RAL CO2OL-Print: Calculating CO2 reductions in fridge recycling operations

Mobile RAL CO2OL-Print analyser (Foto: RAL Quality Assurance Association)

Luxembourg — At the beginning of 2014, the RAL Quality Assurance Association for the Demanufacture of Refrigeration Equipment introduced its new climate protection tool RAL CO2OL-Print. Currently, companies in six European countries are using the tool to determine the savings in carbon dioxide emissions achieved through their fridge demanufacturing activities.

The monitoring procedures are used to keep track of the chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrocarbons (HCs) and other CO2 relevant materials recovered during both steps of the demanufacturing process. This monitoring data enables precise calculation of the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (in terms of CO2 equivalents), thus making a fridge demanufacturing company’s contribution to carbon reduction targets both transparent and measurable.

Monitoring of all input and output materials

Complete transparency regarding all of the materials fed into and removed from the demanufacturing plant is a key requirement for applying the RAL CO2OL-Print tool. Calculating the quantities of CO2 equivalents actually saved as a result of day-to-day demanufacturing operations – rather than just estimates based on theoretical data – requires the highly detailed determination and recording of the plant’s input and, especially, its output flow streams. The requisite data has to be logged in detail every day. The EN 50574:2012 standard and the monitoring regime it sets out provide an ideal basis for generating the data required by the RAL CO2OL-Print tool.

The EN 50574:2012 standard, which is valid in all European countries, requires the determination and documentation of the masses of all refrigerants and blowing agents recovered during Step 1 and Step 2 processing. In terms of practical implementation, however, this requires more than just simply recording the gross masses of CFCs and HCs recovered by the fridge demanufacturing plant. As refrigerants and blowing agents are never collected as pure substances and are typically present as mixtures, the EN standard requires continuous analysis of the chemical composition of the refrigerants and blowing agents recovered.

For proper treatment of WEEE

Once the fractions of CFCs and HCs have been determined, they can be exactly converted into CO2 equivalents and incorporated into the company’s overall carbon balance. In practice, mobile analysers have become established as the preferred means of sampling and analysing the refrigerants as these devices provide a fast and simple means of precisely determining the composition of the refrigerants in the gas collection cylinders.

RAL CO2OL-Print is available to all participants in the fridge recycling sector. For recycling companies, take-back systems and appliance manufacturers with responsibility for the proper treatment of WEEE the new RAL CO2OL-Print tool offers a transparent and independently certified means of quantifying their positive contribution to achieving greenhouse gas reduction targets. If product demanufacturing is to be the mirror image of manufacturing, it will have to embrace the same quality assurance principles that are so central to modern production processes. For companies operating in the fridge recycling industry this means adopting complete transparency regarding the recovery of environmentally relevant materials.

More transparency, more control

Thanks to the successful launch of RAL CO2OL-Print, manufacturing companies in Luxembourg, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Sweden and Greece can now quantify the work they are doing towards achieving climate protection goals and can have these achievements certified by the RAL Quality Assurance Association. The companies using the methodology have implemented numerous measures aimed at making the services they provide more transparent and more controllable.

More information can be found under ral-guetezeichen.de.

Source: RAL Quality Assurance Association for the Demanufacture of Refrigeration Equipment