Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

What are fluorinated gases?

What are fluorinated greenhouse gases

Fluorinated greenhouse gases (F-gases) are a family of gases containing fluorine. They are powerful greenhouse gases that trap heat in the atmosphere and contribute to global warming. They are stronger than naturally occurring greenhouse gases and their use is regulated.

There are three main types of F-gases:

  • hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)
  • perfluorocarbons (PFCs)
  • sulphur hexafluoride (SF6).

Main uses of F-gases F-gases are used in a number of ways:

  • Stationary refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump (RAC) equipment are some of the largest sources of F-gas emissions.
  • Some stationary fire protection systems and portable fire extinguishers currently use HFCs.
  • Mobile air conditioning in cars and light vans currently uses HFCs. Other air-conditioned and refrigerated transport also uses F-gases.
  • Solvents containing F-gases are used to clean components, eg in the electronics and aerospace industries. 
  • F-gases have many specialist uses such as in the production of magnesium, different types of foam and high voltage switchgear. 

For information about manufacturing, importing and exporting F-gases, see the page in this guide on producing and supplying fluids

Old equipment may contain Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) These are gases that are now banned in new products across the EU. ODS include chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). If you have old equipment that you think may contain ODS, read our guidance:

Ozone Depleting Substances

Further information

GOV.UK: EU F-gas regulation: guidance for users, producers and traders

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