EC calls for flammability standards review

The European Commission sees current flammable refrigerant standards as a barrier to low GWP alternatives and recommends that these should be urgently addressed.

The new Commission report is based on responses from 24 member states and is due to be published on January 1. It concludes that flammable refrigerant standards at international, European and national level appear to be a major barrier to the uptake of these climate friendly alternatives to HFCs. In particular, the European Commission report sees a need to maximise charge sizes without compromising safety as well as allowing a more general use of risk management approaches for all refrigerants. “To facilitate the achievement of the EU HFC phase-down and emission reductions in the EU and third countries as required by the Paris Agreement in the most cost-efficient way, these barriers should be addressed with urgency,” the report says.

The most relevant standards for refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pumps are EN 378, as well as the product standards IEC EN 60335-2-40 (for air-conditioning systems) and IEC EN 60335-2-89 (for integral and remote commercial refrigeration appliances). These take precedence over EN 378 but EN 378 has just recently been revised. Its parallel standard at the international level is ISO 5149. At international level, amendments to standards IEC 60335-2-40 and IEC 60335-2-89 are currently being discussed in the relevant IEC committees.

The report calls for European standards organisations to facilitate the update of relevant standards and encourages all stakeholders to contribute. It also asks all member states that have restrictive national codes, standards or legislation to consider a review in the light of technical developments that would allow the safe use of alternative refrigerants.