There is no need to reverse an aggressive phase down of HFCs during the decarbonization of heating systems and adoption of home heat pumps across the EU, as some trade bodies are calling for, according to a new report by ATMOsphere (formerly shecco), publisher of Hydrocarbons21.com.
That’s because multiple European companies already have efficient and climate-aligned domestic heat pumps on the market running with natural refrigerants, notably hydrocarbons like propane (R290); these companies are ready to scale up production in response to decarbonization policy measures, the report says. In May, the European Commission (EC) introduced the REPowerEU Plan, which will accelerate the rollout of heat pumps in Europe.
The ATMOsphere report, “Accelerating the EU’s Shift Towards Natural Refrigerant Domestic Heat Pumps,” looked at the European-based heat pump industry, with specific focus on domestic systems running with natural refrigerants.
It was undertaken by ATMOsphere with the support of the European Climate Foundation, the European Environmental Bureau and the Environmental Coalition on Standards.
Heat pumps for domestic space and/or water heating that operate with R290 are today part of the portfolio of many European companies such as, Alpha Innotec, Auer, Ecoforest, Heliotherm, IDM, HKS Lazar, Nibe, Viessman, Vaillant, Vesstherm and Wolf.
In addition, heat pumps with ammonia (R717) or CO2 can provide higher capacities for district heating applications that serve many residences.
ATMOsphere presented the key findings of the study in a webinar on June 27, showcasing commitments from industry representatives to support the decarbonization of European heating systems with an ever-greater number of future-proof natural refrigerant-based heat pumps.
Trade bodies refuted
The ATMOsphere report refutes the position taken by trade bodies that the EC’s proposed acceleration of the f-gas phase down will hamper efforts to widely install heat pumps. For instance, the European Partnership for Energy and the Environment (EPEE) released a position paper claiming that the specific bans in the F-gas Regulation proposal pertaining to heat pumps “would be detrimental to the REPowerEU objectives and should be removed.”
In addition, the European Commission has stated that HFC bans are introduced only where available alternatives are present, and the proposed phase down is considered to have sufficient buffer to allow for the high growth of heat pumps in the coming years.
The EC explains its “stress-testing” exercise in its Impact Assessment accompanying the released proposal, under the heading “Impact of faster role out of heat pumps as envisaged by REPowerEU.”
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