Where we use F-gases
F-gases are used in the manufacture of a great range of products and appliances that we rely on in our everyday life. They are used as refrigerants to keep food fresh and safely edible, in air conditioning units at home and in our cars, as foam blowing agents and as propellant gases. They are also increasingly popular in energy-efficient heat pump systems used to heat our homes and water.
Refrigeration and heat pumps are also widely used commercially in supermarket refrigerators and freezers, drinks chillers in bars and restaurants, to manufacture and transport of chilled and frozen goods, and in specialised applications such as industrial heating and for cooling large data centres, servers and electronics.
Medical grade F-gases are also used as propellants in metered dose inhalers (MDIs), delivering life-saving medicines to millions of patients with respiratory conditions including asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Why we use F-gases
F-gases are selected by equipment manufacturers because they are highly effective, energy efficient and non-toxic. “Natural” alternatives do not have the same balance of properties, limiting their application as they have their own challenges: hydrocarbons pose a risk of flammability, particularly when used in large quantities and in confined spaces; carbon dioxide is hazardous to human health, operates at high pressures and is less efficient at high ambient temperatures; ammonia is highly toxic, resulting in specific requirements for its use.
F-gases like HFC-32, HFOs and HCFOs and lower global warming potential (GWP) blends of HFCs/HFOs are becoming the refrigerants of choice in new energy efficient equipment for many Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) applications.
More specific benefits of F-gas refrigerants include:
- Wide use in heat pumps, a source of renewable energy and necessary to decarbonise heating.
- Excellent performance for the widespread adoption of Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC), which generates electrical energy from waste heat sources, geothermal, and hydrothermal reservoirs, and high temperature heat pump systems used for energy recovery from a wide range of waste heat sources, particularly in industry.
- Two types of HFCs (HFC-134a and HFC-227ea) are used across the globe as propellants for lifesaving metered dose inhaler (MDI) medical devices.
- Improved energy efficiency in refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment during the transition to low-GWP refrigerants will further increase the climate benefits of the HFC phasedown under the F-gas Regulation and the Kigali Amendment.
- Good balance of safety properties means they can be recycled locally, by refrigerant engineers and technicians, using readily available equipment for reuse, or sent to reclaim specialists to return them to a high specification.
- HFOs and HCFOs have ultra-low GWPs and negligible contribution to global warming. Trained engineers and technicians use their knowledge and expertise to handle HFCs, HFOs and HFCOs to prevent emissions, recycling and reuse. In the context of the EU’s Green Deal and decarbonisation goals, HFCs, HFOs and HFCOs are a key part of the solution.
HFCs, HFOs and HCFOs also play a crucial role in the context of the EU Green Deal and EU decarbonisation goals through their efficiency in use, good toxicological profiles, low- or non-flammability and energy efficiency.