EU F-Gas Regulations – Magnesium Smelting

EU F-Gas Regulations - Magnesium Smelting

This guidance is for organisations affected by the 2014 EU F-Gas Regulation (517/2014). The F-Gas Regulation creates controls on the use and emissions of fluorinated greenhouse gases (F-Gases) including HFCs, PFCs and SF6. In the magnesium casting sector, the F-Gas Regulation affects the use of SF6 and HFC 134a as cover gases in the smelting process.

The 2014 EU F-Gas Regulation replaces the 2006 Regulation, strengthening all of the 2006 requirements and introducing a number of important new measures. The F-Gas Regulation is an important piece of legislation that will result in significant reductions in the emissions of F-Gases. These are very powerful greenhouse gases, with global warming impacts that can be several thousand times higher than CO2 (per kg of gas emitted).

All EU Member States agree that it is important to reduce emissions of these gases. This Information Sheet describes the requirements that apply to magnesium casting.

 

Sector Description

EU F-Gas Regulations – Magnesium Smelting


The casting of magnesium products involves melting magnesium alloys prior to casting. Molten magnesium is highly reactive and must avoid contact with oxygen in the air. Magnesium plants make use of a cover gas that is fed over the molten magnesium to protect it from oxygen.

The main cover gas used was SF6. To avoid use of a cover gas with such a high GWP1 , operators have started introducing other cover gases, including HFC 134a, SO2 and a fluoro-ketone product.

Operation of magnesium casting plants

EU F-Gas Regulations – Magnesium Smelting


 

Ban on SF6 for die casting for plants using > 850 kg per year.

The use of SF6 for die casting operations using more than 850 kg of SF6 per year was banned under the old F-Gas Regulation in 2008.

New: Ban on SF6 for recycling of die casting alloys for plants using > 850 kg per year The ban for plants using more than 850 kg of SF6 per year has been extended to operations that carry out the recycling of magnesium die-casting alloys. This new ban applies from January 2015

New: Ban on SF6 for all die casting and recycling of die casting alloys From 1st January 2018 the SF6 bans will be extended to any plant carrying out magnesium die casting or the recycling of magnesium die casting alloys.

This ban is for any size of operation using SF6. General requirement to avoid release of F-Gases The 2014 F-Gas Regulation states that: “The intentional release of fluorinated greenhouse gases into the atmosphere shall be prohibited where the release is not technically necessary for the intended use. Operators of equipment that contains fluorinated greenhouse gases shall take precautions to prevent the unintentional release (‘leakage’) of those gases. They shall take all measures which are technically and economically feasible to minimise leakage of fluorinated greenhouse gases”.

Magnesium plant operators using either SF6 or HFCs should ensure that they are in compliance with this requirement. F-Gases should be used with care and every effort made to avoid unintentional release.

The SRAC industry and the world as a whole, now understand that fluorinated gases have a potentially devastating global warming effect when released into the atmosphere.

F-Gas regulations have been implemented in order to contain, prevent and thereby reduce emissions of fluorinated greenhouse gases.

On 2nd April 2008, the Commission Regulation 303/2008 set out the requirements for a company certification scheme.

This scheme is specifically for businesses working with F-Gas refrigeration, air-conditioning and heat pump equipment containing or designed to contain fluorinated greenhouse gases.

These F-Gas Certification requirements are in accordance with Article 5.1 of EC Regulations 842/2006 on certain fluorinated greenhouse gases (the EC F-Gas Regulation).