The experts at A-Gas share the process behind sustainable refrigerant solutions.
Reducing impact and ultimately leaving the planet in the best shape possible is the foundation for global chemical company A-Gas. They differ from other chemical companies in that they go full circle with their products—from conception to end-of-life and safe destruction.
A-Gas works with a variety of specialty chemicals—including refrigerants—on recovery, destruction, buyback, and reclamation, among other things. If they can’t find a sustainable solution to meet customers’ needs, they will invest in the technology to do so. “We want to limit the effects new production can have on the environment while still providing the critical-use products to consumers that allow them to maintain the lifestyle they are used to,” says Robert Hennessy, chief commercial officer at A-Gas.
Hennessy recently gave green HVACR an inside look at the process behind sustainable refrigerant solutions as well as more insight into the industry as a whole.
green HVACR: How is the refrigerant industry changing?
Hennessy: The biggest thing is the awareness of environmental impact and the search for solutions instead of just identifying problems. There are multinational chemical manufacturers working to develop new molecules that have a lower environmental impact, but you still have an install base of older products that have a negative environmental impact. The industry is changing in the sense that people are looking to find new ways to solve the problem but, in the meantime, there are still all these high global warming, ozone-depleting substances out there. That is where we fit in.
green HVACR: How is A-Gas changing the game?
Hennessy: We work with regulatory bodies to figure out how to solve environmental challenges and invest in technologies that additionally help to solve these problems. At the end of the day you want cold air, and these gases and liquids provide that, but we are looking for ways to provide those amenities without causing environmental destruction. We want to remove the harmful products, and we recycle the existing so we don’t have to produce new or more of these negative-impact products.
green HVACR: What makes your products unique?
Hennessy: Our products are not unique. Anybody with money or storage capability can import, blend, or collect refrigerants. What is unique about A-Gas are the solutions we provide and how we manage the life cycle. We are the only company in the world that can recover onsite, reclaim, recycle, sell back, and destroy these chemicals all under one roof.
green HVACR: What does being an expert in life cycle management mean for your company and your customers?
Hennessy: Every step in the life cycle of a refrigerant can be positively affected by the work we do. If you are an end user and you have a chiller full of R12 and need to replace that chiller, you would need tocontact someone to come and safely recover the refrigerant from that unit. Some companies will hire a contractor to come remove the refrigerant, then once removed, find someone who will buy or dispose of that so it’s not vented into the atmosphere. We can recover the refrigerant, reclaim it if still viable, or destroy it without producing harmful emissions and, in many cases, actually pay you to take the refrigerant off your hands. We then provide you with the EPA documents needed to verify your environmental sustainability and legal compliance. We make it easy by providing a total solution to your refrigerant needs. It just takes one call and it’s taken care of safely and legally.
green HVACR: What is your process for developing refrigerant solutions?
Hennessy: We start with mapping our customers’ needs to find out what problems or pain points they are having with a particular product or service. Some have a performance or handling problem, while others may have storage or environmental issues. As a global company, we then utilize our technical and regulatory resources to create a plan that will solve the customer’s problem. If a suitable solution does not exist, we will invest to create one. Our process is based around limiting environmental hazards, while keeping our customers compliant and happy.