If and when contractors step up their commitment to reclamation, they will find plenty of places ready to perform the process that brings questionable refrigerant back to ARI-700 purity standards. And contractors will also find plenty of incentives to do so.
What will it take to jump-start more use of reclaimed HCFC-22 to service the huge inventory of equipment running on that refrigerant? The EPA and the dozens of companies offering reclamation services are hoping the most recent announcement of a potential 45 percent reduction in virgin R-22 coming to market.
How ready are contractors to embrace refrigerant reclamation? The answer depends on who you talk to. But some contractors are already plugged into the reclamation option — and hoping their colleagues, who might not be doing so, will soon join them.
How much HCFC-22 will be available to contractors in 2012 is an unanswered question as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers a faster phaseout of HCFCs. The EPA began the year by issuing a proposal called Protection of Stratospheric Ozone: Adjustments to the Allowance System for Controlling HCFC Production, Import, and Export.
The world of so-called natural refrigerants, particularly hydrocarbons (HCs), has gotten a lot more interesting recently. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has given Significant New Alternatives Program (SNAP) approval to three HCs.
Production and importation of HCFC refrigerants including R-22 have been on hold since the first of the year while the industry waits for an official go-ahead from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
When mechanical refrigeration came along, refrigerants such as sulfur dioxide and ammonia and the fluorocarbons were introduced. The latter two — ammonia and f-gases — are still being used. Of the fluorocarbons, the choices were pretty simple: CFCs -11, -12, and -502. It is not so simple these days.