Fact sheet: Industrial greenhouse gases: HFCs, PFCs and SF6
HFCs are used or have been used as refrigerants and for expanding plastic foam. PFCs are refrigerants, and SF6 has primarily been used for sound insulation in windows.
The use of HFCs, PFCs and SF6 is regulated in:
- Statutory Order on regulations for certain industrial greenhouse gases
- Regulation on certain fluorinated greenhouse gases
Danish regulations governing fluorinated greenhouse gases
From 1 January 2006 to 1 January 2011 there is a general ban on the use, import or sale of fluorinated greenhouse gases (HFCs, PFCs and SF6).
However, a gradual phase out has been put in place for some applications. For example, there has been a ban on the use of HFCs in gap-filler foam, district heating pipes, spray cans and car tyres since 1 September 2002. After 1 January 2007, greenhouse gases may no longer be used in refrigeration and air conditioning systems, heat pumps and dehumidifiers, etc., requiring more than 10 kg of refrigerant.
Exemptions from the Danish regulations
- high voltage systems above 1 KV
- vaccine coolers
- mobile systems
See all exemptions (in Danish).
Products for export are not covered by the ban. Refrigerators and other products containing HFCs may be produced in Denmark if they are exported. It is also permitted to import HFCs for use in products to be exported.
Exemptions from the Danish regulations
It is generally possible to be granted an exemption if:
- No alternatives exist
- The alternatives cannot be used
- There are unreasonable costs associated with using the alternatives
- Use of the alternatives would lead to greater greenhouse gas emissions
Effective from 1 January 2007, exemptions must be obtained in order to use greenhouse gases in new refrigeration and air conditioning systems, heat pumps and dehumidifiers, etc., requiring more than 10 kg of refrigerant.
The Environmental Protection Agency has written a guide for anyone who wishes to apply for exemption from the regulations.
EU regulations governing certain fluorinated greenhouse gases
The European Union has adopted a Regulation governing industrial greenhouse gases. The EU regulations apply to new and existing systems.
The most important EU regulations are:
Operators must perform regular inspections
Operators are required to ensure that a number of systems are checked for leaks by authorised personnel according to the following schedule:
- Systems using between 3 and 30 kg must be inspected every 12 months
- Systems using between 30 and 300 kg must be inspected every 6 months
- Systems using more than 300 kg must be inspected every 3 months
Enterprises must establish a detection system
For systems using more than 300 kg, enterprises must implement a system that will notify the operator if industrial greenhouse gases begin to leak out. Detection systems must be inspected at least every 12 months. If an enterprise implements a detection system that functions satisfactorily for systems using more than 30 kg, the inspection frequency may be halved for these systems.
Operators must maintain a log book
Operators must maintain a log book for all systems using more than 3 kg. The log book must record the volume and type of greenhouse gas being used, and maintenance and service work on the system.
Only authorised personnel may perform reclamation
Operators who reclaim greenhouse gases on certain systems require authorisation. All Member States must introduce minimum education and authorisation requirements according to the following schedule:
- 4 July 2007 – minimum requirements and conditions must be available for mutual recognition
- 4 July 2008 – Member States must introduce the requirements into national legislation
- 4 July 2009 – industrial greenhouse gases may only be supplied by authorised personnel
Enterprises that produce, import or export more than 1 tonne of HFCs must report certain information to the Commission every year. The first report must be filed no later than 31 March 2008. The European Commission has not yet determined the format of the report or the receiving authority.
Products and systems must be labelled
Certain products and systems using fluorinated greenhouse gases may only be marketed if they are labelled. The final labelling requirements have not yet been determined.
Some fluorinated greenhouse gases may not be used
The Regulation will limit the use of certain greenhouse gases (SF6) to particular applications.
Transition period – strictest regulations apply
The Regulation (EU regulation) permits Member States to retain special national regulations that was in place before 2005. Enterprises are therefore required to comply with both the Danish Statutory Order and the Regulation. If the Regulation and the Statutory Order regulate the same area, the strictest regulation will always apply.
Producers, importers, distributors and users are responsible
Anyone who produces, uses, imports or sells fluorinated greenhouse gases or systems containing HFC, PFC or SF6 greenhouse gases is responsible for ensuring compliance with the regulations.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s chemical inspectors monitor compliance with the regulations and will ensure that illegal situations are brought into compliance. This may involve withdrawing the product from the Danish market, or making the product legal in some other way. Anyone who breaches the regulations may additionally face a fine or prison sentence of up to two years.
HFCs, PFCs and SF6 are greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change
Fluorinated greenhouse gases are undesirable in the environment because they contribute to climate change. Together with carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, they are known to contribute to global warming, because the gases retain heat radiated from the surface of the earth in the atmosphere.
The gases are covered by the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement to reduce the emissions of these gases into the atmosphere. The EU countries, together with Japan and other nations have made a commitment to reduce total greenhouse gas emissions by eight per cent compared to 1990 levels by 2012. Denmark has its own national objective of reducing the gas emissions by 21 per cent in the same period.
Industrial greenhouse gases are also covered by the Danish Act concerning taxes on certain ozone layer depleting substances and industrial greenhouse gases, administered by SKAT (the Danish tax authorities).
The tax act levies a green tax on the import of fluorinated greenhouse gases, to be paid to the Danish Government. The tax on industrial greenhouse gases is differentiated – the gases with the greatest impact on climate are subject to the highest tax level.
The Danish Working Environment Authority also has regulations for the working environment which must be complied with.
The full text of the Statutory Order is available at the Retsinfo (legal information) website:
Statutory Order no. 552 of 2 July 2002 (in Danish)
The Regulation is available at the EUR-lex website:
Regulation (EC) No 842/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 May 2006 on certain fluorinated greenhouse gases
The SKAT Statutory Order on taxes is available (in Danish) on the Retsinfo website:
Statutory Order concerning taxes on certain ozone layer depleting substances and greenhouse gases
Read more about the regulations of the Danish Working Environment Authority at: www.at.dk
Guide to applying for an exemption (in Danish)
List of exemptions issued (in Danish)
Refrigerants FAQ (in Danish)
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