At an HVAC&R show in Piacenza, Italy last week (20-22 February), Italian NGO Legambiente asked the European Commission what it is doing to tackle illegal trade in HFCs and to describe how it is monitoring work being done by CEN/CENELEC, a European standards body, on A3 refrigerant standards.
“IT tools should be put in force immediately and should be a priority of the system,” said Legambiente’s Davide Sabbadin, arguing that this “would really make a difference”. “Just checking quotas hasn’t prevented abuse on the European market,” he added.
The European Commission explained during a presentation in Piacenza that it was currently working on an IT system to monitor illegal trade of HFCs during customs checks. “The Commission is not taking this lightly,” said Niccolò Costantini, who works in the f-gas unit of DG Clima. “It is a priority for the Commission. That’s what supports the […] outcome [of] this whole legislation.”
“Does the Commission have any observer in the standardisation proceedings? Because they are working on a lot on A2L, not A3, refrigerants.”Davide Sabbadin, Legambiente
Costantini responded to Legiambiente by insisting that companies that illegally import HFCs would be caught – “we have the means to do it”.
The Commission also addressed a standardisation request to CEN/CENELEC.
“We’re aware of the big investment that is done in A2Ls. However, we don’t want it to be at the expense of natural refrigerants, for example hydrocarbons,” Costantini said. “This standardisation mandate should not produce standards but technical specifications that should complement standards.”
Sabbidin voiced doubts as to whether CEN/CENELEC was also working on A3 flammable refrigerants, or hydrocarbons, and not just A2L/HFOs. He had heard rumours it was not.
”Does the Commission have any observer in the standardisation proceedings? Because they are working on a lot on A2L, not A3, refrigerants,” he asked.
Costantini assured Legiambiente that a working group was addressing A3s and said, “don’t always trust rumours”.
“The mandate is very clear for those classified as A3. There was a meeting of the CEN/CENELEC working group. I was there and I made it very clear that A3s are important for us,” he added.
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