French HVAC&R sector mulls future challenges at Sifa

More must be done to boost training in natural refrigerants if France’s HVAC&R sector is to keep up with the evolving regulatory landscape, heard participants in last week’s Sifa tradeshow.

Conference session at Sifa, Paris.

As the French government considers introducing a tax on HFCs, more must be done to boost training in natural refrigerants if France’s HVAC&R sector is to keep up with the evolving regulatory landscape, heard participants in last week’s Sifa tradeshow.

The 'Salon Interprofessionnel du Froid et de ses Applications' (Sifa) trade show and conference brought together the French HVAC&R industry in Paris from 3-5 October to learn about the latest technology innovations and understand better how the sector will adapt to recent regulatory updates. The organisers announced a record attendance of 3,048 visitors, a strong increase compared to the previous edition.

The dense regulatory landscape for the HVAC&R sector and the need to learn about new alternative refrigerant-based technologies were on everybody’s lips throughout the tradeshow.

“This is a market in which for some years now, it has been necessary to use fluids that are not restricted by continually evolving environmental constraints,” David Liopé, who runs an engineering firm for industrial refrigeration equipment in Lyon, France, told this website.

By 2018 the HFC quota under the European Union’s F-Gas Regulation will fall to 56% of the baseline compared to previous 63%. The anticipated shortage has already led to price hikes for the most commonly used HFCs, such as R404A and R407.

This is a market in which for some years now, it has been necessary to use fluids that are not restricted by continually evolving environmental constraints.
– David Liopé, LITHEX

Towards a tax on HFCs

At the national level, the French government is still considering the introduction of a tax on HFCs, even if the proposal has not been retained for fiscal year 2018.

“At the United Nations’ General Assembly in New York last September, French Environment Minister Nicolas Hulot recalled his attachment to the tax, although the proposal is not in the legislative calendar for 2018,” Florian Veyssilier, a representative of the Ministry of the Ecological and Inclusive Transition, told this website.

French industry is facing recruitment problems for qualified installers and maintenance personnel who are able to work with alternative refrigerants.

“To claim that we can replace all existing fluids, such as R404, R507 and R134a with hazardous refrigerants such as ammonia or propane in all types of applications would be extremely ambitious. But only, in my opinion, because of a problem of skills from the workforce,” said Liopé.

By Marie Battesti

Oct 09, 2017, 13:00




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