Refrigerant gas recycling and the F-gas phase down

Refrigerant gas recycling and the F-gas phase down With rising refrigerant prices and restricted supply due to the European F-gas phase down, contractors have been reminded of the importance of recycling and careful cylinder management.

The reminder comes in the form of a free-to-download technical bulletin from European contractors’ group AREA.

The contractors’ group says that its research has highlighted bad habits that are exacerbating the issue and putting increased and unnecessary pressure on the HFC phase down imposed by the F-gas regulation.

Against a background of a general shortage of virgin gas bottles, AREA reports frequent incidences of contractors sending back bottles to wholesalers with significant amounts of refrigerant left in to avoid paying cylinder rental charges.

AREA has evidence that many engineers attending a service call will pick up a full or nearly full cylinder, rather than a bottle that has only 2 or 3kg left in it.

“This not only leaves several kgs of various refrigerant gases in a variety of bottles, but it also leaves bottles in stock beyond their rental date, instigating rental charges, or lost bottle charges,” says AREA.

“Frequently these small amounts are sent back to avoid the rental charges, and that gas is then lost to the system – increasing the demand on the F-gas phase down quota system.”

Instead of sending back fluorinated gases that will be sent for destruction and then lost to the system, AREA recommends aggregating small amounts of virgin refrigerant into a clean receiver cylinder.

“This is a sustainable management of refrigerant gases from an environmental point of view anyway, but is an increasingly sensible way of dealing with the gases as the value of that gas increases monthly,” says AREA.

The technical document is free to download here.