Airgas Introduces Automated Refrigerant Reclamation Technology

Originally published: 08.28.12 by HVACR Business Staff

Airgas has introduced its Airgas Refrigatron system for large-scale reclamation of used refrigerant gases.  

Refrigatron technology assures that Airgas 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, according to a recent press release.

The multiphase system allows for the fast analysis and recovery of used refrigerant gases to then be reclaimed to 99.8 percent purity and resold, the company described.  The system streamlines the process of moving, analyzing, evacuating and storing refrigerants from cylinders containing used refrigerants. 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. The company has already analyzed and recovered more than a million pounds of used refrigerants through a testing and modification phase run out of its Smyrna, Ga., plant over the past 10 months.

With Airgas Refrigatron refrigerant gases are automatically and properly evacuated

to nine 10,000-pound storage tanks for storage prior to purification.  Airgas 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.  

“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 phase-outs, saw the market for reclaimed gases looming, and sought to find a way to make handling thousands of small tanks cost-efficient and safe.”

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