Recovery, Re-use and Recycling

The Regulation 842/2006 on certain fluorinated greenhouse gases obliges operators of a number of installations to put in place arrangements for the proper recovery of F-gases by certified personnel; this is to ensure adequate recycling, reclamation or destruction of these gases.

In order to fulfil these obligations some definitions have to be clarifed first.

  • Recovery means removal, collection and storage of gas or fluids from equipment into a closed vessel.
  • Recycling means reuse of a recovered gas or fluid in the same system after having performed a basic cleaning process.
  • Reclamation means cleaning or reprocessing of gas or fluid to meet official specifications and to be used like virgin material.
  • Destruction means transformation or decomposition of gas or fluid in one or more substances which are not fluorinated greenhouse gases anymore.

Who is concerned?

All operators of cooling circuits of refrigeration and heat pump equipment; of equipment containing fluorinated greenhouse gas-based solvents, of fire protection systems and fire extinguishers and of high voltage switch gear. Operators of above mentioned equipment have to make sure that F-gases are properly recovered by certified personnel in order to ensure their safe recycling, reclamtion or destruction. Under no circumstances F-gases should be released into the atmosphere as they can contribute to global warming when emitted.

How to do it?

Fluorinated F-gases are valuable materials which are especially suitable for recycling and reclamation due to their high stability. The most promising thing to do is to contact your service contractor and/or supplier of F-gases. They have certified specialized personnel and most certainly will be able to take care of any used refrigerant. In case they will not be able to handle this themselves they will get in contact with certified third parties being properly equipped.

What are the key success factors? What are the main obstacles?

As there are different types of F-gases being used in a considerable number of applications a professional end of life management is of utmost importance. In order to ensure efficient recycling and reclamation, different types of gases or fluids should not be mixed. RRRD is already operational in Europe today but there is no harmonized approach yet. In some Member States we find specialized companies being able to perform reclamation and destruction operations, in other Member States these facilities do not exist. Therefore cross border transport of used gases and fluids without high bureaucratic hurdles is essential to ensure proper treatment leading to essential emission reductions. Depending on the country this is very often not the case. For any question concerning recovery, recycling, reclamation and/or destruction you should contact your supplier or service provider.