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EPA proposes to replace and reduce certain HFCs; impact on mobile AC

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to prohibit the use of certain hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and HFC-containing blends that significantly contribute to climate change where safer, more climate-friendly alternatives exist. This is the agency’s second action aimed at reducing emissions of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). The following are the proposed changes in listing status:

  • For motor vehicle air conditioning systems in newly manufactured, light-duty vehicles, HFC-134a will be unacceptable starting with model year (MY) 2021. The refrigerant blends SP34E, R-426A (also known as RS-24), R-416A (also known as HCFC Blend Beta or FRIGC FR12), R-406A, R-414A (also known as HCFC Blend Xi or GHG-X4), R-414B (also known as HCFC Blend Omicron), HCFC Blend Delta (also known as Free Zone), Freeze 12, GHG-X5, and HCFC Blend Lambda (also known as GHG-HP) as unacceptable starting with MY 2017.

  • For aerosol propellants, HFC-125 would be unacceptable; HFC-134a would be acceptable, subject to use conditions, allowing its use only in specific types of technical and medical aerosols (e.g. metered dose inhalers) (and prohibiting its use in consumer aerosols); and HFC-227ea would be acceptable, subject to use conditions, allowing its use only in metered dose inhalers.

  • For new and retrofit retail food refrigeration (including stand-alone equipment, condensing units, direct supermarket systems, and indirect supermarket systems) and for new and retrofit vending machines, as of 1 January 2016 the HFC blends R-507A and R-404A would be unacceptable.

  • For new and retrofit retail food refrigeration (including direct supermarket systems and indirect supermarket systems), HFC-227ea, R-407B, R-421B, R-422A, R-422C, R-422D, R-428A, and R-434A are unacceptable.

  • For new, stand-alone retail food refrigeration and new vending machines, HFC-134a and certain other HFC refrigerant blends are unacceptable.

  • For all foam blowing end-uses, as of 1 January 2017, except where allowed under a narrowed use limit, HFC-134a and blends thereof are unacceptable; HFC-143a, HFC-245fa and HFC-365mfc and blends thereof, and the HFC blends Formacel B, and Formacel Z-6 are unacceptable in all foam blowing end-uses where they are currently listed as acceptable, except for spray foam applications; and the HFC blend Formacel TI are unacceptable in all foam blowing end-uses where it is currently listed as acceptable.

This rule also proposes to list as unacceptable certain hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) being phased out under the Montreal Protocol where substitutes are available that pose overall lower risk to human health and/or the environment.

The proposal complements an earlier action EPA proposed to expand the list of climate-friendly alternatives for refrigeration and air conditioning under its Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) Program Program.


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