Championing refrigerant recovery and reclamation

04 September 2019 | Web Article Number: ME201916132

Heating, Cooling & Ventilation
Hydraulics & Pneumatics

A-GAS South Africa, a leader in the supply and lifecycle management of speciality chemicals, says it is taking the lead in preventing the venting of refrigerants into the atmosphere, which not only damages the ozone layer, but contributes to global warming.

The company hopes to achieve this through its association with Rapid Recovery of the US, which it acquired in 2016. The company is not only the largest refrigerant recovery company in the US, but in the world. “We recover more refrigerant than any other single company globally,” Rapid Recovery MD Adam Dykstra said.

“Anywhere there is a regulatory compliance for a contractor, or a demand for such compliance from a customer, there is a need for high-speed refrigerant recovery solutions.” Dykstra added that the recovery equipment available to contractors today is off-the-shelf and bulky.

Championing refrigerant recovery and reclamation

“We offer a service that essentially encompasses both a technical, compliance and legal solution. We not only assist contractors in complying with the law, but also give their own customers peace-of-mind that they are dealing with professionals well-versed in the latest technology and trends.”

One of these latest trends is the A-Gas Rapid Recovery service, which offers contractors the latest equipment. “Our machines are based on the simple concept of a compressor and a condenser. It basically recovers refrigerant from one unit to another really fast, in order to prevent it from venting to the atmosphere,” A-Gas South Africa National Sales Manager Michael Labacher said.

“SANS 10147 regulations have specific refrigerant recovery, tracking, handling, and documentation requirements. A‑Gas Rapid Recovery provides all necessary documentation electronically to clients.

“Rapid Recovery is performed by us, while the contractor team can utilise its specialised skills to diagnose and repair the equipment, rather than handling empty and full recovery cylinders, and waiting on traditional recovery equipment. Custom-made petrol-operated machines are typically ten times faster than a contractor’s ‘buzz box’ (recovery machine),” Labacher said.

Dykstra cautioned that venting occurs when a line to a machine is simply cut, or it develops a leak, allowing the refrigerant to escape into the atmosphere. “The correct thing to do is to capture that refrigerant, keep it from damaging the ozone layer and also from causing global warming, clean it, and bring it back onto the market.”

The A-Gas Rapid Recovery solution “stops that one-way train from refrigerant coming in and going straight to the atmosphere through a piece of equipment that is not properly maintained or inefficient. By recapturing it and bringing it back onto the market, we also reduce the quantity of new refrigerant that needs to be produced, thereby lowering the global footprint”.

Commercial Refrigerant Solutions (CRS) of Johannesburg recently used the Rapid Recovery high-speed refrigerant recovery solution from A-Gas South Africa on a range of major projects. CRS MD Stephen Spence said that, while Woolworths has been a long-standing client, it has subsequently expanded further into the supply-chain industrial market over the past decade.

CRS was established in 1976, focusing initially on refrigeration installations using the latest technology. In 2010, it launched its first carbon dioxide (CO2) only refrigeration system, followed by its innovative booster system in 2012.

Upgrading a Woolworths store, for example, to a CO2-based system, or one based on the latest refrigerant, requires that any existing refrigerant gases be removed first, which is where A-Gas South Africa’s Rapid Recovery service comes into play.

“Our service ensures that companies like CRS have a total solution that encompasses all technical, compliance, and legal considerations when it comes to refrigerant recovery. This, in turn, gives CRS’s major clients such as Woolworths peace-of-mind that they are up to date with the country’s environmental laws, while downtime is reduced to a bare minimum,” Labacher said.

“Our equipment recovers refrigerant ten times faster than traditional systems on the market, at a rate of about 500 kg to 700 kg per hour.”

This recovered refrigerant is packaged safely in cylinders, and then sent for reclamation, whereupon a compliance certificate is issued. This certificate is the end user’s guarantee and proof that the recovered refrigerant was handled in an environmentally responsible manner.

CRS Business Development Coordinator and Marketing Director Jocelyn Kettle said the company elected A-Gas South Africa as a partner due to its strict regulatory protocols and effective and speedy Rapid Recovery service. “We operate within tight timeframes and deadline restrictions, as any downtime for major retail outlets such as Woolworths has major cost implications.”

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