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Beginning of the End for HFCs in Europe

Fire Suppression Market Well Prepared with Alternatives

On March 12, the European Parliament voted to support a European Commission proposal to cut the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) 79% below average 2009-2012 levels by 2030. The European Council is expected to approve the law on April 14. The provisions of the law begin in 2015. Because HFCs sold into fire suppression have some of the highest global warming potentials (GWPs) relative to other sectors, these HFCs will likely be more severely impacted than HFCs sold into other sectors.

Agent

GWP (100 year ITH)

HFC-23

14800

HFC-125

3500

HFC-227ea

3220

Impacts of the EU Regulation on the Fire Suppression Market

1. HFC-227ea, HFC-125, and HFC-236fa are targeted in the overall scope of the regulation under the HFC phase-down.

2. HFC-23 (FE-13™) will be prohibited from being placed on the market after January 1, 2016.

3. 3M™ Novec™ 1230 Fire Protection Fluid is not impacted by this regulation.

Under the HFC cap and phase-down, HFC-producers will be allocated a production/import quota for HFCs and will have difficult decisions to make. Because the quota will be in CO₂ equivalent and HFCs sold into the fire suppression market have some of the highest GWPs, this framework does not favor HFCs sold into fire suppression. For example, an HFC producer would consume the same percentage of a quota by making either one ton of HFC-227ea, three tons of HFC-245fa, or five tons of HFC-32. This dynamic will put a substantial amount of uncertainty on the future supply and cost of HFCs sold into fire suppression. Because the fire suppression market already has cost-effective substitutes available, the transition away from HFCs may be more seamless than for other sectors.

The EU F-Gas regulation and other regional initiatives are unfolding under the backdrop of the United Nations continuing to find common ground for implementation of a global phase-down in production of HFCs. Again‚ the UN and the EU Commission have recognized that these policies are possible in sectors such as fire suppression where alternatives are readily available.

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