On 1 January 2020, the EU entered a new round in the fight against climate change. As the clock struck twelve, a restriction on the use of F-gases came into force – unveiling a future shake-up in the world of medical refrigeration. While the Regulation 517/2014 compels all laboratories to replace polluting cooling equipment with green refrigerants, it also promises to foster innovation in the med tech industry. B Medical Systems designed safe storage solutions to help laboratories reduce their carbon footprint in their everyday operations, while saving energy.
F-gases (fluorinated greenhouse gases) are used in a vast range of industrial applications, such as in air-conditioning and fire extinguishers, as well as in medical refrigeration. Even though they do not cause any harm to the atmospheric ozone layer, they are powerful greenhouse gases with a significant global warming effect. Since 1990, their emissions have risen by 60% in the EU.
At a time when climate change strikes are proliferating across the globe, the EU has adopted a firmer regulatory action to protect the environment. The new requirement of the Regulation 517/2014 that came into force on 1 January 2020 calls for the abolishment of refrigerants presenting high global warming potential values (GWP of 2,500 or more).
In Europe, a number of medical facilities and research laboratories rely on medical cooling devices that still use F-gases as refrigerants. The new ban will undoubtedly have a significant impact on the lab equipment they use for the safe storage of biological samples at cold temperatures. On the manufacturers’ side, the regulation will act as a driver of innovation towards climate-friendly technologies.
B Medical Systems, a Luxembourgish manufacturer with 40 years of experience, is already one step ahead. The portfolio that it launched in 2017 is fully compliant with the new regulation. It includes more than 40 refrigerators, freezers and ULT models of which the cooling technology uses natural green refrigerants. On top of producing no greenhouse emissions, the refrigerants (R600a, R290, R170) also provide an optimal cooling efficiency due to their high latent heat of evaporation.
Devices equipped with an optimal cooling efficiency will show higher performance and low energy consumption. Considering that laboratories consume five times more energy than office spaces and that an average ultra-low temperature freezer can consume as much as a small house [white paper], purchasing energy-efficient equipment will bring substantial energy savings for laboratories and research facilities.