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Response to Climate Change

Recovery, Recycle and Destruction of Fluorocarbons

Response to Climate Change


Recovery, Recycle 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 several hundred to several thousand times greater than that of CO2.

Daikin is the only comprehensive air conditioner manufacturer developing everything from refrigerant to air conditioners and engaging in the recovery, recycle and destruction of refrigerants. 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, recycle, and destroy 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. We ensure thorough recovery of refrigerants by striving to improve our technique in air conditioner installation thereby preventing refrigerant leakage during product use, as well as making sure to recover the refrigerant before conducting any service work at the time of air conditioner repair and replacement.

Efforts to Prevent Environmental Burden from Fluorocarbon Emissions

Efforts to Prevent Environmental Burden from Fluorocarbon Emissions

Recovery and Destruction of Refrigerants

Recovery and Destruction of Refrigerants

Efforts during Production

Fluorocarbon Recovery Equipment Ensures Proper Destruction of Refrigerants (Air Conditioning Divisions)

The fluorocarbons emitted in the production processes of the chemicals divisions 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 reuse it as raw material for the production of fluorochemical products.

In Japan, in fiscal 2015 we expanded destruction facilities at the Yodogawa Plant, striving to further reduce the amount of emissions. We reduced emissions of HFC-23, a by-product of production processes with an extremely high global warming potential. In fiscal 2019, we made improvements to the HFC recovery system at the Kashima Plant and reduced emissions by 3,000 tons-CO2 compared to the previous year.

Overseas, Daikin plants voluntarily recover gas and destroy it either in house or through a contracted destruction facility. Daikin has stepped up recovery of PFC-c318, and improved its gas recovery methods, 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 (Machinery Divisions)

During the air conditioner manufacturing process at our worldwide production bases we do everything possible to prevent refrigerants (HFCs, HCFCs) leakage during charging.

These measures include the following:

  • We inspect all pipes for leakage before charging refrigerants.
  • 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 charging to ensure there are no leaks.
  • We are converting to low global warming potential refrigerants.
  • We introduced charging machines that largely control emissions during charging.

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 2019, the refrigerant emissions ratio was 0.2% at Daikin in Japan and 0.3% 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.

Also, we carry out leakage prevention for facilities such as chillers used in research and development.

  • Upgraded steel pipe of aging direct expansion chillers
  • Automatic detection tray for identifying slow leaks at an early stage
  • Use direct method to inspect connection points using a leak tester for air conditioners with large refrigerant charge amount at the time of simple inspections
Recovering refrigerant

Recovering refrigerant

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, Daikin in Japan has placed stickers on its refrigeration and air conditioning equipment for the Japanese market that show that fluorocarbons are being monitored. In accordance with the Act on Rational Use and Proper Management of Fluorocarbons went into effect from 2015, these 'visualization' stickers have shown the global warming impact 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)

Efforts during Installation, Use and Repair

Daikin Begins Certification System for Refrigerant Pipe Installation Technicians

The development of technicians able to properly install refrigerant piping is essential for the prevention of faulty piping installation, one of the causes of refrigerant leakage during use. Since April 2011, Daikin Industries, Ltd. has been conducting a training course for refrigerant pipe technicians. We also became the first manufacturer to establish an in-house system for certifying that refrigerant piping installers have outstanding knowledge, techniques, skills, and ethics in this area. As of the end of fiscal 2019, a cumulative total of 1,250 people (including nine people who were recertified) at dealers and installers had been certified.

Refrigerant piping installation training

Refrigerant piping installation training

Helping Customers Prevent Refrigerant Leakage

The Act on Rational Use and Proper Management of Fluorocarbons went into effect in April 2015 in Japan with the aim of strengthening the prevention of fluorocarbon leaks that cause global warming. Accordingly, this law obligates commercial air conditioner users and managers to conduct strict management of refrigerants to ensure they do not leak during product usage. In response, since October 2015 we have offered the free smartphone app "Daikin Fluorocarbon Check Tool (Dfct)" that can identify and list equipment subject to this law just by photographing the equipment. It also provides notifications for periodic inspections and a simple checklist menu for all equipment.

In fiscal 2018, Assisnet Service was launched, through which regular inspections are conducted by service engineers of Daikin Industries, Ltd. By attaching a low cost communicative LPWA device to outdoor unit, operational data on the air conditioner can be automatically collected to provide services such as email notification to managers in case of any operational abnormalities, as well as reminder of maintenance period for outdoor unit based on the cumulative operational hours of each compressor, thereby reducing the man-hours on air conditioning equipment management.

Dfct is also used throughout Daikin Industries, Ltd. to thoroughly manage all equipment located inside the company. In fiscal 2018, all equipment was registered and managed through Dfct.

In fiscal 2019, we upgraded Dfct to be compliant with a legal revision that took effect in April 2020 and updated the operating manual to inform users and others.

Moreover, incidents of refrigerant leakage are shared across the company and inspections implemented in striving to prevent future leakage incidents.

Repair 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 in Japan has recovery equipment at service stations across Japan that carry out such repair work, and this equipment is used to recover refrigerant before any repair work begins. In fiscal 2019, Daikin Industries, Ltd. recovered 270 tons of refrigerants.

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

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

Efforts during Disposal

Installing Refrigerant Recovery Equipment, Training Personnel in Refrigerant Recovery

At Daikin, refrigerant recovery equipment is deployed to sales company service divisions in each country. Regardless of differences in the laws and regulations of each country, all technicians conduct refrigerant recovery work with a strong awareness of environmental measures.

In accordance with fluorocarbon regulations in Europe, especially in countries like France and Italy, Daikin provides training to employees and dealers as a certification course for the acquisition of national certification in gas welding and fluorocarbon handling.

In Asia and Oceania, refrigerant recovery training is conducted within instructors development training, which was held five times in fiscal 2018 with a total of 32 national instructors deployed to sales companies in each country. In some countries, refrigerant recovery trainings were also conducted for service cooperation stores that requested them.

Refrigerant Recovery Network System

In Japan, we are thorough in our recovery of fluorocarbons (refrigerants) from commercial refrigeration and air conditioning equipment. 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. By entering the type and quantity of equipment for each case of refrigerant recovery and the amount of refrigerant recovered, we accurately ascertain refrigerant recovery rates and thoroughly manage compliance with the Act on Rational Use and Proper Management of Fluorocarbons.

Companies responsible for charging, recovering, recycling and destroying refrigerants add up the total amounts they charged, recovered, recycled and destroyed, which they are required to report annually to prefectural governments in Japan. As this system also assists with generating these reports, it contributes to these companies working more efficiently.

In addition, even overseas in European and North American countries with strict regulations, we have established recovery systems similar to that used in Japan to manage the process from recovery to destruction. In other regions, we also comply with regulations in each country and take appropriate measures from the perspective of environmental protection.

Further, Daikin destruction equipment is used in Japan and Thailand to thoroughly destroy fluorocarbons.

Fluorocarbon Recovery Network System

Fluorocarbon Recovery Network System

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 2019, 1,273 people, mostly from dealers and installers, took the course.

Workers who inspect or charge air conditioners with refrigerant are required by law to obtain certification based on the Act on Rational Use and Proper Management of Fluorocarbons. Daikin holds 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.

Workshops held in fiscal 2019, for people who have acquired certification as first and second grade refrigerant fluorocarbons handling technicians were attended by 339 people (first grade) and 907 people (second grade) throughout Japan.

Overseas, in April 2018, we began implementation of the R-32 air conditioner installation and refrigerant recovery technology workshops at the Singapore training base in order to disseminate R-32, a refrigerant with low global warming potential. Daikin provides the Singapore training base with information from training in Japan for use in these workshops.

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

We take requests from dealers and other businesses for the proper recovery and destruction of refrigerants. The Daikin Contact Center receives calls all day, every day. Recovered refrigerants are taken to our Yodogawa Plant, Kashima Plant, or one of the contracted destruction facilities around Japan where they are properly destroyed or handed over to recyclers authorized under the Act on Rational Use and Proper Management of Fluorocarbons.

In fiscal 2019, the total amount of refrigerants destroyed in the recovery and destruction business by the Daikin Group in Japan was 430 tons.

Fluorocarbon destruction facilities (Yodogawa Plant)

Fluorocarbon destruction facilities (Yodogawa Plant)

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

Amount Destroyed in Fluorocarbon Recovery and Destruction At Time of Repair and at Time of Disposal (Domestic Group)
Note:
Amount destroyed at contracted destruction facilities around Japan including our Yodogawa Plant and Kashima Plant.

Supporting the Recovery, Recycle and Destruction of Refrigerants in Emerging Countries

In emerging countries, Daikin cooperates with the Japanese government, national governments and other agencies to conduct foundational research aimed at creating refrigerant recovery, recycle and destruction schemes among other support for the recovery, recycle and destruction of fluorocarbons.

For two years since fiscal 2016, Daikin was entrusted by the Ministry of the Environment to engage in research projects for the purpose of supporting developing countries, and in cooperation with the United Nations Environment Programme in Sri Lanka, we worked on promoting energy-saving air conditioners created refrigerant recovery, recycle and destruction schemes. Moreover, based on survey results obtained over a two-year period, we compiled policy recommendations that were proposed to the government of Sri Lanka.

Daikin aims to implement new demonstration testing in Sri Lanka from fiscal 2019 onward. In fiscal 2018, we conducted field surveys and task sorting for the successful model of a refrigerant recovery system in Australia.

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