What can I do with recovered refrigerant?

Refrigerant recycling

Professionals who exercise any activity or repair of equipment in the refrigeration industry have an obligation to protect the environment, so you have to prevent refrigerants are released into the atmosphere and the first thing to do is to recover the refrigerant.

In the event that the recovery machine does not have an evaporation system, it must be protected against the arrival of liquid refrigerant using the set of pressure gauges to be dosing, through the operating valves, its entry from the system to the machine (using them as if they were an expansion device) during the initial stages of recovery.

It is important to know the type and amount of refrigerant to be recovered. It is a very simple process used in any system containing no more than 9 kg of refrigerant charge.

Previously you have to remove the pivot valves of the service ports, use hoses with integrated ball valves and try to remove the liquid from the system first and then the remaining vapor, this action accelerates the rate of gas recovery.

Refrigerant recovery equipment

For many of those involved in the business of refrigeration and air conditioning is well known the effect caused by refrigerant gases into the atmosphere, which are attributed much of the blame for the hole in the ozone layer.

For many of those linked to the work of refrigeration and air conditioning is well known the effect caused by refrigerant gases into the atmosphere, which are attributed much of the blame for the hole in the ozone layer.

Substances such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), because they contain chlorine, react with the ozone molecule producing a photochemical chain reaction, which eventually breaks down the ozone molecule.

But these bad practices are not only still being implemented with these chlorinated gases, but also with gases considered new generation as R-410A, created to replace CFCs and HCFCs, thanks to its Ozone Depletion Potential (ODP) is zero, because it contains no chlorine and therefore it is argued that they are definitive refrigerants. However, it has Global Warming Potential (GWP) values, which implies an influence on the greenhouse effect.

What to do with used coolant

Products containing chlorine, such as CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) or HCFCs (hydrochlorofluorocarbons), interact with ozone molecules generating a photochemical chain reaction that causes the ozone molecule to break down.

But the problem lies not only in chlorine gases. Current refrigerants developed to replace CFCs and HCFCs, such as R-410A, do not contain chlorine, so their ozone depletion potential is zero. However, it has a global warming potential that increases the greenhouse effect.

Similar to vacuum pumps, gas reclaimers will be more efficient the shorter the connection hoses and the wider the diameter. The smallest hose diameter is 3/8″ but 1/2″ is recommended.

Refrigerant gas recovery is the preliminary phase necessary to repair or put into operation an air conditioning equipment. This involves transferring the gas to a recovery cylinder from the refrigeration system. If the refrigerant gas is not contaminated it can be recharged into the refrigerant system once the repair of the air conditioning equipment has been completed. If impurities are present, it must be recycled before being reintroduced into the system.

Recovered refrigerants and residual substances, labeling and storage.

When a refrigerant recovered from refrigeration and air conditioning equipment is contaminated or mixed with other refrigerants, recycling or reclamation is not feasible and, therefore, can not be reused. The best option for a contaminated or mixed refrigerant is to send it to a process for final disposal and destruction.

Currently there are many technologies for the destruction of CFCs and HCFCs refrigerants, which were evaluated and approved by the Technical and Economic Assessment Panel (TEAP, for its acronym in English) of the Montreal Protocol.

In some cases, the refrigerant recovered from refrigeration or air conditioning equipment may be in good condition and does not need to be recycled or reclaimed. In these cases, the equipment is recovered and repaired and the same recovered refrigerant is recharged.

Regenerate (reclaim). It is the reprocessing of the refrigerant until it reaches the specifications of a new fluid. This process uses distillation. It requires a chemical analysis of the refrigerant to determine that reached specifications. The term regenerate or reclaim involves the use of processes and procedures that can only be executed in a reprocessing equipment or manufacturer’s plant.