26 august 2022
AKOGAS: The new F-GAS and how AKOGAS can help
Yep, F-Gas again…
In this 2022, due to the entry of new bans related to the schedule of the current F-Gas, we did already talk about the well-known European directive 517/2014 (F-Gas) [AKOGAS: A Tool to Survive the F-GAS Regulation and Not Die Trying]. We reviewed what the F-Gas is, how it is deployed, how is it legally enforced and its corresponding schedule.
Yet, we must talk about it, again. Indeed, March and April were months when, first by a leakage, and then officially (on 5th April, 2022), a proposal showing the amended (extended) future F-Gas was published by the European Commission.
The new proposal for the F-Gas is set to repeal Regulation (EU) No 517/2014 (current F-Gas) and its motivations are to achieve additional F-gas emission reductions, align with Protocol (after Kigali amendment) and with the European New Green Deal, facilitate enforcement, and improve monitoring (reporting) and clarity. This new proposal is born after an evaluation of the current regulation, a stakeholder’s consultation and workshop (where AKO participated) and an impact assessment.
The new text is now for joint consideration by the European Parliament and the European Council and, normally, it will be accepted and will entry in force during end 2022 or beginning 2023.
The new F-Gas at a glance…
In a close look and in summary, the new F-Gas brings additional bans (ANNEX IV) concerning new equipment with refrigerants with GWP beyond 150 (which will no longer be accepted beyond 2025) and additional restrictions in HVAC systems, banning even in small HVAC systems (residential) the use of HFCs (GWP<150).
Most importantly, the new F-Gas will accelerate, intensify and extend the HFC phase-down (ANNEX VII), making almost impossible to run systems with HFC beyond 2030, as only a 5% of the 2015 HFC usage level (176 700 479 CO2 equivalent tons) will be available. 2024 will also see an aggressive jump from the expected 31% of quota (since current regulation 517/2014) to a 24% of 2015 HFC usage level (since new F-Gas). See Fig.1.
Figure 1: New Phase-Down.
These new quotas will definitely incur in high inflation for HFC refrigerants and will represent a challenge for HFC systems running from 2024 onwards, as the cost and risks related to refrigerant leaks will be very high.
The only way to keep those systems alive will consist in detecting and repairing average and even small leaks very quickly, allowing to lose minimal HFC refrigerant amounts. And how can AKO support refrigeration stakeholders to do so?
AKOGAS, a tool for dealing with the F-Gas regulation
AKO Group has spent more than five years developing and perfecting a solution designed for contractors/installers, to help their clients minimise increasingly dangerous refrigerant gas leaks. The AKOGAS system, IoT connected, achieves highly-accurate information on leaks, thanks to three absolutely necessary technological pillars:
- Early detection, at very low ppm, by means of accurate and selective NDIR (Non-dispersive infrared) detection technology, capable of detecting micro-leakage of up to 1 gram per hour (1 g/h) at a concentration of less than 10 ppm. Such micro-leakage (which is difficult to detect) represents most of the refrigerant which is leaked annually and that goes undetected by conventional detection systems. See Figure 2a.
- Connectivity, either
- Through communication buses and gateways to the cloud (see Figure 2b) or,
- Through cellular modems inside the sensors, making the system easy-to-install and accelerating its implementation up to threefold.
- The cloud: which performs the necessary calculations to instantly notify when there are leaks in the system, specifying their location and how serious they might be. See Figures 3 and 4.
Figure 2: (a) Detector/transmitter HFC AKO-575400 with embedded NDIR technology.
(b) Gateway for gas detection/concentration reading to the detection system on the cloud akonet.cloud.
This highly accurate leakage information (location, time, and gravity: WWW: Where, When, hoW bad?) enables the installer, in turn, to locate and repair the leak in a very short time, minimising the number of call-outs (as there are no false alarms) and maximising the efficiency of time spent on site.
AKOGAS can reduce up to 90% of systems’ leaks (90% of the amount of refrigerant leaked). It consequently becomes the best tool to face the tough F-Gas regulation bans on HFC systems, which still constitute the majority of the already installed systems in Europe.
Figure 3: R-448A Detection System on the cloud (akonet.cloud). In this specific system, refrigerant detectors/transmitters are connected to the cloud by means of the Gateway EDGE (see Figure 2b).
Figure 4: Detector/transmitter cloud view. The detector is placed in the freezing cold room so-called P030. A leak is detected at 62 ppm on Friday 14thJanuary. The leak is treated and progressively repaired during the following 2 weeks. The most probable moment for leak detection is between 14h and 16h, as shown in the concentration histogram.
For more information about the patented method to estimate the leak intensity and about the geolocation of the leak in industrial and commercial refrigeration systems, please download the scientific article “A smart early detection system for gas leaks in refrigeration applications” published in Refrigeration Science and Technology, 2019, pp. 1903–1911, 14.