Plant & Works Engineering

R22 phase-out set to increase rental demand

Published:  24 September, 2009


Carrier Rental Systems has identified an increase in sales enquiries of its hire fleet of process chillers and industrial air-conditioning systems as a direct result of the impending phase out of the refrigerant R22.

With the squeeze on capital investment and the reduced availability of funding options, combined with the need to short term cooling alternatives, CRS anticipate a growing demand for rental equipment through to the end of the year as companies see chiller hire and air-conditioner rental as credible financial alternative to purchasing new refrigeration equipment through the R22 phase out period.

From the end of December 2009 the use of virgin HCFC's will be prohibited in the maintenance and servicing of refrigeration and air conditioning equipment existing at that date, leading to the likely problem of depleting stocks of R22, a shortage in the availability of qualified refrigeration engineers and the rise in the cost of the remaining recycled R22.

Initial customer research carried out by Carrier Rental Systems indicates that many manufacturing companies in the UK are still to implement a satisfactory strategy to comply with the impending legislation changes and risk being caught up in reduced availability, increased prices and possible refrigeration system downtime. In response to this situation, CRS is making 25% of its fleet specifically available to clients who need to implement a rental cooling solution to cover production time while either a "drop in replacement" refrigerant is identified and introduced or while upgrades to the incumbent cooling system takes place. Chillers and coolers will be available for either short-term rental or longer-term hire with special product and service packages available for clients looking for long-term hire solutions.

R22 is a HCFC low temperature refrigerant that is used in process chillers, industrial refrigerant plants, commercial cold storage facilities and air-conditioning systems throughout the world and it is estimated by Carbon Trustthat 70% of UK based food manufacturing sites have a refrigeration system using


R22 is an ozone depleting HCFC and like many HCFC's has been used as an interim replacement to CFC's which were banned in 2000. R22 damages the earth's ozone layer, which filters out incoming radiation in the ultraviolet (UV) part of the spectrum. The discovery of a large ozone hole over Antarctica and its association with man-made CFCs led the world to take action to protect the ozone layer through the introduction of legislation covering their manufacture, use and disposal.

HCFC's including R22, were banned in new refrigeration systems in 2000. From the

31st December 2009 it will no longer be possible to use virgin HCFC's for maintenance of refrigeration systems and the use of recycled HCFC's will be banned from the end of 2014. After this date all R22 users will have either had to have found acceptable alternative refrigerants or have invested in new plant.There will be no other (legal) alternatives.

Keith Browse, director Carrier Rental Systems said: " We are anticipating that demand for hire equipment will soar this year as clients are faced with two issues of replacing capital for the purchase of equipment, but more significantly the looming legislation changes to the use of R22 which will come into place at the end of the year. I think many companies will opt for long-term rental solutions until the economy picks up and they feel more comfortable will the R22 availability situation. I think many companies are putting off major changes to their refrigeration equipment until they have seen what has happened and what solutions other manufactures have implemented"

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