EIA and IIAR urge stakeholders to sign letter to CARB by September 4.
The U.S. office of the Environmental Investigation Agency and the U.S.-based International Institute for Ammonia Refrigeration (IIAR) are asking for industry stakeholders to sign a letter urging the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to limit the GWP of refrigerants used in new ice rinks in the state to under 150.
The deadline for signing the letter, which can be accessed here, is September 4. “Our letter already has the support of companies that have manufactured refrigeration equipment in the majority of ice rinks in North America,” said Christina Starr, Senior Policy Analyst, Climate Campaign, in an email about the letter. (shecco, publisher of this website, has signed the letter.)
The letter, addressed to Mary Nichols, Chair of CARB, was signed by Alexander von Bismarck, Executive Director, EIA US, and Gary Schrift, President, IIAR.
As part of its sweeping new proposed rules capping the GWPs of refrigerants used in refrigeration and air conditioning, CARB has proposed capping the GWP of ice-rink refrigerants at 750. This would allow the use of the HFO blend R513A (with a 573 GWP), which is being actively promoted in North America by chemical producers as a refrigerant for new ice rinks. In 2018, the National Hockey League (NHL) announced a multi-year partnership with Chemours to provide R513A and R449A (GWP of 1,282) to ice rinks across North America.
By limiting the GWP of ice-rink refrigerants to 150, CARB would encourage the use of ammonia or CO2. Starr pointed out that 80% of ice rinks in California are already using “climate-friendly cooling using ammonia or CO2.”
In the letter, EIA and IIAR express concern that a 750-GWP threshold for new ice rink refrigeration systems would lead to "unnecessary displacement of existing ice rinks using refrigerant with zero climate impact by systems using HFC-blend refrigerants with GWPs above 600 and lower energy efficiency.”
Moreover, given California’s history of pioneering environmental regulatory standards, CARB’s decision on the GWP of ice-rink refrigerants “would send a strong signal on the direction of the global market for ice rinks,” the letter said.
The letter also outlines the energy, cost and environmental reasons why ammonia and CO2 are superior refrigerant choices for ice rinks refrigeration systems, and it addresses the safety issues associated with ammonia refrigeration.
“Our letter already has the support of companies that have manufactured refrigeration equipment in the majority of ice rinks in North America.”
– Christina Starr, EIA