As part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is increasing the options for refrigerants used in various kinds of refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment in the United States that offer better climate protection without harming the ozone layer. This final action addresses refrigerants under the Climate Action Plan that 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 final rule expands 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. The approved substitutes have GWPs that range from 3 to 675 and can replace older compounds with GWPs between 1400 to 4000. Included in that list is the approval of ethane for very low temperature refrigeration and in non-mechanical heat transfer. EPA is also exempting the substance from the Clean Air Act venting prohibition.