Industrial green house gases
The refrigerants - HFC, PFC and SF6 - are all greenhouse gases and undesirable in the environment. The fluorinated greenhouse gases are problematic in the environment because they contribute to climate change.
Together with carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous gas, they are known to contribute to global warming, as they are able to retain heat radiating back from the surface of the Earth into the atmosphere. The three industrial greenhouse gases represent only a small proportion of the total greenhouse gases.
HFC is or has been used as a refrigerant and for blowing foamed plastics. PFC is a refrigerant, while SF6 has primarily been used for noise-insulation purposes in windows.
Regulations and interpretations
The substances are covered by the Kyoto Protocol, which is an international agreement to reduce substance emissions into the atmosphere. Together with Japan and others, the EU countries have undertaken to reduce total emissions of greenhouse gases by 8% compared with the 1990 level by 2012.
Denmark has its own national objective to reduce total emissions of the substances by 21% during the same period. To achieve these goals, both national and international regulations have been introduced concerning the use of the three greenhouse gases.
Read more about these regulations here:
Statutory Order No. 552 of 2 July 2002 (Danish original)
Statutory Order no. 552 of 2 July 2002 (English Pdf)
For a briefer version of the regulations, see:
Fact Sheet: Industrial greenhouse gases (in Danish)
Fact Sheet: Substances that deplete the ozone layer (in Danish)
The Danish Statutory Order has given rise to a series of interpretations and questions. See our Q&A:
Q&A: refrigerants (Danish)
Q&A: refrigerants (English)
How to choose the most environmentally friendly refrigeration system (Pdf in Danish)
The Danish Statutory Order provides for the possibility of exemptions from the regulations being issued in exceptional cases. You can generally obtain an exemption if you meet one of the following criteria:
- There are no alternatives
- The alternatives cannot be used
- Using the alternatives would cause unreasonable costs to be incurred
- Using the alternatives would result in higher emissions of greenhouse gases
- Other particularly good reasons
The Danish Environmental Protection Agency has prepared a guidance document. A list has also been prepared of the typical exemptions that have been granted as well as those that have been rejected.
Guidance concerning exemption applications
List of exemptions (in Danish)
REACH also applies to refrigerants. REACH helpdesk (in Danish)
Centre for HFC-free Refrigeration
The Danish Environmental Protection Agency has established a Centre for HFC-free Refrigeration as part of the initiative to reduce the use of HFC for refrigeration purposes. The aim of the centre is to spread awareness of HFC-free refrigeration systems and refrigeration equipment available on the Danish market, and to advise the industry to some extent. www.hfc-fri.dk
The Danish refrigeration industry's environmental scheme (KMO)
In 1992, the voluntary industry scheme, KMO, was set up by the then Danish refrigerant importers and Autoriserede Kølefirmaers Brancheforening (the industry association of authorised refrigeration companies) with the aim of obtaining better control over the use of CFC refrigerants and CFC-based compressor oil by enterprises and industry.
Dansk Ammoniakfabrik A/S, Tempcold A/S, Ahlsell Køl A/S, H. Jessen Jürgensen A/S and Refnet are now members of the scheme, which also covers the handling of the refrigerant types HFC and HCFC. The scheme has its own website which provides useful information, including consumption statistics.