The fluorocarbons used as refrigerants in air conditioners have a global warming impact that is approximately 2,000 times more than that of CO2.
As an air conditioner manufacturer, Daikin has taken responsibility to prevent fluorocarbons from entering the atmosphere. We are also conducting research and development into refrigerants with a low global warming potential and preventing the release of fluorocarbons (refrigerants) into the atmosphere during production and post-sales.
At all worldwide production bases, we recover and destroy refrigerants placed in air conditioners during testing and other processes. During maintenance and upgrading of customers' air conditioners, the service or installation staff always start by thoroughly recovering the refrigerant. We also constantly improve the skills of installation staff to ensure the work is done properly and that no refrigerant leaks during product use.
Efforts to Prevent Environmental Burden from CFC Emissions
Recovery and Destruction of Refrigerants
In Japan, we are thorough in our recovery of fluorocarbons (refrigerants) from commercial air conditioners. In September 2006, we created a network system for the integrated management of all information from recovery to destruction of refrigerants. By computerizing all previously written records, from amount of refrigerant recovered to amount destroyed, we have made it easier to accurately keep track.
The companies recovering and destroying the refrigerants add up the totals and these are reported annually to the prefectural governments in Japan. Because these reports can be generated from the system, these companies can work more efficiently.
Unified Management System of Refrigerant Recovery and Destruction
With each instance of refrigerant recovery, details such as the model of air conditioner and number of units, and the amount of refrigerant recovered, are entered into the electronic manifest. This makes it possible to get an accurate picture of the refrigerant recovery rate.
Fluorocarbon destruction facilities (Yodogawa Plant)
We take requests from retailers and other businesses for the proper recovery and destruction of refrigerants. The Daikin Contact Center takes calls all day, every day, and the recovered refrigerants are taken to our Yodogawa Plant, Kashima Plant, or one of the contracted destruction facilities around Japan where they are properly destroyed.
In fiscal 2011, 353 tons of fluorocarbons were recovered.
Recovered Fluorocarbons (at time of repair and at time of disposal)
During the parts replacement that takes place during maintenance of air conditioners, refrigerant can leak out into the atmosphere. To prevent this, the Daikin Group has recovery equipment at service outlets across Japan that carry out such maintenance, and this equipment is used to recover refrigerant before any repair work begins.
In fiscal 2011, a total of approximately 320 tons of refrigerants was recovered at all service outlets.
Types of Fluorocarbons Recovered during Maintenance (Japan)
Training courses also include environmental education
The recovery of refrigerants requires special knowledge and skills. Daikin Industries provides the necessary training for the sales, technical, installation, and service staff who will be recovering refrigerants.
After one of these training programs, the technician training course, participants take a final test and if they pass are registered as refrigerant recovery technicians by the Refrigerants Recycling Promotion and Technology Center. In fiscal 2011, 1,274 people, mostly from retailers and installers, passed the test. Of all those registered as refrigerant recovery technicians in Japan, 37.6% took the Daikin technician training course.
As well, 251 employees of Daikin Industries and Group companies passed training in leak detection sponsored by the Japan Federation of Construction Contractors.
Refrigerant pipe installation training
On April 1, 2011, Daikin started a certification system for refrigerant pipe technicians with the goal of preventing faulty pipe installation, one of the causes of refrigerant leaks. We also became the first manufacturer to establish an in-house system for certifying that refrigerant pipe installers have outstanding knowledge, techniques, skills, and ethics in this area.
As of the end of fiscal 2011, 552 retailers and installers had been certified.
The refrigerants used in refrigeration and air conditioning equipment are colorless, odorless, and tasteless gases that, although not harmful to humans, must be prevented from leaking into the atmosphere since these refrigerants have a great impact on global warming. In 2009, the Japan Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Industry Association announced a policy of displaying the effects of global warming caused by these refrigerants: a 'visualization' of their movement.
Since that time, the Daikin Group in Japan has placed stickers on its refrigeration and air conditioning equipment for the Japanese market that show that fluorocarbons are being monitored. These same stickers are placed on products made overseas for the Japanese market. As of March 2011, stickers were being placed on all relevant products.
We are improving the placement of stickers and designing products so that stickers are highly visible to end-users and installers and so that we can improve the recovery rate.
Fluorocarbon 'visualization' sticker (for indoor unit)
Under the Home Appliance Recycling Law, manufacturers are obligated to recover refrigerants, materials, and parts from used residential air-conditioners for recycling. But there is no similar law for commercial air-conditioners. For this and other reasons, manufacturers cannot get a clear picture of the recovery situation. While metallic materials are recycled, many manufacturers view recovery and destruction of refrigerants as economically unfeasible, which makes it difficult to build a system to do this.
Against this background, the Daikin Group is working with companies specializing in recycling, waste processing, and recovery and destruction of refrigerants in an effort to build a system for the proper recovery and destruction of refrigerants from commercial air-conditioners. This recycling system went into operation in fiscal 2004 in the Osaka, Chukyo, and Niigata districts of Japan and in fiscal 2005 in the Kyushu, Kanto, and Chugoku districts.
Conventional Disposal Process for Commercial Air-conditioners
New Recycling System
At the Daikin Europe Academy, training is held to teach the knowledge and skills needed to carry out refrigerant recovery. Course content is also in line with the EU regulations to prevent the release of refrigerants into the atmosphere.
In China and other parts of Asia, all service bases have refrigerant recovery equipment. As we recover refrigerants, we remind customers how important this activity is to environmental protection, irrespective of the cost.