Under the Montreal Protocol on protecting the ozone layer, the European Union has adopted a new Regulation (EU) No 517/2014 (F-GAS regulation) to control emissions from fluorinated greenhouse gases (f-gases) and reduce EU’s F-gas emissions by two-thirds by 2030 compared with 2014 levels. F-gases subject this new regulation contain three groups: hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6). Most of these F-Gases have a high global warming potential (GWP).
They are contained or functioning in several types of products and equipment, including refrigeration, air-conditioning and heat pumps equipment (of these three types called pre-charged equipment), fire protection system, electrical switchgear, foams, aerosols, solvents and f-gas containers.
While the F-GAS regulation repeals the original Regulation (EC) No 842/2006 performed in 2006 and come into force from 1 January 2015. The 10 implementing Regulations adopted under the original Regulation remain in force and one of them regarding reporting is repealed recently by the Commission pursuant to the new F-GAS regulation.
The Commission has prepared guidance documents outlining the new obligations for the various stages of the whole lifecycle – from the production to the end of life – of f-gases, as well as FAQ document for users and technicians reporting on F-gases under the new regulation. Consequently, various actors are affected by the F-GAS regulation with specific requirements and obligations.
Main Obligations under the New F-gas Regulation
A. Quota Allocation for Companies
Who is affected?
The Commission shall allocate quotas for placing hydrofluorocarbons on the market for each producer and importer for each year beginning with the year 2015. In the quota allocation process, a distinction is made between two types of companies:
Incumbents are companies that have reported, in compliance with Regulation (EC) No 842/2006, having placed more than 1 metric tonne of HFCs on the Union market in at least one year in the period 2009 to 2012.
b) New Entrants
New Entrants are those companies that have not reported according to Regulation (EC) No 842/2006 in the period 2009-2012.
What is the quota allocation?
Quotas shall only be allocated to producers or importers which are established within the Union, or which have mandated an only representative established within the Union for the purpose of compliance with the requirements of this Regulation. The quotas are only allocated in tonnes CO2 equivalent.
a) For incumbents, they may thus be allocated a quota on the basis of a reference value as well as by declaring additional anticipated quantities in accordance with Article 16(1), (4) and (5), and Annexes V and VI of the Regulation.
b) While for new entrants, the quotas may be allocated to these entities on the basis of a pro rata distribution taking into account the declared needs (refer to Annex VI of F-GAS Regulation). Declaration of need and allocation of quota is repeated on a yearly basis.
How to use the quota?
a) Transfer of Quota
According to Article 18 (1), the incumbents may transfer in the registry referred to in Article 17(1) that quota for all or any quantities to another producer or importer in the Union or to another producer or importer which is represented in the Union by an only representative.
b) Authorisation of Quota
Incumbents or to whom a quota has been transferred may authorise another undertaking to use its quota for the purpose of Article 14. As to the new entrants may only authorise another undertaking to use its quota for the purpose of Article 14 provided that the corresponding quantities of HFCs are physically supplied by the authorising producer or importer.
Exempt from Quota Allocation
- Producers or importers of less than 100 t CO2e of HFCs per year.
- Quota allocation also not applies to the following categories of HFCs:
(a) HFCs imported into the Union for destruction;
(b) HFCs used or supplied as feedstock;
(c) HFCs supplied directly for export out of the Union in bulk;
(d) HFCs used in military equipment;
(e) HFCs used in semiconductor manufacturing sector;
(f) From 1 January 2018 onwards, HFCs supplied for producing metered dose inhalers.
Registration in the Registry shall be compulsory for:
a) importers of equipment containing HFCs and
b) all entities supplying or receiving exempted gases
c) all companies who will have to report on F-gas related activities according to Article 19, such as imports of gases or pre-charged equipment, EU production and export of gases, stocks, destruction and others.
C. Reporting Obligations on Fluorinated Gases
Who is affected?
Article 19 of the F-GAS regulation requires that production, import, including gases in equipment, export of bulk gases, feedstock use and destruction of the substances listed in Annex I or II in the regulation are reported annually by 31 March 2015 and every year thereafter.
|≥ 1t/y or ≥ 100 tCO2e
||Annex I or Annex II
||≥ 1t/y or ≥ 1000 tCO2e
||Annex I or Annex II
||Used as feedstock
||≥ 1000 tCO2e
|Products or equipment undertakings
||Placing on the market
||≥ 500 tCO2e
||Containing f-gases in Annex I or Annex II
a) Undertakings received quotas from transferring are expected to report by 31 March 2016;
b) Pre-charged equipment undertakings are required to report by 31 March 2018.
What has to be reported?
Information which needs to be reported for each F-gas substance includes:
- the total quantity of each substance produced, imported or exported and identifying the main categories of application in which the substance is used
- specifying quantities placed on the market for exempted uses
- the quantities of each substance recycled, reclaimed and destroyed
- stocks held at the beginning and the end of the reporting period
- any authorization to use quota
The format of the report is set out in the Annex of Implementing Regulation (EU) No 1191/2014.
The report must be submitted to the Commission and the authority of the Member State concerned by the Registry, annually by 31 March covering the previous calendar year.
D. Products or Equipment Subject to Labeling
The placing on the market of the following products and equipment is prohibited unless they are marked with a label which complies with the requirements in Article 11.
||Containing or functioning on
|Refrigeration products and equipment
|Air conditioning products and equipment
|Fire protection systems and fire extinguishers
||HFCs, PFCs, SF6
|f-gas based solvents
||HFCs, PFCs, SF6
|organic Rankine cycles
Note: Refrigeration and air conditioning products and equipment are except those in motor vehicles.
Requirements of the Label
To ensure visible and available to installation and servicing technicians, the label shall fulfill the following information:
- Position of the label: Adjacent to service ports or on that part for charging or recovering the f-gases
- Form of the label: clearly legible, suitable font size and remain securely
- Information on the label: A reference that the products or equipment contains f-gases or that its functioning relies upon such gases; Accepted industry designation for f-gases concerned or the chemical name; The quantity expressed in weight and in CO2 equivalent, and the GWP of those gases; Note the hermetically sealed equipment, or the tested leakage rate of less than 0.1%.
- Language of the label: in the official languages of the Member State
Products or equipment subject to an exemption shall be labeled accordingly and indicating it may only be used for the purpose.
E. Products and Equipment Subject to Prohibition
The placing on the market of products and equipment listed in Annex III shall be prohibited from the date specified in that Annex under F-GAS regulation. The following provides the prohibitions compared to the origin regulaiton:
|Domestic refrigerators and freezers||
|Refrigerators and freezers for commercial use (hermetically sealed equipment)
|Stationary refrigeration equipment (except designed -50°C)||
|Multipack centralised refrigeration systems for commercial use (≥40 kW)||
|Movable room air-conditioning equipment||HFCs
|Single split air-conditioning systems (<3kg f-gases)||
HFCs, PFCs, SF6
With an exceptionally indicated in Article 11(3), the undertakings may access to be authorized an exemption for up to four years to allow the placing on the market of these prohibitions.
? Adoption of the Only Representative and user account management
? Provide F-GAS regulation compliance strategies
? Submit registration and quota declaration in the Registry
? Prepare verification report and Reporting in the Registry
? Deal with the F-GAS team with specific information
? Make labels with required languages
? Communicate and negotiate with quota holder for authorisation