Policymakers voice support for natural refrigerants at ATMO Ibérica

Policymakers at this week’s ATMO Ibérica presented new initiatives to foster the HFC phasedown in Spain and Portugal.

Monica Vidal of Spanish NGO ECODES addresses ATMO Ibérica.

Policymakers at this week’s ATMOsphere Ibérica conference in Madrid presented new initiatives to foster the HFC phasedown in Spain and Portugal.

Guillermo Martínez from the Spanish Environment Ministry (‘ Oficina Española de Cambio Climático’) presented one of these: the ‘Pima Frio’ plan establishing a €1.5m subsidy in Spain for installing refrigeration systems with zero or low-GWP refrigerants.

Martinez also provided an update on other measures supported by the Spanish government to accelerate the HFC phasedown and support the uptake of natural refrigerant-based equipment, namely the HFC tax and the ‘ Proyecto Clima’ initiative.

“This September of this year, we set a tax rate of €15 per tonne of CO2 equivalent,” Martinez told the audience at the second annual ATMOsphere Ibérica, organised by shecco, publisher of this website, on 18 September.

“The tax rate is determined based on the global warming potential (GWP) of the refrigerant. A reduced tax rate applies for recycled and regenerated HFCs (50% less compared to the original tax fee),” Martinez said.

Proyecto Clima , meanwhile, is an initiative administered by the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Environment and Food to fund projects that replace high-GWP refrigerants with low-GWP or natural refrigerants.

Martinez said Proyecto Clima cannot be used in conjunction with the Pima Frio subsidy, meaning that a company working with natural refrigerants cannot benefit from both programmes at the same time.

Governments have to work to eliminate the barriers that exist for the adoption of natural refrigerants.
– Monica Vidal, ECODES

European Commission seeks 'smooth transition' to HFC-free tech

The ATMOsphere Ibérica policy session welcomed representatives from the European Commission, the Spanish Environment Ministry, environmental NGO ECODES and the United Nations Industrial Development Programme (UNIDO), to discuss the challenges ahead for a smooth HFC phasedown in the Iberian peninsula (Spain and Portugal).

"The priority for the European Commission is to create a smooth transition to HFC-free technologies, with close monitoring of the phase-down, the update of safety standards, and the fight against the illegal trade of HFCs in Europe,” said Arno Kaschl from the European Commission.

“We are currently working on a system to automate the customs process (‘Single Window’)," Kaschl added, acknowledging illegal trade in HFCs is now a growing concern in Europe.

The ‘Single Window’ is an automated electronic system for commercial trade processing that would be used by customs to better monitor the market for refrigerant gases in the European Union.

Raising awareness of natural refrigerants

Monica Vidal of Spanish NGO ECODES ( Fundación Ecología y Desarrollo) pointed out during her presentation that “the old safety standards restrict the adoption of alternative and sustainable technologies, such as natural refrigerants. Governments have to work to eliminate the barriers that exist for the adoption of natural refrigerants – by introducing compulsory training on natural refrigerants, for example”.

Pedro Sallent from the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) closed the policy session, stressing the “need for a global change”. “Natural refrigerants are the greenest gases, with high energy efficiency and a growing number of applications. They are the best solution to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for the cooling industry,” he said.

By Marie Battesti

Sep 20, 2018, 10:55

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