To fulfill the international obligations under the Montreal Protocol for protecting the ozone layer, Hong Kong enacted the Ozone Layer Protection Ordinance in July 1989 and has imposed control on the import and export of ozone depleting substances through registration and licensing provisions. Refrigerants that deplete the ozone layer such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) have been banned for import and will be progressively phased out respectively. Nowadays, the hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are the commonly adopted refrigerants in the market. With the growing concern of the global warming potential of HFC, we note that a number of alternative refrigerants such as hydrofluoroolefins (HFOs) and hydrocarbons (HC) have emerged in recent years, some of which could be toxic or flammable.
If you are considering using an alternative refrigerant in an air-conditioning or a refrigerating system, please take note of the following guidance notes and circular:
- “Guidance Note on Household Refrigerators Containing Liquefied Petroleum Gas (note 1) as Refrigerant” (Guidance Note GU 17) issued by the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department.
- “Guidance Notes on the Work Safety and Health of Air-conditioning Works” issued by the Labour Department.
- “Circular: Safety of Flammable Refrigerants” jointly issued by the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department, the Fire Services Department, and the Labour Department.
If you are considering conveying, storing or using an alternative refrigerant which is classified as “dangerous goods”(Note 2) , please consult the Fire Services Department on licensing and safety requirements.
1. Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) means any gas which is a mixture of the hydrocarbons primarily consisting of butanes, butylenes, propane or propylene, as defined under the Gas Safety Ordinance (Cap.51).
2. Dangerous goods means all explosives, compressed gases, petroleum and other substances giving off inflammable vapours, substances giving off poisonous gas or vapour, corrosive substances, substances which become dangerous by interaction with water or air, substances liable to spontaneous combustion or of a readily combustible nature, except any gas within the meaning of the Gas Safety Ordinance (Cap.51).