Expert Group Melbourne Australia
Expert Group

Refrigerant Gas in End-of-life vehicles

The objective of this assignment was to identify the nature and scope of the environmental impacts from refrigerant gas in ELVs in terms of emissions to atmosphere, the nature of the impact; sources and causes, and the scale of the impact relative to emissions from other RAC sectors. The findings of this study will inform the review of the Ozone Protection and SGG legislation in 2015/6. Summary of findings were:

In 2013 approximately 658,000 passenger and light commercial vehicles were not re-registered in Australia. Approximately one third of these vehicles were damaged by a collision or event, or were part of the relatively small number of vehicles that were stolen. Approximately two thirds were not re-registered and retired from use as a result of old age, mechanical breakdown or due to economic circumstances decided by the vehicle owner.

The average age of all vehicles in the fleet is 10 years, and the average age at retirement is 18.6 years with standard deviation of 6.3 years. However some ELVs are obviously going to be much older, and some near new.

It is estimated that as much as one third of all end-of-life vehicles (ELVs) had no residual refrigerant charge when dismantled or crushed. However, across the entire population of ELVs it is estimated that they contained on average 340 grams of refrigerant gas each. In aggregate, ELVs in 2013 were estimated to contain approximately 187 tonnes of high global warming potential (GWP) refrigerant, comprising 166 tonnes of HFC-134a and 21 tonnes of CFC-12.

While we expect up to 10 per cent of that pool was recovered, that still means that the equivalent of more than 400 kt CO2e was estimated to have been emitted.

A copy of the report is expected to be published soon.


A study on the Environmental Impacts of Refrigerant Gas in End-of-life vehicles in Australia, for Department of the Environment, June 2015.

Cold Hard Facts, second edition prepared in for the Department of the Environment, July 2013.

A review of existing uses of SGGs for the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, Ozone and Synthetic Gas Team, April 2012.

A study into the HFC Consumption in Australia for the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, Ozone and Synthetic Gas Team, October 2011.

Strata and Community Title Market and Potential Impacts of the Mandatory Residential Disclosure Assessments in association with EnergyConsult for the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, May 2012.

The Efficiency Opportunity in Air Conditioning – An Australian Case Study in association with Thinkwell Australia for the International Energy Agency, 2011.

Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, Victorian Schools Energy and Sustainability Auditor Panel, 2011.

Ministerial Council on Engery in association with EnergyConsult, Discussion Paper on Gas Appliance Energy Efficiency Labelling in Australia and New Zealand, 2011.

Expert Witness Report and Testimony, client details withheld, 2011.

Carbon and Energy Audit Examples, client details withheld, 2011.

In from the cold: Strategies to increase the energy efficiency of non-domestic refrigeration in Australia and New Zealand for Federal Dept of Climate Change & Energy Efficiency, 2011.

Essential Service Commission and Department of Primary Industries in Victoria on gas ducted heating systems and ductwork guidelines for the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target (VEET) scheme, 2011.

Best Practice Guideline, Methods of Calculating Total Equivalent Warming Impact (TEWI) for AIRAH and Refrigerants Australia in association with AIRAH Natural Refrigerants Steering Committee, 2011.

Refrigerant Emissions in Australia: Sources, Causes and Remedies, prepared for the Federal Department of Environment, Ozone and Synthetic Gas Team, 2010.

Australian Industry Group, independent technical advice on carbon reduction projects across the refrigerated cold food chain sponsored by Sustainability Victoria, 2010.

MEPS Product Profile, Gas Ducted Heaters in association with EnergyConsult for Sustainability Victoria, 2009 - 2010.

MEPS Product Profile, Radiant Outdoor Gas Radiant Heater, Federal Dept of Environment, Energy Efficiency Team, 2009.

Review of Current & Emerging Heat Pump Technology for Federal Dept of Environment, Ozone & Synthetic Gas Team, 2009.

Solar Absorption Chiller Technical Evaluation for Federal Dept of Environment, Renewables & Energy Efficiency Division, 2009.

Ozone Depleting Substances & Synthetic Greenhouse Australia, Federal Department of Environment, 2008.

Technical Review HVAC&R (Supermarket Industry), Refrigerants Australia, 2008.

Assessment of the HCFC Bank and Forecasts of Future Demand, Federal Department of Environment, 2007.

Cold Hard Facts, Federal Department of Environment, 2007.