White House announces suite of private sector commitments to HFC reductions
October 20, 2015
On October 15, 2015, the White House announced a suite of new private-sector commitments and executive actions that will reduce the use and emissions of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). The White House also recognized the progress that has been made against the private-sector commitments and executive actions that were announced in September 2014 to address HFCs.
A release from the White House Office of the Press Secretary notes that, a series of actions have been taken in the past year that will cut consumption of HFCs by the equivalent of more than 100 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) through 2025. The private-sector commitments and executive actions announced are expected to slash U.S. reliance on HFCs and reduce cumulative global consumption of these greenhouse gases by the equivalent of more than 1 billion metric tons of CO2 through 2025.
This past July, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a rule under the Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program that will prohibit the use of certain HFCs where safer and more climate-friendly alternatives are available. Simultaneously, EPA also listed as acceptable additional climate-friendly alternatives in order to expand the options for businesses to use chemicals that are less harmful to the environment. On October 15, 2015, the EPA went further, announcing its intention to initiate a new rulemaking during the first half of 2016 that would both propose to add to the SNAP list additional low-GWP alternatives and propose to change the status of higher-GWP substances where safer options are available.
The announcements were in advance of the Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol in Dubai, which is taking place November 1 to 5.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE): announced the publication of a report that summarizes the results of the DOE-funded testing program to evaluate the performance of alternatives to HFCs in mini-split air conditioning units in high ambient temperatures. The testing program, which was conducted at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), was launched in response to concerns about whether alternatives to HFCs can perform well in high ambient temperatures. The results show that several viable replacements exist for both HCFC-22 and HFC-410A in those environments for mini-split air conditioning units. The report can be found at: http://web.ornl.gov/sci/buildings/research/equipment/.
Honeywell: announced that its Solstice line of low-GWP products is anticipated to reduce greenhouse gas emissions globally by 475 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2025. This represents a 36 per cent increase from its September 2014 projections. In addition, the company committed that, to the extent possible, it will use feedstock HCFC-22 from producers that strictly control and, to the extent feasible, eliminate by-product emissions of HFC-23 at their production facilities worldwide.
Daikin Industries Ltd.: announced its commitment to strictly control and, to the extent feasible, eliminate by-product emissions of HFC-23 at its fluorochemical production facilities worldwide. Daikin’s plant in Decatur, Alabama, was the first plant in the U.S. that committed to the destruction of HFC-23 when it started operations in 1994. The company also announced that it is offering companies worldwide free access to 93 patents in order to encourage the development and commercialization of comfort cooling and heating technologies that use R-32.
Danfoss: announced its multi-million dollar investment in a state-of-the-art application development and testing centre in North America that will help to facilitate the transition to low-GWP refrigerants. Air conditioning and refrigeration manufacturers would have additional capacity to test new equipment using low-GWP refrigerants for performance and safety. Expected to come online in 2016, the centre will accommodate equipment sizes up to 150 tons of refrigeration.
Hillphoenix: announced that it will launch a CO2 booster system in Q4 2015 that is intended for stores with a smaller footprint. The company has completed its second commercial installation of an ammonia/CO2 cascade system for use in supermarket applications. Based on its successful installation of two CO2 ice rinks in Anchorage, AK, Hillphoenix is planning for the future introduction of this CO2 booster system technology, contingent on EPA approval of CO2 as a refrigerant in ice rink applications.
Chemours (formally DuPont Performance Chemicals): announced that its Opteon family of low-GWP products is anticipated to reduce greenhouse gas emissions globally by 300 million tons of CO2 equivalent by 2025. This represents more than a 20 per cent increase from its September 2014 projections. In addition, the company agreed to control and, to the extent feasible, eliminate by-product emissions of HFC-23 at all its fluorochemical production facilities worldwide. It also agreed to use in the U.S. only feedstock HCFC-22 from producers that control and, to the extent feasible, eliminate by-product emissions of HFC-23 at their production facilities in North America.
Ingersoll Rand: announced that it will reduce its refrigerant-related emissions from products by 50 per cent and emissions from its operations by 35 per cent by 2020. It will also invest $500 million on research and development for long-term emissions reductions. The Trane high-performance chiller portfolio with low-GWP refrigerant alternatives will be available in the U.S. by the end of 2018, with commercial availability dependent on receiving SNAP approval for new refrigerants.
Johnson Controls, Inc.: announced that it will expand the availability of high-efficiency, low-GWP refrigerant options in its commercial air conditioning and industrial refrigeration product portfolio; offer new equipment that can be readily retrofitted with high-efficiency, low-GWP options; and develop aftermarket retrofit services to address the installed base of HFC equipment. The company is also pledging up to $100,000 to accelerate and fund independent, third-party, peer-reviewed research to help develop practical and fact-based safety standards related to the use of these refrigerants. In addition, it is making a commitment to support and participate in the development and standardization of service technician and operator training for the safe use of these refrigerants.
The Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI): announced that it has formed a committee of experts to identify and prioritize research projects needed to fill critical knowledge gaps for the safe use of mildly-flammable refrigerants. It will commit $1 million to this research effort to support code and standard activities related to the use of such refrigerants.
Other announcements were made by: The Alliance for Responsible Atmospheric Policy; Demilec; Dow Chemical; Thermo Fisher Scientific; Fomo Products and NCFI Polyurethanes. Retailers Roundy’s Supermarkets, Inc. and Target also made commitments.
To see the full fact sheet, with progress updates from manufacturers, industry associations and government, click: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/10/15/fact-sheet-obama-administration-and-private-sector-leaders-announce