Use of Certified Reclaimed HFC Refrigerants and Advanced Refrigeration Systems
The American Carbon Registry (ACR), a nonprofit enterprise of Winrock International, has approved an Emission Reduction Measurement and Monitoring Methodology for the Use of Certified Reclaimed HFC Refrigerants and Advanced Refrigeration Systems. The Methodology was developed by EOS Climate with financial support from A-Gas Americas and Diversified Pure Chem.
The production of chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) refrigerants, which are Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS), is phased out under the Montreal Protocol, and the production of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), an interim substitute to CFCs, will be almost completely phased out in the United States by 2020 (90% below baseline by 2015).
According to the 2014 EPA Inventory for U.S. Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions and Sinks, industrial process emissions account for over 300 MMT CO2eq/year, over half of which is from the substitution of ODS with chemicals used as ODS alternatives such as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). HFCs are used as coolants in refrigeration and air conditioning (A/C) systems, as propellants in aerosol sprays and medical devices, and as insulation foam blowing agents. While HFCs are not ODS and therefore an acceptable substitute under the Montreal Protocol, they have high global warming potentials (GWPs) and contribute to GHG emissions.
The intent of the Methodology is to incentivize GHG emissions reductions through the use of certified reclaimed HFC refrigerants to displace the production and use of virgin HFC refrigerants, and through the use of advanced refrigeration systems in commercial refrigeration.
1) Use of Certified Reclaimed Hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) Refrigerants
Due in part to prohibitive costs associated with utilization of reclaimed HFC refrigerants, it is extremely uncommon for HFC refrigerants to be reclaimed and subsequently used. Typically, virgin (newly produced, never previously used) refrigerant is used to “charge” refrigeration and A/C systems and various types of equipment when they are manufactured and installed, and when the systems leak during normal operations. Re-using previously used HFC refrigerant that has been recovered from equipment, and reclaimed to virgin-grade purity, either to “recharge” existing systems that require servicing, or in newly manufactured equipment, displaces new production of virgin refrigerant that would otherwise be manufactured to meet that demand. This methodology has been created to incentivize the use of certified reclaimed HFC refrigerants which will displace the production and use of virgin HFC refrigerants thereby lowering carbon dioxide equivalent emissions.
2) Advanced Refrigeration Systems
The refrigerant industry has been moving to introduce advanced commercial refrigerant technologies for some time, yet the adoption of these technologies has been slow. Such systems include, among others, secondary loop or cascade refrigerant systems that may deploy refrigerants such as hydrocarbons, ammonia, carbon dioxide, and hydrofluoro-olefins as alternatives to HFC refrigerants that are commonly used. The Methodology includes a framework to incentivize the increased uptake of these available alternatives in commercial refrigeration.
The Methodology is based on a robust data set, including the United Nations Environment Programme Technical Options Committee for Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heat Pumps, the U.S. EPA Vintaging Model, the U.S. EPA GreenChill Partnership, the California Air Resources Board Offsets Protocol for Destruction of Ozone Depleting Substances, and the 2006 International Panel on Climate Change Guidelines for Greenhouse Gas Inventories.