California ARB Passes Resolution Prohibiting R-404A, R-407C, R-410A, & R-507 by 2022

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In an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) unanimously passed a resolution restricting widely used hydrofluorocarbons refrigerants (HFCs).[1] The new laws will change requirements for new and existing cold storages, retail facilities, and air conditioning units. For a detailed review of the amendments, see the December 10, 2020 presentation.  Here is a summary of the changes which affect industrial and retail facilities:

  • By 2022, all new refrigeration facilities must use refrigerants with a global warming potential (GWP) lower than 150. Refer to CARB’s list of refrigerant GWP values. This excludes widely used refrigerants such as R-404A, R-407C, R-410A, and R-507. The only refrigerants currently listed under 150 are:
    • R-717 (NH3/ammonia)
    • R-1234ze(E)
    • R-1224yd(Z)
    • R-744 (CO2/carbon dioxide)
    • R-1234zd(E)
    • R-514A
    • R-290 (propane)
    • R-600a (isobutane)
    • R-170
    • R-601
    • R-161
    • R-123
    • R-225ca
    • R-152a
  • If an existing facility is going to install a new system, the GWPs thresholds are less stringent:
    • Industrial refrigeration facilities[2] must use refrigerants with a GWP under 1,500-2,200. (While this range may allow R-407C and R-410A, it would still prohibit refrigerants such as R-404A [GWP 3,900] and R-507 [GWP 3,985].)
    • Ice rinks must refrigerants with a GWP under 750.
    • Cold storages[3] must use refrigerants with a GWP under 1,500.
  • While retail stores with less than 20 locations are exempt, large retail chains must reduce their refrigerant GWPs by 2030.

[1] https://ww2.arb.ca.gov/news/california-introduces-groundbreaking-program-reduce-climate-super-pollutants

[2] According to the proposed resolution, “Industrial Process Refrigeration” means to cool process streams at a specific location in manufacturing and other forms of industrial processes and applications, and are complex, customized systems that are directly linked to the industrial process. Where one appliance is used for both industrial process refrigeration and other applications, it will be considered an industrial process refrigeration system if 50 percent or more of its operating capacity is used for industrial process refrigeration. Industrial process refrigeration or cooling using a chiller is regulated as a chiller. Industrial process refrigeration not using a chiller is regulated as industrial process refrigeration equipment.

[3] According the proposed resolution, “Cold Storage” means a refrigerated facility or warehouse used for the storage of temperature-controlled substances. For the purposes of this regulation, cold storage is regulated as “refrigeration equipment (new), containing more than 50 pounds refrigerant” in section 95374(c).

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