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Sustainability > Environment > Response to Climate Change > Recovery and Destruction of Fluorocarbons

Response to Climate Change

Recovery and Destruction
of Fluorocarbons

Recovery and Destruction of Fluorocarbons from Air Conditioners

Reducing Impact throughout the Entire Life Cycle

The fluorocarbons used as refrigerants in air conditioners have a global warming impact that is from several hundred times up to 2,000 times more than that of CO2.

The Daikin Group is the only comprehensive air conditioner manufacturer developing everything from refrigerant to air conditioners. In addition to disseminating low-global-warming-impact refrigerants worldwide, we strictly manage refrigerants during the production, after-sales, and other stages, and we recover, destroy, and recycle refrigerants at the end of air conditioner life so that we can reduce environmental impact throughout the entire life cycle.

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 Fluorocarbon Emissions

Efforts to Prevent Environmental Burden from CFC Emissions

Recovery and Destruction of Refrigerants

Recovery and Destruction of Refrigerants

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Efforts During Production

Fluorocarbon Recovery Equipment Ensures Proper Destruction of Refrigerants (Chemicals Division)

The fluorocarbons emitted in the Chemicals Division are raw materials and by-products in the production of fluorochemical products. To prevent such emissions, we have been installing recovery equipment on production lines and properly destroying the fluorocarbon gases recovered. We also take the fluorite generated during the destruction process and use it as raw material for the production of fluorochemical products.

In fiscal 2015, we expanded destruction facilities at the Yodogawa Plant. In addition, we strove to limit the amount of emissions of HFC-23, a by-product of production processes with an extremely high global warming potential.

Overseas, even in countries with no fluorocarbon emission restrictions, Daikin plants voluntarily recover gas and destroy it either in house or through a contracted destruction facility. In fiscal 2015, Daikin America, Inc. proceeded with introducing substitutes for Perfluorohexane and stepped up recovery of FC-c318, thus dramatically reducing emissions.

We will continue to switch to fluorocarbon substitutes in our efforts to reduce environmental impact.

Ensuring No Leaks When Filling Air Conditioners with Refrigerant (Air Conditioning Manufacturing Division)

Recovering refrigerantRecovering refrigerant

During the air conditioner manufacturing process, we do everything possible to ensure no refrigerants (HFC, HCFC) leak during filling.

These measures include the following:

  • We inspect all pipes for leakage before refrigerant filling.
  • If operation inspections show that a product must be fixed, we do so after recovering all the refrigerant from it.
  • We take every precaution possible during refrigerant filling to ensure there are no leaks.
  • We are converting to low global warming potential refrigerants.

All this and other related work is done by certified technicians according to maintenance manual procedures. Technicians also undergo training every year based on the manual.

In fiscal 2015, the refrigerant emissions ratio was 0.2% at Daikin in Japan and 0.7% overseas. In addition, by converting to low global warming potential refrigerants, we are reducing CO2-equivalent emissions.

For the gas used in the inspection process, we have converted to helium, which does not deplete the ozone layer and is not a greenhouse gas.

Inspecting for Refrigerant Leaks in the Air Conditioner Manufacturing Process

Daikin Industries, Ltd. carries out three inspections for refrigerant leaks during the production process for residential and commercial air conditioners. This gives customers highly reliable products and prevents refrigerant emissions due to product defects.

1. Air-tightness and pressure resistance inspection

1. Air-tightness and pressure resistance inspection

Before we insert refrigerant, we pump air at an extremely high pressure of 4.2 MPa to check for leaks at the welded sections, pipes, and other parts refrigerant passes through.

2. Gas leak inspection

2. Gas leak inspection

After ensuring there are no leaks, refrigerant is sealed inside and a refrigerant detector is used to inspect all brazed parts.

3. Pre-delivery inspection

3. Pre-delivery inspection

When the product is completed and packed, a refrigerant detector is once again used to ensure no refrigerant has leaked.

Visual Representations of Refrigerants in Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Equipment

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. With the Act on Rational Use and Proper Management of Fluorocarbons going into effect in April 2015, these ‘visualization’ stickers have shown the global warming potential of the refrigerant used in order to encourage the recovery of fluorocarbons. These same stickers are placed on products made overseas for the Japanese market.

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)

Fluorocarbon 'visualization' sticker (for indoor unit)

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Efforts During Repair and Disposal

Refrigerant Recovery Network System

In Japan, we are thorough in our recovery of fluorocarbons (refrigerants) from commercial air conditioners. We have created a network system for the integrated management of all information from recovery to destruction of refrigerants, including the amount of refrigerant recovered and the amount destroyed by contractors. This system has been updated to comply with the Act on Rational Use and Proper Management of Fluorocarbons, which went into effect in April 2015.

The companies recovering and destroying the refrigerants add up the totals and these are reported annually to the prefectural governments in Japan. Because the system can help in generating the reports, 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.

Unified Management System of Refrigerant Recovery and Destruction

Taking Calls 24 Hours a Day, 365 Days a Year for Recovery and Destruction (Fluorocarbon Recovery and Destruction Business)

Fluorocarbon destruction facilities (Yodogawa Plant)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 the entire Daikin Group in Japan in fiscal 2015, 401 tons of fluorocarbons were recovered and destroyed.

Amount Destroyed in Fluorocarbon Recovery and Destruction (At Time of Repair and at Time of Disposal)

Amount Destroyed in Fluorocarbon Recovery and Destruction (At Time of Repair and at Time of Disposal)

* Amount destroyed at Yodogawa Plant, Kashima Plant, or one of the contracted destruction facilities around Japan.

* Figures until fiscal 2013 are for Daikin Industries, Ltd. only, and figures from fiscal 2014 are for the Daikin Group in Japan.

Maintenance Only After Thorough Recovery of Refrigerant

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 2015, Daikin Industries, Ltd. recovered a total of approximately 293 tons of refrigerants.

Types of Fluorocarbons Recovered during Maintenance (Daikin Industries, Ltd. only)

Types of Fluorocarbons Recovered during Maintenance (Daikin Industries, Ltd. only)

Helping Customers Prevent Refrigerant Leakage

The Act on Rational Use and Proper Management of Fluorocarbons went into effect in April 2015 in Japan. This law obligates commercial air conditioner users and owners to conduct strict management of refrigerants to ensure they do not leak during product usage.

In response, since October 2015 we have been offering a free smartphone web application that allows customers to easily inspect for possible refrigerant leakage.

Training Technicians for Refrigerant Recovery and Installation

The recovery of refrigerants requires special knowledge and skills, and Daikin Industries, Ltd. provides these through 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 2015, 1,567 people, mostly from retailers and installers, passed the test. Of all those registered as refrigerant recovery technicians in Japan, 53.0% took the Daikin technician training course.

The Act on Rational Use and Proper Management of Fluorocarbons went into effect in April 2015, and in response we must conduct strict management of refrigerants to ensure they do not leak during product usage. Persons conducting equipment inspections and refrigerant filling work are also obligated to acquire new certifications. In response, Daikin has been holding workshops for people who have acquired certification as first and second grade refrigerant fluorocarbons handling technicians. We have also held seminars on the Act on Rational Use and Proper Management of Fluorocarbons for employees of buildings and large stores using Daikin products, and contracted maintenance outlets.

In fiscal 2015, workshops that we held for people who have acquired certification as first and second grade refrigerant fluorocarbons handling technicians were attended by 6,977 people throughout Japan.

Daikin Begins Certification System for Refrigerant Pipe Installation Technicians

Refrigerant pipe installation trainingRefrigerant 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 2015, 1,069 retailers and installers had been certified.

Installing Refrigerant Recovery Equipment, Training Personnel in Refrigerant Recovery

Refrigerant recovery is obligatory under law in European countries. Daikin is actively providing training to employees in countries like France and Italy that will allow participants to obtain official certification in specialties such as gas welding and fluorocarbon gas handling.

In China and other parts of Asia, Daikin sales companies’ service divisions have refrigerant recovery equipment. Refrigerant recovery workers fully realize the importance of such equipment to the environment as they carry out their job of recovering refrigerants at the request of customers.

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