Chillers and heat pumps built at Daikin Applied’s factory in Italy are being charged with reclaimed R-134a as part of the company’s strategy to reduce environmental impact and develop a ‘circular economy’ of refrigerants.
Daikin Applied Europe (DAE) is dramatically cutting the amount of new ‘virgin’ gas it uses in the production of heat pumps and screw and centrifugal chillers at its Cecchina factory near Rome by reclaiming up to 400,000 kg/year of R-134a.
This initiative is part of its wider ‘Loop’ circular economy programme for all of its manufacturing and supply chain operations. The group’s factory in Ostend is already doing something similar with reclaimed R-410A.
The gas in use at Cecchina has been recovered and reprocessed to match the equivalent performance and quality of the virgin substance in a process which is certified and accredited through independent third-party testing in line with the international standard AHRI700.
As well as the obvious environmental benefits, reclaimed refrigerant is not counted as part of the permitted quota system under the F-gas regulation, which is phasing down global warming gases. This means there is no limit on the amount that manufacturers and equipment owners can use. DAE also only uses R-134a that has been recovered and reclaimed within the EU.
“The company is now using reclaimed gas in seven different models across its heat pump and chiller ranges, which will make a substantial difference to our environmental footprint and that of our customers,” said Daikin Applied UK product development manager James Henley.
“This process avoids the environmental impact and costs associated with end-of-life refrigerant disposal. In theory, there is no limit to how many times we can do this so long as the reclaimed and reprocessed gas continues to meet the AHRI700 specification of better than 99.5% purity,” he added.
The company said there would also be major benefits for the maintenance of installed equipment as users will continue to have access to a supply of replacement units charged with R-134a without falling foul of the F-Gas quota system.