Online platform will trade recovered HFC refrigerants

A new, EU-funded online platform has been launched to enable trading of reclaimed HFC refrigerants in Europe. The website, called Retradeables, has been designed to provide a simple, viable market where used F-gases – or fluorinated refrigerants – can be bought, reclaimed and sold for further use.

Users can access a live online exchange for the collection, reclamation and trade of used F-gas. Retradeables says that supply and demand is monitored and guaranteed by data for full transparency. Users log in and search for sellers or buyers, then submit an offer. A simple contractual obligation is established, and then handling (collection, removal, sale and reclamation) is agreed by the contractual partners.

In terms of quality control between traders of reclaimed refrigerant, a spokesperson for the platform says: “Retradeables supports the control of the recovered and sold refrigerant by giving the sellers the possibility to provide whole or a part of certificates to the buyer with bidding price on board. Buyers selects the items that they want to buy. In case of a dispute between seller and buyer, a third-party certification will be arranged.”

The project has received funding from the LIFE Programme of the European Union. It also has support from a consortium of Daikin Europe, the Society for Materials and Energy Applications (MAT4NRG) and the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA).

Retradeables is already fully running in three European countries: Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. It will be rolled out to more EU countries soon. At this stage the platform is neither designed to focus on a particular segment of the HVAC&R sector, nor a specific size of contractor.

Retradeables says that the platform can help create a circular economy for HFCs, consolidate data on the quantity and quality of the European HFC bank, and help eradicate illegal refrigerants in the EU marketplace.

“Reclamation and re-use of existing F-gas supplies is an essential first step to reduce carbon emissions and reach our climate goals,” says Retradeables. “Our trading platform pushes reclamation to the forefront of our industry.”

Australia has had its own national recovery and destruction program in place for many years, administered by Refrigerant Reclaim Australia (RRA). General Manager Kylie Farrelley presented the latest recovery data from Australia at AIRAH’s Refrigeration 2021 Conference earlier this week.

When asked about Retradeables, Farrelley praised the intent of the initiative.

“The reclamation and re-use of used refrigerant makes sense and is a good thing to do,” she says. “Reclaiming refrigerant reduces impact on the environment, as less new refrigerant needs to be manufactured and transported across the globe. RRA supports reclamation in Australia by offering the contractor a rebate on recovered suitable for reclamation.”

Under the Gas Seeker initiative, RRA is offering triple the usual rebates until June 30, 2021.

As to whether a platform like Retradeables could work in Australia, Farrelley says that strict controls would need to be put in place to ensure the reclaimed product met new specifications and all aspects of ARC licensing requirements.

She also note that the reclaim system is already well established in this country.

“The reclamation of refrigerants, primarily R22, has taken place in Australia for many years,” says Farrelley. “As there are several companies set up to safely manage this process, it is expected that more refrigerants will be reclaimed in near future as the amount of HFC imported into Australia declines in line with the Australia’s HFC phase-down legislative requirements.”

For more information on the Retradeables platform, click here.

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