'Refrigerant leak detection is top priority'


22 March 2022
James Henley of Daikin Applied

Environmental concerns and tightening legislation make it more important than ever that refrigeration and air conditioning engineers have access to up-to-date tools that can help them manage the amount of refrigerant gas they use.

With the UK continuing to mirror the European F-Gas regulation, the issue of refrigerant phase down is becoming increasingly significant. By 2030, the UK industry will have to be using just 21% of the global warming gases it was consuming in 2015.

This target has imposed a series of ambitious ‘phase down’ steps and a quota system that gradually tightens the amount of refrigerant gas available to the industry. However, any gas that can be saved by avoiding leakage, along with what can be reclaimed and recycled, remains outside the quota.

As well as the environmental benefits of keeping gas with a high global warming potential (GWP) safely inside systems, this is an increasingly important commercial consideration as the phase down is rapidly pushing up the price of ‘virgin’ gases across European markets.

Daikin Applied UK has been working to continually improve and fine tune its refrigerant leak detection (RLD) technology, and UK engineers now have access to an advanced RLD feature as part of the Daikin on Site (DoS) Premium service and maintenance system.

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The enhanced RLD tool uses an algorithm that can detect even very small, gradual leaks that would otherwise go unreported and start to degrade the performance of the equipment as well as adding to the environmental harm caused by letting gas escape into the atmosphere.

This function was developed in cooperation with TIC and is now automatically available to anyone with a DoS Premium subscription at no additional cost. The software algorithm uses historical data gathered by DoS to monitor refrigerant levels inside the equipment and alerts the operator if a leak is detected.

The TIC software is more sensitive than equivalent RLD tools already on the market and can detect gas leaks as low as just 15% of the total charge measured over a whole year.

“Refrigerant leakage is one of the most common causes of reduced system capacity and poor performance, but until now the slowest leaks have usually gone undetected until they start to cause serious problems,” said Daikin Applied UK’s James Henley.

“That is why we made it a priority to fine tune our existing technology and develop RLD software that will help the system operator nip potentially serious long-term issues in the bud while also helping them manage their refrigerant usage more responsibly.”

Daikin Applied