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Certified Reclaimed HFC Refrigerants

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The American Carbon Registry (ACR), a nonprofit enterprise of Winrock International, has approved an update to its Methodology for the Quantification, Monitoring, Reporting and Verification of Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions and Removals from Certified Reclaimed HFC Refrigerants. The methodology was updated with one significant change: The separation of the advanced refrigeration systems project type to make the certified, reclaimed HFC and advanced refrigeration systems stand-alone methodologies.  

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.

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.

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 incentive the use of certified reclaimed HFC refrigerants which will displace the production and use of virgin HFC refrigerants thereby lowering carbon dioxide equivalent emissions.

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2. GHG emission reductions from industrial processes
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