Industrial Gases

These gases comprise the following three families, HFCs (Hydroflurocarbons), PFCs (Perfluorcarbons) and SF6 (Sulphur Hexafluoride). There is no production of HFC and PFC in Ireland but all of these gases are used here in refrigeration, air conditioning, the use of electrical equipment, fire extinguishers, and most significantly in the production of semiconductors. Usage of these gases has grown in recent years with the growth in the semiconductor industry and as substitutes for CFCs and HCFCs, which are being phased out under the Montreal Protocol.
The use of these gases is heavily regulated through legislation. The European Union's F-gas Regulation No 842/2006 imposes obligations for users of these gases to undertake ongoing certified maintenance of equipment to mitigate the potential for leaks of these gases into the atmosphere. As such, any industrial operator in the country who uses these gases will be required under law to regulate the use and management of these gases.

F-gases are of major concern due to their long atmospheric lifetime and significantly higher Global Warming Potential when compared to the natural greenhouse gases (CO2 and CH4), meaning that while they are emitted in low concentrations they contribute significantly to global warming. In terms of global warming potential, HFC134a (the most widely used F-gas) is 1,300 times more powerful than CO2. SF6 is 23,900 more powerful than CO2.

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