Keeping gas in installations: the simplest, most profitable solution



Despite the slight drop in the price of HFCs in the past few days, Refrigerant Gas continues to be worth its weight in GOLD. As we all well know, the refrigeration sector is experiencing a difficult situation, due to the current refrigerant gas scenario. Over the past year, HFC gases have seen the greatest, quickest rise in prices in the history of refrigeration, which has directly affected the economic performance of all the companies in the supply chain: from distributors to end users, via fitters, of course.

In addition to this delicate situation, some of these gases have become worryingly unavailable, as a result of the quota system imposed by the F-Gas regulation, and this can only worsen in the near future.

As if that were not enough, many current refrigeration installations are barely half way through their service life, meaning that many have not yet been amortised, and yet, complex and costly projects for remodelling or changing refrigeration installations are being brought to the table.

The cherry on top of the cake is the great confusion on the market caused by a flood of proposals and alternatives to using HFCs (natural refrigerants, retrofitting to gases with low GWP, systems refrigerated using water, etc…). There are so many options nowadays that it is difficult to choose, faced as we are with a constantly-changing environment and a very uncertain future lying ahead.

However, the market seems more focused on renewing installed equipment including HFCs than on solving the underlying problem of refrigerant gas leaks.

At AKO, we are committed precisely to the most efficient, most profitable solution, with quick returns on investment, for both fitters/maintainers and end users or owners. Keeping refrigerant gas in installations prevents losing this valuable element, which is key to correct installation operation and to developing our clients’ business.

The importance of keeping refrigerant gas in installations lies not only in the value of this gas, but also in the energy efficiency of the system. A refrigeration installation operating with 80% of its refrigerant gas (20% leaks) consumes 15% more energy and also shortens the service life of the installation’s components, since they must work harder to reach set-point temperatures.

Recycling of refrigerant gases, aside from being a legal requirement stipulated in EC517/2014 (EU regulation on fluorinated greenhouse gases) allows us to prolong the service life of numerous installations in operation which are yet to reach the point of amortisation and can still be efficient, profitable and perfectly legal for at least another 12 years. It is important to highlight that recycled refrigerants with a GWP of over 2,500, such as R-404A, may continue to be used for a further 10 years after their service is banned in 2020. This, aside from allowing the sector to benefit from gases recovered from installations reconverted to CO2   (for example), greatly alleviates the limits established by the quotas in the F-Gas schedule.

Our AKOGAS Early Refrigerant Gas Detection System can detect leaks of under 0.3gr/h in an absolutely accurate, quick way, with no false alarms whatsoever and even in environments traditionally unfavourable to leak detection, such as vegetable or fish stores, damp environments, etc. It also provides useful information for predictive maintenance and exact, effective pinpointing of leaks, indicating where and when a leak arises and, therefore, greatly reducing repair time.

Its system for sending alarms and monitoring remotely not only alerts us to gas leaks in installations, but also allows us to classify them by severity, making it possible to ensure that all leaks in an establishment are repaired in a single procedure.

This solution is the product of intense R&D&I work carried out by AKO over its 40 years of experience in the refrigeration sector. An extensive team of professionals is at your service to advise and guide you through implementing the AKOGAS Early Refrigerant Gas Leak Detection System. Ask us how.