recycling operations, will help reducing the risk to human and environmental health.
To say it with the words of the former president of the German federal environment agency (dt.: Umweltbundesamt) Maria Krautzberger: “TFA cannot be removed [from drinking water] with the usual treatment methods, so further [use] must be avoided at all costs.”.
Furthermore, due to the current HFC-phase out and the resulting drastic price increases of chemical refrigerants (up to factor 30 end of 2019 in 3 months), the EU is flooded with illegal chemical refrigerants. This is a growing business for the organized crime and very hard to control by our officials that have more important tasks. By allowing natural refrigerants only for new refrigeration systems, this criminal action would stop immediately.
Go natural refrigerants only! #gonatrefs
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