Response to Climate Change
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, reclamation 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, reclaim, 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.
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, a new incinerator was installed at Kashima Plant in fiscal 2021. This incinerator with an increased fluorocarbon destruction capacity will begin full-scale operations in summer 2022.
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.
During the air conditioner manufacturing process at our worldwide production bases we do everything possible to prevent refrigerants leakage during charging.
These measures include the following:
All this and other related works are done by certified technicians according to maintenance manual procedures. Technicians also undergo training every year based on the manual.
In fiscal 2021, we expanded the use of couplers (joints) which have less leakage during charging. Following their introduction at the Shiga Plant and Daikin Air-conditioning (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. last year, in fiscal 2021 we introduced couplers at Daikin Air-conditioning (Suzhou) Co., Ltd. In addition, by converting to a lower global warming potential refrigerant, we are reducing CO2-equivalent emissions. Furthermore, for the gas used in the inspection process, we have switched to helium, which does not deplete the ozone layer and is not a greenhouse gas. In 2021, the refrigerant emissions ratio during charging was 0.2% at Daikin both in Japan and overseas.
In addition to the above, we carry out leakage prevention for facilities such as chillers used in research and development.
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.
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.
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 March 2022, we added the function to register both outdoor and indoor units as a pair system instead of separate units, making it easier for equipment management following legal regulations.
Moreover, in fiscal 2018, Assisnet Service was launched, through which regular inspections are conducted by service engineers of Daikin Industries, Ltd. By attaching IoT terminal such as 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. We have made refrigerant leak detection function a standard feature in the new models released in the SkyAir series of air conditioners for retail store and office use and in the VRV6 series of multi-split type air conditioners for commercial buildings released in October 2021, with the email notification feature via Assisnet Service enabled in case of a refrigerant leak.
Also at Daikin Industries, Ltd., all equipment located inside the company is operated and managed after having been registered on Dfct in fiscal 2018. Moreover, incidents of refrigerant leakage are shared across the company and inspections implemented in striving to prevent future leakage incidents.
In Europe, where people are advocating for a circular economy, there is growing demand for the recovery and reclamation of refrigerants from used air conditioners, from the standpoint of the importance of resource recycling and stable supply of refrigerants. Daikin has established a system for recovering, reclaiming and reusing refrigerants from used air conditioners in the European market.
Daikin has established three routes: simple reclaiming that removes impurities such as oil and water based on the quality condition of the recovered refrigerant, full-scale reclaiming that breaks the refrigerant down by component and then readjusts components at a plant to reclaim the quality as good as that of virgin refrigerant, and destruction for refrigerant that cannot be reclaimed.
In the process of establishing these routes, Daikin Europe N.V. cooperated with A-Gas, a company based in the U.K. that recovers and reclaims refrigerant, and released simple reclaiming equipment under the Daikin brand in fiscal 2019. Daikin Refrigerants Europe GmbH owns a destruction plant in Germany and began operating a reclamation plant there, too. By utilizing this scheme, in fiscal 2019, Daikin Europe N.V. commenced sales of VRV L∞P by Daikin air conditioners that use reclaimed refrigerant.
In emerging countries, Daikin cooperates with the Japanese government, national governments and other stakeholders to create refrigerant recovery, reclamation and destruction schemes.
In fiscal 2020, a recovery and reclamation system was established in Singapore. Starting in fiscal 2021, Daikin began considering a recovery system in Thailand and Vietnam.
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, reclaiming and destroying refrigerants add up the total amounts they charged, recovered, reclaimed 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.
To strengthen our efforts, Daikin established a promotion team that integrates the chemical divisions which handle refrigerants with the air conditioning divisions in Japan in fiscal 2021. Our goal is to commercialize the recovery and reclamation of refrigerants that used to be destroyed through cooperation with governments and other companies to improve the refrigerant recovery rate, which is still low, in the future.
Even overseas in European 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.
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 2021, the total amount of refrigerants destroyed in the recovery and destruction business by the Daikin Group in Japan was 401 tons.
Fluorocarbon destruction facilities (Yodogawa Plant)
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 2020, Daikin Industries, Ltd. recovered 303 tons of refrigerants.
Read about Daikin's free smartphone app "Daikin Fluorocarbon Check Tool (Dfct)" (Defacto), which can be used as an inspection tool for air conditioners (available in Japanese only)
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 Japan, the Act on Rational Use and Proper Management of Fluorocarbons was amended and enforced in April 2020. We are ensuring everyone is aware of the issuance of a copy of the recovery certificate at the time of equipment disposal and requirement to store the inspection and maintenance record for three years following the disposal of equipment in accordance with the same law.
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/Oceania and other regions, we are also conducting refrigerant recovery trainings at sales companies as well as for service partners.
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, they are registered as refrigerant recovery technicians by the Refrigerants Recycling Promotion and Technology Center. In fiscal 2021, 1,603 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 2021, for people who have acquired certification as first and second grade refrigerant fluorocarbons handling technicians were attended by 356 people (first grade) and 1,035 people (second grade) throughout Japan. Moreover, as fiscal 2021 was the time for the five-year renewal for those technicians who received certification in the first year, 513 people (first grade) and 1,185 people (second grade) attended the workshops.
Overseas, since fiscal 2018, we have been implementing 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.
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