Global warming at the hands of fluorocarbon refrigerants has been a cause for concern for some time, but Japan is now said to be following the lead of other countries in terms of dealing with the environmental impact of this group of products.

Japan is said to be following the lead of Europe, and the UK and Germany, in particular, where the F-Gas Regulation of 2013 has driven change.

The country has launched Revised Law Concerning the Recovery and Destruction of Fluorocarbons, which has tightened the regulations of fluorocarbons. With this, a move is gradually taking shape for a transfer to natural refrigerants such as R717 (ammonia), R744 (CO2) and HC (hydrocarbon), says The Gas Review (TGR).

Prior to this revision of the law, the provisions of the law concerning the recovery and destruction of fluorocarbons were limited to exactly that – the recovery and destruction of fluorocarbons. The revised law, however, was issued with ‘a comprehensive measure focused on the entire life cycle ranging from production to disposal of fluorocarbons’. It came into effect in June 2013 and is geared towards promoting the use of natural coolants and refrigerant materials with a lower global warming potential (GWP).

Since then, and taking the revised law as its cue, November 2013 saw the Japan Environmental Technology Promotion Organisation (JETPO) set up a third party organisation named the Non-Chlorofluorocarbon Natural Coolant Promotion Association. The promotion and proliferation of natural refrigerants is also said to be firmly in progress.

Natural refrigerants, including HC mixed gas, are used as energy conservation refrigerants in a total of nearly 200 air conditioners and refrigeration units nationwide and the new organisation is said to be promoting the use of products such as these.