Carbon Credits: Cash Incentives for CFCs

Sept. 18, 2012
The majority of unwanted ozone depleting substances is currently stored in original equipment out in the field, which often leads to slow leakage, or the possibility of accidental release.

The refrigerant industry is well aware of recent actions by the Environmental Protection Agency to further restrict allocations involving the production of R-22. Although the prices for R-22 have dramatically increased, these developments have also made it profitable for contractors to recover used R-22 that was once considered junk gas. What you may not be aware of is that there are other refrigerant gases that can also be turned into cash; and with the additional benefit of protecting the environment.

The California Climate Action Reserve (CAR) has formally released a Destruction of Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) Protocol, that provides a standardized approach for quantifying and monitoring Green House Gas (GHG) reductions, from projects that destroy ODS with high global warming potential. Specifically, the CAR Protocol version 2.0 provides incentives for the destruction of R-11, R-12, R-13, R113, R-114 and R-115 with the caveat that these gases were previously used in refrigerant applications, or are from virgin stockpiles. Other CFCs recovered from foam building insulation and from appliance insulation are also eligible. The protocol is available at this link.

The protocol states:
“The current market value of these offset credits not only covers all the costs of destruction, but also provides cash incentives to contractors who are willing to recover these refrigerants and send them to an approved recycling facility that is recognized by CAR as a site that can convert these CFCs to registered carbon credits."

Upon successful destruction and verification, CAR issues “Carbon Reserve Tonnes” or CRTs that provide recognition that carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions have been avoided. Ultimately, the CRTs are traded on the “carbon market” where the price goes up and down based upon market demand. Each carbon credit certificate can be traded (bought and sold) on an exchange, or on a spot buy basis. Demand depends on the buyers who need to offset carbon producing activities, and are legally mandated to reduce their carbon emission activities or their carbon footprints.

The majority of unwanted ODS is currently stored in original equipment out in the field, which often leads to slow leakage, or the possibility of accidental release. Thus, any ODS that is recovered in the United States by those licensed to handle refrigerants, and that is later destroyed by an approved facility and verified by an approved verifier, is considered a greenhouse gas emission reduction in accordance with the CAR Protocol.

For additional information, visit the RemTec website.

Richard Marcus is president/CEO of RemTec International, Bowling Green, OH.