The Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities outlines the legislative timeline for the phase out of R22.
R22, also known as HCFC-22, has been commonly used in heat pump, air conditioning and refrigeration systems in Australia since the 1990s.
The release of R22, including those from leaks, contribute to the depletion of the earth’s ozone layer.
As a result, Australia has a legislated phase out of all HCFCs in line with its obligations under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, which is recognised as the world’s most successful international environmental agreement.
Australia will largely phase out the import of HCFCs from 2016, apart from the equivalent of around 45 tonnes of R22 a year.
This amount will be permitted until 2029 to service equipment, after which servicing of remaining R22-based systems will rely solely on recycled or reclaimed refrigerant.
It is a misconception among some in the industry that the equivalent carbon price impacts on both the availability and price of R22.
The equivalent carbon price only applies to HFC-based refrigerants, which are also synthetic greenhouse gases.
It does not apply to R22, which is an HCFC.
Industry is already well advanced in transitioning away from R22 as the national bank of this refrigerant reduces.
There are a range of ready alternative refrigerants available, including natural refrigerants and hydrofluorocarbons.
When substituting R22 with an alternative refrigerant, technicians must check the relevant state or territory legislation to ensure the use of the alternative gas is permitted.
Equipment intended for conversion to a substitute refrigerant must be re-certified as compliant to the relevant standard by the approval issuer such as an electrical safety regulator or a third-party certifier.
Any individual who handles a fluorocarbon refrigerant (HCFC, HFC or CFC), or works on refrigeration and air conditioning (RAC) equipment that contains a fluorocarbon refrigerant, must hold a refrigerant handling licence.
An individual or business that acquires, stores or disposes of a fluorocarbon refrigerant must hold a current Refrigerant Trading Authorisation.
Any individual (including a repairer or dismantler) who removes fluorocarbon refrigerant such as HCFCs and HFCs from any refrigeration or air conditioning system, must hold at a minimum a Restricted Refrigerant Recoverer Licence.
Licences can be obtained from the Australian Refrigeration Council at www.arctick.org
For more information go to the fact sheet at http://www.environment.gov.au/atmosphere/ozone/publications/fs-r22-phaseout.html