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Rapid Refrigerant Recovery: 25 Systems in Three Days

A‑Gas Operations Manager for A‑Gas Rapid Recovery in the UK, Steve Alden, explains how efficient refrigerant recovery can really make a difference in the time taken to complete plant maintenance.

Group of Rapid Recovery engineers onsite with Recovery vehicle

The astonishing speed in which a refrigerant recovery job can be completed was highlighted during a system upgrade at a chicken processing plant. More than 1400kgs of refrigerant was recovered from 25 separate systems by the A‑Gas Rapid Recovery team over just three days at the plant.

Normally, a job of this size would take several weeks for the contractor to complete without the help of A‑Gas Rapid Recovery. Due to the speed of the custom build equipment, the team were able to remove a large quantity of R507 from the site and transport it back to Portbury, near Bristol, to be reprocessed.

The F‑Gas legislation is ramping up the pressure on end users to ensure that refrigerants are recovered, cleaned for re-use and replaced with a more environmentally-friendly gas.

The importance of refrigeration maintenance and making the change to low carbon cooling was highlighted when A-Gas Rapid Recovery completed the job at the chicken processing plant.  

Over three days, 1,478kgs of refrigerant was recovered from the 25 refrigeration systems. As well as the R507, R404A, R407F and R422D were also recovered from various chiller-based and mobile systems serving a multitude of areas including cold stores, cutting rooms, freezers, packing and dispatch.

Refrigerant sent to A-Gas reprocessing centres becomes fully reclaimed product and is returned to the market in line with the AHRI 700 standard. At Portbury (near Bristol) and Eygelshoven in Holland, used refrigerant undergoes chemical analysis, is cleaned of contaminants and goes through a separation plant to produce a product that matches that of virgin refrigerant requirements.

At the chicken processing plant, R448A (Solstice® N40), a non-flammable HFO blend typically used as a replacement for R404A and R22 in low and medium temperature refrigeration applications, was chosen as the new low GWP refrigerant. It provides an excellent combination of low GWP (1387) and high energy efficiency. The refrigerant also offers reduced compressor discharge temperature at medium and low temperature conditions.

A-Gas Rapid Recovery has been on the UK market since 2017 and in that time has recovered refrigerants from hundreds of systems nationwide. This has helped our customers switch from high GWP refrigerants to low GWP alternatives. 

There is a network of recovery vehicles and engineers in place to give refrigeration contractors national coverage and this is available to go on site at short notice to handle jobs of all sizes. The equipment is independent of services like power, is portable and with 80-metre plus hoses it can reach RAC units in the most difficult places.

At the chicken processing plant, the contractor was delighted with the very quick turnaround by A-Gas Rapid Recovery which allowed him and his team to get on with other important jobs onsite.

The system upgrades allowed the customer to continue supplying meat at a time of crisis. It all goes to show how having the right equipment can really make a difference when you need it.

The Coronavirus pandemic may have changed the way we work within the cooling industry, but key maintenance has continued during the lockdown to ensure that food processors can continue to feed the nation.

Shopping habits changed and as a result supermarkets, convenience stores and food processors reported record sales as they looked to meet the demand created by customers in lockdown. Refrigeration has never been more important at a time when maintaining food supplies are crucial.