Extending the L∞P by Daikin program to R-32

Daikin L∞P program

Daikin Applied Europe has recently extended the L∞P programme by Daikin to chillers. Starting with certified reclaimed R-134a refrigerant for screw compressor chiller units, it is now time to announce a further extension of the programme to reclaimed R-32 as well.

Thereby, Daikin is the only manufacturer actively promoting and supplying units with reclaimed refrigerants, for a wide range of products, from screw and scroll compressor units to centrifugal compressor machines.

 

The benefits of using reclaimed R-134a and R-32 refrigerants on chiller units

 

There are essentially two main benefits in using reclaimed R-134a and R-32 refrigerants on chiller units – benefits for the environment and for chiller plants’ owners.

As R-134a and R-32 are recovered and reclaimed, the environmental impact of end-of-life refrigerant’s destruction is avoided**. This is very positive, fully representing the L∞P by Daikin virtuous cycle. Indeed, as reclaimed R-134a and R-32 meet AHRI700 standard (purity>99.5%), they can be recovered and reclaimed with no limits, making the L∞P programme a true example of circular economy of refrigerants, and environmental impact reduction.

The other important aspect is related to EU F-gas regulation. Under EU F-gas regulation, only virgin refrigerants are considered in the quota system, meaning that reclaimed refrigerants are not subject to any restriction. **

This can be very important for those plants operating on R-134a, that will still have the possibility to use R-134a or be refurbished with units equipped with the same refrigerant. And the same goes for plants operating on R-32.

 

The debate around R-32 and R-32 refrigerant composition

 

As the F-gas regulation gets more and more stringent, low GWP refrigerants are getting more attention.

What we have witnessed lately in the Applied market is a tendency in the sector to promote R-32 blends as more environmentally sustainable and preferable options to pure R-32, almost as R-32 refrigerant had been losing relevance in the sector.

While the need of having diversity of refrigerant choice in the industry is something to fully support, the above-mentioned idea rises concerns on misleading marketing claims that are not doing any good for the sector. While R-32 blends and pure R-32 refrigerant can be employed on the same product portfolio, those can be quite different solutions. Especially if we consider the characteristics of each refrigerant in terms of composition.

Composition, in fact, puts R-32 in a very different position than blends when it comes to recycling and reclaiming, and that is a major difference.

R-32 blends are being promoted as lower GWP solutions, then, as more environmentally sustainable solutions than R-32. That might be correct if the mere GWP levels had to be compared. But this claim does not consider a key aspect related to R-32 refrigerant: it can be part of a circular economy of refrigerants.

R-32, being a pure and single component refrigerant, has all the characteristics needed to be easily recovered, recycled, or regenerated, so to enter the reclaimed refrigerant market and be reused.

 

R-32 availability

 

It is the greater availability of R-32 in the market versus niche alternative options such as blends that makes R-32 reclamation possible. In fact, reclamation is a viable option only for widely used and largely available refrigerants. Indeed, the market itself has made R-32 a standard, since according to Eurovent statistics, the number of R-32 chiller and heat pump installations is 5 times higher than the sum of installations of Applied R-32 blends technologies. And if also residential installations are considered, then the relevance of R-32 refrigerant is clear.

The possibility to reclaim R-32 refrigerant, then, makes R-32 an environmentally sustainable choice just as much as other options can be, or even more, since the possibility to reclaim R-32 eliminates the environmental impact of its disposal.

 

Daikin’s use of reclaimed R-32 on chiller products

 

Same as reclaimed R-134A, reclaimed R-32 refrigerant is used by Daikin Applied Europe with the power grid principle (i.e. allocation principle).

A clear example of that comes from the way energy suppliers feed the power grid, using electricity coming from different sources (green and non-green), and then using the allocation principle to declare the energy delivered within a specific contract to be green energy. This is possible only considering the overall balance of energy sources, of course.

Similarly, Daikin Applied Europe uses a mix of reclaimed and virgin refrigerant to charge new chillers. As a result of this approach, the following product ranges using scroll compressors are included in the L∞P programme by Daikin:

  • EWAT-B- air cooled cooling-only chillers
  • EWYT-B- air source heat pumps
  • EWAT-CZ air cooled cooling-only chillers with Daikin inverter scroll compressors
  • EWYT-CZ air source heat pumps with Daikin inverter scroll compressors

 

 

Reclaimed refrigerant and reclamation process

 

Everything starts with the recovery of refrigerants (either R-134a or R-32) from buildings by the installers network. The refrigerant is then reclaimed, meaning that it gets regenerated, restoring its original characteristics and quality as mentioned above.

Refrigerant reclamation is defined as the processing of used refrigerant gases so that they can meet specifications for re-use*. Reclamation services were designed with the goal of reducing the environmental impact of refrigerants, allowing the re-use of existing refrigerants, thereby avoiding the need to manufacture new virgin refrigerants*.

Reclaimed refrigerant is simply refrigerant gas recovered and reprocessed so it can provide and match the performance and quality of the virgin substance. This aspect is ensured by Daikin supplier’s procedures and appropriate testing of the supply, which meets AHRI700 requirements (purity>99.5%) and is then certified as equally good as the virgin refrigerant.

 

The Circular Economy approach of Daikin

 

The L∞P programme by Daikin aims at creating a circular economy of refrigerants, supporting Daikin Industries environmental policy for 2050, and avoiding, every year, production of virgin refrigerants including R-134a, R-410A and R-32 for more than 400,000 kg per year.

This initiative is one of the many steps Daikin is taking to make the HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) sector promoted more environmentally sustainable.

Daikin Applied Europe, European headquarter for the development and manufacturing of HVAC technologies, made an effort to secure the supply of reclaimed R-134a and R-32 refrigerant. That allowed Daikin Applied R-134a and R-32 products to be part of the L∞P programme, just like VRVs using R-410A, which were among the first products to be part of this program.

 

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