Airgas Refrigerants Separation Column Allows Mixed, Previously Unusable Refrigerant Gases to Be Purified

September 28, 2015

Airgas Refrigerants launched a refrigerant separation column designed and built to separate previously unusable gases which often had to be thermally destroyed. Airgas engineered the new separation column to first focus on specific CFC and HCFC gases, recognizing that the upcoming phaseout of R-22 will require continued need for this gas, as well as other HCFCs and HFCs that may be phased out in the future.

“Airgas has been leading a charge toward sustainability,” said Emmanuel Dupree, President of Airgas Refrigerants. “This effort in Airgas Refrigerants exemplifies the company’s spirit of innovation and also our commitment to do right for the future by saving these gases for later use instead of destroying them.”

The column is located at the Airgas Refrigerants Atlanta facility. Technicians test cylinders of mixed gases, combining those that have one common gas and a similar composition of mixed gases in the column. Utilizing automated proprietary control methods, the technicians vary the pressure and temperature to separate any refrigerants from R-22 to R-410A, and any near-azeotrope gases available in the refrigerant industry today.

The separation column distills individual gases to very high purity levels. Once separated, these refrigerant gases can then be processed to AHRI-700 purity specifications and packaged for future customer requirements. These gases can include common refrigerants used in everyday refrigerant applications or rare CFCs that have been out of production for decades.

“Mistakes are made, and cylinders intended for capture of only one refrigerant gas can become contaminated by mixing in one or more gases,” said John Bryant, Field Services Manager for Airgas Refrigerants. “Now, instead of being a hazard and an expense to destroy these gases, we are able to take these contaminated products and turn them it into usable refrigerant for future distribution into the industry. It’s a win-win-win scenario for our customers, the environment and Airgas.”