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THEMATIC MEETING ON IMPLEMENTATION OF HCFC PHASE-OUT MANAGEMENT PLANS

Balkan countries and Turkey striving for ozone layer & climate protection


Zadar/Zagreb, 24 September 2013
- The Balkan countries and Turkey are doing well in terms of Montreal Protocol implementation. According to the reported consumption data for 2012, all of them comply with the phase-out schedules for ozone-depleting substances (ODS) and have import / export licensing systems in place to monitor & control ODS trade. They are optimistic to meet the freeze of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC) consumption at the baseline level in 2013.

As part of the activities of UNEP’s Regional Ozone Network for Europe & Central Asia (ECA network), the Ozone Officers and refrigeration experts of these countries met in Zadar / Zagreb, Croatia, 24-26 September 2013 to enhance the implementation of the respective HCFC phase-out strategies through the sharing of practical experiences from introducing policy measures, legislation, standards and from promoting ozone- & climate-friendly technologies.

Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are widely used as replacements of ODSs but they are potent greenhouse gases contributing to climate change. Country representatives suggested exploring the possibility of a joint statement of the 12 ECA network and 7 associated countries with economies in transition (CEIT countries) to support the establishment of an open-ended contact group which would consider a possible amendment of the Montreal Protocol to control the production and consumption of HFCs and in particular the situation of CEIT countries. If agreed by all, the statement would be read out at the forthcoming Meeting of the Parties in Bangkok, Thailand.

Despite the successful implementation of the HCFC phase-out strategies so far, some countries are facing specific challenges, for example how to introduce equipment labeling and logbooks to record and reduce refrigerant emissions. It was agreed to include this topic on the agenda of the next ECA network meeting to respond to questions such as who is responsible for the logbook keeping and labeling of equipment, how to identify equipment and its location (serial numbers or bar codes), how to print and distribute the equipment labels, how to monitor mandatory inspections and leakage checking and what is the role of the National Ozone Units (NOUs) in this procedure.

Several countries (non-low-volume-ODS-consuming countries) were not eligible for Multilateral Fund funding for disposal & destruction projects. However, these countries increasingly accumulate waste for destruction from the operation of the recovery and recycling centers. Leaking refrigerant blends add to the problem since they change their chemical composition in case of leakage. It was agreed to consult experts of the Refrigeration Technical Options Committee (RTOC) whether it could be economically feasible to re-condition such blends to their initial specifications.

The use of ozone- & climate-friendly HCFC alternatives such ammonia, hydrocarbons or carbon dioxide requires specific skills of the service technicians and appropriate safety precautions to minimize the risks resulting from flammability, toxicity and high pressure. However, most countries do not require any specific training of technicians on the safe use of these refrigerants and neither does the European Union regulation on fluorinated greenhouse gases (F-gases). And the introduction of such requirements would normally not be within the responsibility of the NOUs.

Some provisions of international standards such as EN 378 on safety and environmental requirements for refrigeration systems and heat pumps might be reflected in national fire protection legislation, while other important provisions are not mandatory. Such regulatory gaps should be identified. For example the installation of safety devices, refrigerant detectors and alarm systems in machinery rooms and public areas should be made mandatory.

The Carrier Croatia representative attended the meeting and presented their R134a/CO2 and CO2/CO2 cascade systems. He also arranged a site visit of a supermarket in Zadar with a newly installed R134a/CO2 system. The display cabinets were equipped with insolating glass doors and LED lighting as well of CO2 detectors and alarm system in case of leakage although the latter were not mandatory. As an indicative figure, such cascade system might initially costs 5-10% more than traditional HFC systems with an expected pay-back time of approximately 6 years.

The last meeting day was dedicated to a series of site visits including the refrigerator collection center CIOS in Jankomir which recovers refrigerants from the cooling circuits and insulation foam. The waste refrigerants are transported to CIAK company in Zabok for temporary storage and export for destruction in Germany. The shredded aluminium, copper and plastic is re-used as raw material. The foam is compressed into pellets which are used as fuel in cement kilns.

The CIAK company in Zabok collects, sorts and temporally stores about 6-7 thousand metric tons of hazardous (95%) and non-hazardous (5%) waste annually which is then send for recycling or destruction. During the last 2 years, about 22 tons of R11, R12 and refrigerant mixtures have been collected including the quantities received from CIOS in Jankomir.

The Croatian halon bank in Varazdin collects and stores halons either for sale to other halon banks or for critical uses in the military sector. So far, it collected 25 metric tons of halons of which 12 metric tons were sold to halon banks in other countries.

The 3-day meeting was jointly organized by the Croatian Ministry of Environmental and Nature Protection and UNEP DTIE’s OzonAction Programme in cooperation with the partner agency UNIDO.

Contacts:

Ms. Snjezana Ilicic, National Ozone Officer (Senior Expert Advisor), Ministry of Environmental and Nature Protection of Croatia, Email: snjezana.ilicic@mzoip.hr

Ms. Martina Vidakovic, National Ozone Unit, Ministry of Environmental and Nature Protection of Croatia, Email: martina.vidakovic@mzoip.hr

Mr. Halvart Koepen, Coordinator of ECA network, UNDP DTIE OzonAction, Email: halvart.koppen@unep.org