Denmark: A leader on f-gas regulation In 2001 Denmark became one of the first countries in the world to introduce taxes on HFC gases, five years before the introduction of the EU’s first F-Gas Regulation. Since then, other countries including Spain and Norway have followed suit. Accelerate Europe reports from Copenhagen. –By Marie Battesti, Charlotte McLaughlin & Andrew Williams
ack in 1996, Svend Auken – the Danish environment minister at the time – expressed the hope “that in ten years, not a single fridge, freezer or cooling plant will be built in Denmark that requires HFCs or other greenhouse gases”.
The first step towards realising Auken’s dream came in 2001, when Denmark became the first country to tax HFCs. The original tax rate of 100 DKK (approximately €13) per tonne of CO2 equivalent was increased in January 2011 to DKK 150 (approx. €20 ) per tonne of CO2-eq. Legislation to ban certain f-gases in many applications was first introduced by Denmark in 2002. That law only permits exemptions “in exceptional circumstances”. A general ban on the import, sale and use of new products using greenhouse gases in three classes – HFCs, perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) – is also in force today. Imports of bulk HFCs have fallen steadily in recent years. In 2000 the figure stood at 1,000 tonnes per year. By 2010 it had come down to 350 tonnes.
Going further than the EU F-Gas Regulation Denmark’s current regulatory approach combines the Montreal Protocol, the EU’s F-Gas Regulation and national legislation (Statutory Order No. 9), which together help facilitate the transition away from HVAC&R technologies based on f-gases.
stringent national legislation than mandated under the EU F-Gas Regulation. It based this decision on the fact that national provisions “take into account the existence and technical and economic availability of the alternatives to the banned applications in Denmark”. Denmark’s f-gas landscape therefore currently includes a mixture of quotas, usage bans, and technical support and containment training to limit the amount of HFCs that end up in the atmosphere, Mikkel Aaman Sørensen from the Danish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) told Accelerate Europe. Sørensen explained that a “ban on equipment above five tonnes of CO2-equivalent, which corresponds to approximately to 1.3 kg of R404A” was considered. He added that the change would have had an effect "especially on condensing units (CDUs) and small chillers”. As this in turn would mainly affect small-scale enterprises in rural areas, it was decided not to pursue this in spite of the high cost efficiency.
Funding research into natural refrigerants The Danish government has used the HFC tax to support the research and development of alternative, low-GWP refrigeration technologies. When the original Danish f-gas regulation entered into force in 2002, the Danish government invested some DKK 20 million (approx. €2.7 million) into new projects.
In 2015 the EU’s new F-Gas Regulation entered into force. Yet the European Commission allowed Denmark to maintain more