In Italy, commercial refrigeration using so-called F-gases is responsible for more than 54% of CO2 emissions deriving from production processes, together with air conditioning systems and fire protection systems.
The European Union has, among others, the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2030 and is monitoring progress towards this long-term goal through a robust system of transparency and accountability of member States.
Already in 2015, the Paris Agreement provided for keeping the global average temperature rise to well below 2°C compared to pre-industrial levels and to continue efforts to limit it to 1.5°C, and the subsequent Kigali Amendment, in force since 2019, are requiring industrial production to abandon HFCs with high environmental impact in favor of natural refrigerants.
Refrigeration gases in Italy and Europe
In 2019, in Italy, fluorinated gases constituted 4.4% of greenhouse gases, with a significant increase in HFCs since 1990 (which now amounts to over 2,500 tons per year), generating 16.8 million tons of CO2 equivalent (MCO2eqT), and still constantly increasing.
(source ISPRA, National inventory of greenhouse gases 1990-2019, April 2021)
ISPRA thus quantified the contribution required from the industrial processes and F-gas sector to be 6 MCO2eqT to align with the net zero emissions targets by 2050.
In fact, in the rest of Europe, greenhouse emissions from HFCs have been gradually decreasing for several years, but in Italy they increase exponentially due to the consumption of HFCs with very high greenhouse potential, mainly linked to the maintenance of dated plants present in many commercial establishments and which disperse in the environment between 12 and 15% in operating losses.
The Assocold proposal in the Senate
With this in mind, Assocold – builders of cold technologies, the association representing the world of Italian commercial refrigeration, has developed and presented in the Senate a proposal called “Ecological Transition in Commercial Refrigeration” with the aim of counteracting the climatic effects of HFCs refrigerants used in this sector, reducing their consumption directly at the source, in a simple, immediate and controlled way, to generate positive effects in the economic, social and employment fields.
“Our association has always cared about the issues of energy efficiency, safety and environmental protection. In addition to promoting greater awareness on the use of natural gas, we ask institutions to encourage the replacement of old commercial refrigeration systems, mainly used in supermarkets and organized distribution. In this regard, we thank Senator Patty L’Abbate, first signatory of the bill ‘Provisions on ecological transition to combat the increase in fluorinated greenhouse gases from commercial refrigeration’ aimed at promoting the green transition in the sector “.
The President of Assocold, Francesco Mastrapasqua
Fans for refrigeration with HC
As we have already seen in this article, the industry has also started to move in favor of natural hydrocarbonrefrigerants (HC), which however are flammable under normal environmental conditions, so much so that the European Union has regulated their life cycle with extreme attention, from design to disposal.
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