Fluorinated gas emissions, mainly employed in the refrigeration sector, are one of the main contributors to climate change. These emissions have increased 60% since 1990. If this trend continues, in 2050 fluorinated emissions are expected to have a 4 to 5-fold increase.
Nowadays, due to the lack of available technology, most of the depleted fluorinated gases employed as refrigerants are treated as residues and incinerated.
In this context, the objective of the LIFE-4_FGASES Project is to demonstrate an innovative technology that allows the selective recovery of the fluorinated gases present in commercial refrigerant blends and, therefore, their reutilization, minimizing their environmental impact.
The innovative hybrid system developed for LIFE-4-FGASES, the so called HAMSYS (Hybrid Adsorption and Membrane Systems), integrates membrane technology and adsorption processes:
1. Coalescing filtration to purify the fluorinated gases, eliminating moisture and other possible liquid aerosols.
2. Heat exchanger for temperature conditioning of the blends, allowing the evaluation of the influence of this variable in the process.
1. Polymeric membrane module that allows a selective recovery of the fluorinated gases present in the blends, based on permeability differences.
2. Adsorption system that uses activated carbon to preferentially adsorb one of the fluorinated gases present in the blends.
1. Compressor for the transportation of the separated fluorinated gases meant for storage.
2. Heat exchanger for temperature conditioning.
Both technologies have demonstrated their degree of maturity for several commercial applications, however, none of them have been used in a hybrid system at a pilot or real scale within the framework of the objectives established in the LIFE-4-FGASES Project.
The LIFE-4-FGASES Project aims to demonstrate the viability at real scale of a hybrid system which integrates membrane technology and adsorption processes to achieve a selective recovery and subsequent valorisation of depleted fluorinated gases employed as refrigerants.
The Project intends to contribute to the application, updating and development of environmental EU policy, especially in relation to the commitment to fight climate change and to implement the principles of circular economy at industrial level. Furthermore, the developed technology will reach a greater degree of maturity, from laboratory validation (TRL4) to a validation in a relevant environment (TRL7).
The general objective of the project will be accomplished through the following specific objectives:
To design a process for the treatment of 1 kg/h of commercial F-gas blends commonly used as refrigerants, achieving their selective recovery, allowing their subsequent valorisation.
To integrate the designed system into a real industrial waste management facility to maximize the socio-economical and environmental benefits of the project.
To demonstrate, at a pilot scale, the viability of the process to achieve the selective recovery of valuable fluorinated gases (R32, R125 y R134a) from commercial F-gas blends used as refrigerants (R404A, R407C y R410A), fulfilling the requirements established by the AHRI Standard 700 (2019).
To reduce the carbon footprint associated with the production, consumption and conventional waste management (i.e. incineration) of fluorinated gas blends used as refrigerants.
To maximize the impact of the actions included in the project by developing a Communication and Dissemination Plan.
To promote the implementation of the circular economy principles at the refrigeration sector, therefore facilitating the fulfilment of the current legislation, including the regulation related to fluorinated gases and climate change.
After the execution of the project, the following results are expected:
Development of a pilot plant prototype based on a hybrid process which integrates membrane technology and adsorption processes capable of treating more than 1 kg/h of depleted F-gas blends used as refrigerants.
To demonstrate the viability of the integration of this hybrid process (the so called HAMSYS) into a real industrial waste management facility.
To demonstrate the replicability and transferability of the proposed technology in the range of sizes of the industrial waste facilities located in the EU, by using simulation tools.
The reduction of the carbon footprint associated with the use of fluorinated gases used as refrigerants, related to both the reduction of the production necessity and the decrease in the emissions due to the incineration of the depleted commercial F-gases.
To confirm the techno-economical viability of the innovative hybrid system developed in the LIFE-4-FGASES project.