Under the F-Gas regulations, January marked the start of a sharp phase-down in the amount of HFC refrigerant that will be available to the European Union market: a reduction to 63 percent of the 2015 baseline figure. This is a steep reduction from the 93 percent availability in 2017, and the refrigeration industry is feeling the effects. The latter half of 2017 saw, for example, the price of R404A increase by 700 percent. R404A, with a global-warming potential (GWP) of 3,922 tonnes equivalent carbon dioxide (CO2eq), is not alone in seeing these exceptional price increases. It is one of a group of gases — those with a GWP greater than 2,500 — that will be banned from use in stationary refrigeration equipment after 2020 (except in equipment designed to cool below -58°F [-50°C]). This list includes R507, R422A, R422D, R434A and R428A.
The rising prices are not, however, restricted to these gases. R134a, with a GWP of 1,430, also has seen increases in the region of 400 percent. This is a similar situation for many other commonly used refrigerants, including R407C and R410A.