F-Gas Regulation

Galletti incontra Associazione Meccanica

Pubblication date: 2014-12-17

publication date: 14.02.2014

System record booklet and equipment log

The regulations regarding coolants and environmental impact give the refrigeration technician the possibility of a more knowledgeable and informed approach to refrigeration systems when it is necessary to perform maintenance on them or to comply with provisions of law.

The innovations of the establishment of a system record booklet and equipment log constitute two valid instruments for facilitating repair work and detecting leaks from the cooling circuits.

Italian Presidential Decree no. 147/2006: System record booklet for the coolants CFC and HCFC

Italian Presidential Decree no. 147 of February 15, 2006 establishes the methods for checking and recovering leaks of substances that are damaging for the layer of stratospheric ozone from refrigeration equipment, air conditioners, and heat pumps. The coolants affected by this regulation are all the chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC). Therefore, all the refrigeration systems operating with the “old” coolants R12 and R502 and the “less old” coolant R22 are subject to the provisions contained in the decree.

Since January 1, 2010 it has been forbidden to use new HCFC coolants (such as R22, for example) for the maintenance and support of existing refrigeration equipment, air conditioners, and heat pumps. The subsequent expiration date established by the regulation is January 1, 2015, at which time it will be forbidden to use all CFCs. 
Domestically Italian Presidential Decree no. 146/2006 establishes a system record booklet as the instrument for recording all the inspection operations and problem situations regarding the gas contained in the cooling circuit. This means that any system charged with R12, R502, or R22 must be equipped with its own system record booklet in which are to be recorded its main features as well as all the inspection operations it has undergone over the years.

This booklet must be filled out by the refrigeration technician at the time of his periodic inspection and it must be kept by the system operator, that is, by the person who possesses or manages the refrigeration equipment. In the booklet must be noted the checks that are performed for checking for coolant leaks. These checks must obligatorily be performed each year or every six months respectively for systems with charges between 3 and 100 kg and for systems with charges of more than 100 kg. 
Italian Presidential Decree no. 43/2012 extends the obligation to fill out the system record booklet also for coolants that are hydrofluorocarbons (HFC). Systems with coolant charges of less than 3 kg are excluded from this provision. This documentation becomes a history of the system, because it gathers together all its operating problems in relation to gas leaks.

Therefore, the record booklet provides information regarding the type and amount of gas in the system, so that the maintenance provider has no doubts regarding the procedures for managing the gas and any information resulting from actions taken on the cooling circuit (regarding pressures, temperatures, etc.). Furthermore, for every periodic inspection performed this record booklet lists the existence of any leaks, their exact location on the cooling circuit, and what caused them (for example, loss of brazing between the filter and capillary tube on the liquid pipe caused by excessive vibration of the components).

How to use the information in the record booklet

Regulations require that the refrigeration maintenance provider, as the first act of his period inspection, check for the presence of leaks specifically in those points that in the past were found to be critical, as noted in the record booklet. If at the same point in the circuit the same problem occurs repeatedly over the years, and if this information is systematically noted in the record booklet, this provides a clear indication of a problem that absolutely must be resolved, as it identifies a weak point in that particular cooling circuit. This indication becomes clear even if in the past different maintenance providers performed the inspections: this means that the proper functioning of the system is no longer tied to the unique knowledge of a single maintenance provider who is the “custodian” of all the information necessary for its repair.

Italian Presidential Decree no. 43/2012: Equipment log for HFC systems

The main objective of Regulation (CE) no. 842/2006 of the European Parliament and the Council of May 17, 2006 on certain fluorinated greenhouse gases (hereinafter referred to as F-Gas Regulation) is the reduction of emissions of fluorinated greenhouse gases stipulated by the Kyoto Protocol. 
The F-Gas Regulation concerns the containment, use, recovery, and destruction of certain fluorinated greenhouse gases, the labeling and disposal of products and equipment containing such gases, the transmission of information on these gases, the control of their use, the prohibitions regarding the placing on the market of certain products and equipment, as well as the training and certification of the personnel and the companies specialized in the activities specified by the Regulation. 
On April 20, 2012 Italian Presidential Decree no. 93 of January 27, 2012 containing the implementation of the above-mentioned F-Gas Regulation was published in issue no. 93 of the Official Gazette.

Italian Presidential Decree no. 43/2012, which went into effect on may 5, 2012, establishes in article 16 that by May 31 of every year (beginning in 2013) the operators of stationary refrigeration systems, air conditioners, and heat pumps, as well as stationary fire protection systems containing 3 kg or more of fluorinated greenhouse gases must submit a declaration containing information regarding the amount of atmospheric emissions for the previous year on the basis of the information contained in the system log.

Fluorinated gases included in the declaration

The F-Gas Regulation concerns equipment containing the fluorinated gases listed in Annex I to the F-Gas Regulation as well as the preparations (commonly called mixtures) containing such gases in the cooling circuits. The mixtures could also contain CFCs or HCFCs or Halon gases. Generally the mixtures specified by the F-Gas Regulation satisfy the following requirements: 
at least one of the components is a substance included in Annex I to the Regulation.
The total GWP of the mixture is not less than 150.

The GWP of a substance expresses the measurement of the global warming potential of that substance, and it is calculated as a ratio of heating potential over 100 years of 1 kg of the substance in question (present in the atmosphere) in comparison to 1 kg of CO2.

Equipment subject to the declaration

For the purposes of the declaration, the equipment and systems to be taken into consideration are stationary (that is, they do not move during their operation) and belong to the following types: 
refrigeration (that is, cooling of storage spaces or products below room temperature; also industrial heat exchangers are included);
air conditioning (cooling and/or controlling the air temperature in closed spaces, maintaining it at a specific level);
heat pumps (remove energy from the environment or from a waste heat source to provide useful heat; typically these are hermetically sealed units);
fire protection systems (installed in relation to a specific risk of fire in a defined space);
Furthermore, each unit or system belonging to one of the types listed above must contain a circulating charge of 3 kg or more of fluorinated greenhouse gases.

F-Gas Regulation obligations

It should be noted that the online system has been activated for filling out and submitting the declaration containing the information specified by article 16, paragraph 1 of Italian Presidential Decree no. 43/2012. The people who perform one or more of the following activities on stationary refrigeration equipment, air conditioners, or heat pumps that contain fluorinated greenhouse gases must enroll in the electronic register (http://193.206.192.119/dichiarazione/login.php) and promptly update it in the case of the following actions:

  • check for leaks from the units containing at least 3 kg of fluorinated greenhouse gases and from the units containing at least 6 kg of fluorinated greenhouse gases equipped with hermetically sealed systems that are labeled as such;
  • recovery of fluorinated greenhouse gases;
  • installation;
  • maintenance or repair.

The declaration must be made by May 31, 2013

 

Sources:
• Institute for Environmental Protection and Research
• Association of Refrigeration Experts

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