How GMI can help with F GAS regulation compliance

What are the F Gas regulations?

The F Gas regulations were brought into effect on the 4th of July 2007 and are EU regulations that apply to the whole of the EU. The purpose of these regulations is to reduce the amount of HFC (hydrofluorocarbons) gas leaks, that is used widely in the refrigerant and HVAC industry. HFCs were introduced as replacement for CFC and HCFC gases, that were largely blamed for the destruction of the ozone layer in the 1990s. Unfortunately HFC gasses, whilst kinder to the ozone layer, they are strong greenhouse gases and therefore their use is being monitored and release to atmosphere is limited.

These regulations require the following measures, amongst others, to be undertaken. All systems containing HFC gases must be monitored for leaks on the following schedule:

CHARGE OF GAS REQUIRED MONITORING PERIOD
3 – 30 Kg Annually
30 – 300 Kg Six Monthly
Over 300 Kg Continuously*

* The regulations are a little confusing as they require all systems in excess of 300 Kg to have a leak detection system fitted and additionally three monthly monitoring.

The fitment of a HFC leak detection system to all new 300 Kg systems is mandatory and all existing cooling systems must, by law, be retrofitted by 2010. It is currently estimated that 95% of the existing systems fitted prior to 2006 do not currently comply with these regulations.

A full copy of the F gas regulations can be obtained from the DEFRA web site at www.defra.gov.uk titled EC Regulation No 842/2006 on certain Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases. There is an additional guide of frequently asked questions, that is also very useful.

How can GMI help?

GMI have several methods of detecting leaks in refrigerant systems using many of the different gases including HFC. Other gases that can be detected include Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Ammonia (NH3), Hydrocarbons and several mixtures of these gases. These systems are described below and any one of them should be suitable for possible leak detection needs.

  1. Single point HFC monitors. These Low cost monitors are suitable for small compressor rooms or inside enclosed systems.
  2. Multi-point systems. These systems are fitted with individual sensors and are used where more monitoring points than a simple single point is required. These systems can also be used where different gases are used in the same facility or CO2 is being used as a heat transfer medium. These systems are well proven, simple to use, and can be easily adapted in future as the future needs change
  3. Small sample system. These systems often referred to as “sniffer” systems are widely used throughout the industry and are particularly well suited for HFC detection as they pull samples to a central unit. Within this unit, the sample is analysed and a very accurate read-out of the gas concentration is obtained. These units can be used for only one gas at a time and are dependent on the sensor fitted, however, sensors are available for all refrigerant gases. These small systems are suitable for up to 8 monitoring points.
  4. Large sample system. These large “sniffer” systems are the most cost-effective solution for systems up to 48 points and above. These large systems can monitor up to four different gases simultaneously. They also include data recording facilities to enable accurate record keeping as required by some parts of the F Gas regulations. These systems are routinely used in breweries, food plants, shipping, I.T. server rooms, plus many other applications.

GMI are uniquely able to engineer one of the system types above to provide a customised solution for any application should one of the standard packages above not meet your system requirements. By using a mixture of sensing technologies, GMI will be able to provide a cost-effective solution which meets all of the clients needs.

Timescales

These regulations came into force in July 2007 and should be fully implemented now. All existing 300 Kg systems must be retrofitted with a leak detection system by July 2010.

The regulatory authorities are starting to inspect, warn and will ultimately prosecute companies that fail to implement these regulations so the time to act is NOW!

What can you do?

Obtain a copy of the regulations and the frequently asked question document from DEFRA. Contact GMI for free help and assistance about the leak detection system required.

Contact GMI on 0141 812 3211. In doing so, you will be talking to a company who…

  • Has over 60 years knowledge and has experienced all of the new legislation over this period of time.
  • Are uniquely placed to assist you with expert advice on how to meet your requirements.
  • Can give you advice on all aspects of your gas detection needs.
  • Can offer you turnkey solutions from sensor placement, equipment supply, installation and commissioning of a fixed gas detection system.