ACHRNEWS

Aug. 8, 2012: Airgas Introduces Automated Refrigerant Reclamation Technology

August 8, 2012
RADNOR, Pa. — Airgas Inc. has introduced its new Airgas Refrigatron™ system for large-scale reclamation of used refrigerant gases. According to the company, Refrigatron technology assures that it properly identifies the contents of returned refrigerant gas cylinders, enabling the company to pay HVAC contractors the highest price for used gases, while delivering efficiencies that make the reclamation process less labor intensive, safer, and more cost-effective.

The company said it installed its first Refrigatron system in its Airgas Refrigerants plant in Smyrna, Ga., where it has already analyzed and recovered more than a million pounds of used refrigerants through a testing and modification phase over the past 10 months. Airgas Refrigerants is a full-service refrigerant gases supply and reclamation company with approximately 115 employees nationwide.

Refrigatron is a multiphase system that first allows for the fast analysis and recovery of used refrigerant gases to then be reclaimed to 99.8 percent purity and resold, said the company. The system streamlines the process of moving, analyzing, evacuating, and storing refrigerants from cylinders containing used refrigerants. Refrigatron is designed to automate Airgas Refrigerants’ standard operating procedures. Using two zero-gravity lifts to move cylinders and two in-line gas chromatograph mass spectrometers, the system renders an ARI-700 specification result and records it for labeling and for future use. Airgas estimates that it achieves much greater accuracy and saves 45 minutes for each cylinder tested using its new mass spectrometer method.

With Refrigatron, Airgas said refrigerant gases are automatically and properly evacuated to nine 10,000-pound storage tanks for storage prior to purification. The company estimates that an average shift allows two technicians to test and empty approximately 130 cylinders and evacuate approximately 6,500 to 7,000 pounds of refrigerant.

Refrigatron is the result of more than two years of planning, engineering, and construction. The system was designed and built by the Airgas Research and Development group located in Cheshire, Conn., and shipped to Smyrna for installation and testing in early 2011. Airgas is pursuing multiple patents on the processes and technologies. The company said the system is engineered for durability and currently boasts greater than 99 percent uptime since its installation.

“Airgas Refrigatron was born from the idea that there must be economies of scale to make reclamation cost-effective sooner rather than later,” said Ted Schulte, president of Airgas Refrigerants. “We’ve learned from other refrigerant phaseouts, saw the market for reclaimed gases looming, and sought to find a way to make handling thousands of small tanks cost-efficient and safe.”

For more information, visit www.airgas.com.

Publication date: 8/6/2012