Hydro-fluorocarbons (HFCs), HFCs
Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are included in the group called F-gases. HFCs do not contribute to depletion of the ozone layer and are therefore used as substitute for ozone depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and chlorofluorohydrocarbons (HCFCs). Hydrofluorocarbons are however potent greenhouse gases and contribute to the greenhouse gas effect1. In order to compare the effect of different greenhouse gases, emissions are converted into carbon dioxide equivalents2.
Hydrofluorocarbons are produced synthetically. They are for example used in household refrigerators, in commercial and industrial refrigeration, in heat pumps and in air conditioning. Other application areas include foaming of plastics, in fire extinguish agents and for cleaning (solvents)3.
Sources and transportation pathways
The HFC gases do not exist naturally in the environment. Operations within waste management and wastewater treatment are among the point sources that emit the most HFCs to air in Sweden. Leakage from e.g. cooling systems and other equipment where HFCs are used are counted as diffuse sources.
Effects on environment and health
HFCs are potent greenhouse gases that contribute to the increased greenhouse gas effect4. The increased greenhouse gas effect results in an increase of the average temperature on earth, which for example leads to climate change and rising of the sea level5,6.
HFCs can also pose a risk to humans as the HFC gases often are explosive gases that are highly flammable. Exposure to high concentrations of HFCs may cause suffocation as HFCs displace the oxygen from the air7,8. Exposure to high levels of some HFCs may also severely affect the heart9,10.
International agreements and regulations
Hydrofluorocarbons are regulated by the UN Montreal Protocol and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), as well as by the EU MMR regulation (525/2013/EU) and the F gas regulation (517/2014/EU). The UN Protocol on PRTRs and the EU E-PRTR regulation regulate how data on hydrofluorocarbons emissions is made available.
1 http://www.kemi.se/prio-start2 http://www.naturvardsverket.se/Sa-mar-miljon/Statistik-A-O/Vaxthusgaser-konsumtionsbaserade-utslapp-fran-exporterande-foretag/Koldioxidekvivalenter/3 http://www.naturvardsverket.se/Sa-mar-miljon/Klimat-och-luft/Ozonskiktet/Ozonnedbrytande-amnen/Alternativ-till-ozonnedbrytande-amnen/4 http://www.naturvardsverket.se/Sa-mar-miljon/Klimat-och-luft/Klimat/Darfor-blir-det-varmare/Andra-vaxthusgaser/5 http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar5/syr/AR5_SYR_FINAL_SPM.pdf6 http://www.smhi.se/kunskapsbanken/klimat/vaxthuseffekten-1.38447 https://rib.msb.se/portal/template/pages/kemi/Substance.aspx?id=519&q=trifluormetan&p=18 https://rib.msb.se/portal/template/pages/kemi/Substance.aspx?id=418&q=R125&p=19 https://rib.msb.se/portal/template/pages/kemi/Substance.aspx?id=418&q=R125&p=110 https://rib.msb.se/portal/template/pages/kemi/Substance.aspx?id=365&q=R134a&p=1