In support of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to increase the options for refrigerants in the United States that offer better climate protection without harming the ozone layer.
This is the agency’s first action that addresses refrigerants under the Climate Action Plan, which calls on EPA’s Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) Program to identify and approve additional climate-friendly chemicals.
Under the authority of the Clean Air Act, EPA’s SNAP Program evaluates substitute chemicals and technologies that are safe for the ozone layer. This proposed action would extend the list of SNAP-approved substitutes to include more low-global warming potential (GWP) alternatives that can replace both the ozone-depleting substances and high-GWP hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).
EPA administrator Gina McCarthy said: “Last June, President Obama introduced a broad set of initial steps designed to slow the effects of climate change, including reducing potent greenhouse gases. This proposal is a great example of how businesses and EPA can foster innovation by working together to identify refrigerants that better protect our environment.”
Following input from industry, environmental groups and others, the EPA is proposing to list additional low GWP hydrocarbon refrigerants in six refrigeration and air conditioning applications: stand-alone commercial and household refrigerators and freezers; very low temperature refrigeration; non-mechanical heat transfer; vending machines; and room air conditioning units.
In addition, the proposal adds one lower-GWP HFC (HFC-32) that has just one-third the GWP of the conventional refrigerants currently being used in room air conditioning units. These refrigerants are already in use in many of these applications in Europe and Asia.
As well as adding these climate friendly alternatives, EPA is also revising the current venting prohibition to account for four of these substitutes, as current evidence suggests that their venting, release, or disposal does not pose a threat to the environment.