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A-Gas South Africa champions refrigerant recovery and reclamation
22 August 2019
A-Gas South Africa champions refrigerant recovery and reclamation

A-Gas South Africa, a leader in the supply and lifecycle management of speciality chemicals, is taking the lead in preventing the venting of refrigerants into the atmosphere, which not only damages the ozone layer, but contributes to global warming.

The company is achieving this through its association with Rapid Recovery of the US, which it acquired in 2016. The company is not only the largest refrigerant recovery company in the US, but in the world. “We recover more refrigerant than any other single company globally,” Rapid Recovery MD Adam Dykstra reveals. 

“Anywhere there is a regulatory compliance for a contractor, or a demand for such compliance from a customer, there is a need for high-speed refrigerant recovery solutions,’ Dykstra explains. He adds that the recovery equipment available to contractors today is off-the-shelf and bulky.

“We offer a service that essentially encompasses both a technical, compliance and legal solution. We not only assist contractors in complying with the law, but also give their own customers peace-of-mind that they are dealing with professionals well-versed in the latest technology and trends.”

One of these latest trends is the A-Gas Rapid Recovery service, which offers contractors the latest equipment. “Our machines are based on the simple concept of a compressor and a condenser. It basically recovers refrigerant from one unit to another really fast, in order to prevent it from venting to the atmosphere.”

“SANS 10147 regulations have specific refrigerant recovery, tracking, handling, and documentation requirements. A-Gas Rapid Recovery provides all necessary documentation electronically to clients,” A-Gas South Africa National Sales Manager Michael Labacher explains.

“Rapid Recovery is performed by us, while the contractor team can utilise its specialised skills to diagnose and repair the equipment, rather than handling empty and full recovery cylinders, and waiting on traditional recovery equipment. Custom-made petrol-operated machines are typically ten times faster than a contractor’s ‘buzz box’ (recovery machine),” Labacher elaborates.

Dykstra cautions that venting occurs when a line to a machine is simply cut, or it develops a leak, allowing the refrigerant to escape into the atmosphere. “The correct thing to do is to capture that refrigerant, keep it from damaging the ozone layer and also from causing global warming, clean it, and bring it back onto the market.”

The A-Gas Rapid Recovery solution “stops that one-way train from refrigerant coming in and going straight to the atmosphere through a piece of equipment that is not properly maintained or inefficient. By recapturing it and bringing it back onto the market, we also reduce the quantity of new refrigerant that needs to be produced, thereby lowering the global footprint.”

Commercial Refrigerant Solutions (CRS) of Johannesburg recently used the Rapid Recovery high-speed refrigerant recovery solution from A-Gas South Africa on a range of major projects. CRS MD Stephen Spence explains that, while Woolworths has been a long-standing client, it has subsequently expanded further into the supply-chain industrial market over the past decade.

CRS was established in 1976, focusing initially on refrigeration installations using the latest technology. In 2010, it launched its first carbon dioxide (CO2) only refrigeration system, followed by its innovative booster system in 2012.

Upgrading a Woolworths store, for example, to a CO2-based system, or one based on the latest refrigerant, requires that any existing refrigerant gases be removed first, which is where A-Gas South Africa’s Rapid Recovery service comes into play.

“Our service ensures that companies like CRS have a total solution that encompasses all technical, compliance, and legal considerations when it comes to refrigerant recovery. This, in turn, gives CRS’s major clients such as Woolworths peace-of-mind that they are up to date with the country’s environmental laws, while downtime is reduced to a bare minimum,” Labacher stresses.

“Our equipment recovers refrigerant ten times faster than traditional systems on the market, at a rate of about 500 kg to 700 kg per hour,” Labacher reveals. This recovered refrigerant is packaged safely in cylinders, and then sent for reclamation, whereupon a compliance certificate is issued. This certificate is the end user’s guarantee and proof that the recovered refrigerant was handled in an environmentally-responsible manner.

CRS Business Development Coordinator and Marketing Director Jocelyn Kettle elaborates that the company elected A-Gas South Africa as a partner due to its strict regulatory protocols and highly-effective and speedy Rapid Recovery service. “We operate within tight timeframes and deadline restrictions, as any downtime for major retail outlets such as Woolworths has major cost implications.”

Another benefit for CRS is that A-Gas South Africa has the necessary fully-qualified technicians to carry out its Rapid Recovery service, which not only facilitates the entire process in a professional manner, but assists in mitigating the risk for the company at the end of the day.

“At the end of the day, the proper recovery and reclamation of refrigerants is of major benefit not only to industry, but to South Africa as a whole, which is a key element of important greenhouse gas reduction frameworks such as the Montreal Protocol and the Kigali Amendment,” Labacher concludes.

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