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04 /2024

Exploring Global Best Practices: COPA’s Virtual Study Tour on Sustainable Refrigerant Management

In the spirit of education through exploration, the Climate and Ozone Protection Alliance (COPA) hosted a Virtual Study Tour for its members throughout March and April 2024. This unique initiative aimed to take COPA members on a threefold series of virtual visits to facilities of companies from around the world, sharing their strategies for effectively managing accumulated banks of ozone depleting substances (ODS) and hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) banks. The virtual study tour was supported by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).

The tour started with a warm welcome from Nicole Wilke of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK), emphasizing that “this virtual study tour offers a unique opportunity to explore innovative strategies employed by companies worldwide and effectively managing accumulated banks of ODS and HFC banks”.

The first destination was Chile, where participants virtually visited the Regener plant, the country’s first refrigerant regeneration center, which has been established with the support of UNIDO. Through insightful video demonstrations, attendees were guided step by step through the refrigerant regeneration process, resulting in characteristics equivalent to that of a virgin refrigerant. Expert insights from Rodrigo Serpa (UNIDO), Ken Logan (A-Gas) and Stuart Flemming (EnviroServe) further enriched the session and shared their experiences about refrigerant regeneration in a panel discussion.

Continuing the journey, COPA members traveled higher up north to Ecuador, where they delved into the innovative practices of UNACEM, one of the country’s largest cement companies. UNIDO supported UNACEM in the design, development, and implementation of ODS and HFCs destruction and dosing systems in the cement kiln. UNIDO provided the equipment and the knowhow to reach effective ODS destruction and removal efficiency indicators. By watching a video and listening to a presentation by Xavier Guerra, Head of Environment at UNACEM, the participants learned about the destruction of ODS in a cement kiln. Mr Abdul Ganiyu from the company ZEAL Environmental Technologies Limited complemented the session with his insights into refrigerant destruction methods in Ghana.

The virtual study tour culminated in China, where participants explored Aohong (video), the country’s largest company trading with recovered refrigerants, and Harson (video), a car maintenance service provider recovering refrigerants in mobile air conditioning systems. Prior to the virtual visits, Wang Jia and Zhao Yimin (China Automotive Technology & Research Center, CATARC) provided insights into refrigerant collection and recovery in Chinese automobiles. Wang Haitao, Aohong’s general manager, enriched the discussion with firsthand expertise, joined by Morgan Bove (Climalife), who shared his experience with reclamation practices.

This virtual tour showcased best practice examples of refrigerant reclamation, destruction and dismantling, offering participants invaluable inspiration and practical knowledge for fostering environmentally responsible practices throughout the lifecycle of refrigerants.  


Watch the recordings: