PureSphera has a unique technological platform for recycling refrigeration and air conditioning equipment.
PureSphera is finalizing the rollout in Bécancour of the Centre de Gestion Intégrée des Halocarbures, the only initiative of its kind in North America, which will create more than 70 jobs and investment of $7.4M. This centre can manage all stages in the recycling of cooling equipment.
This unique infrastructure for processing cooling equipment and destroying halocarbons has required an investment of $17.2M since 2008, including $10.2M from private sources.
Watch a presentation on our technological platform.
In 2016, PureSphera acquired all the assets and Canadian operations of Recyclage ÉcoSolutions Inc., a company that produced many benefits and created a unique business model.
(Video in French only)
Pick up and receiving
Each appliance is identified with a unique bar code upon collection at the citizen’s location, to ensure its traceability throughout the process. Upon arrival at the treatment facility, the appliance is further characterized, namely by its date of manufacture, the type of refrigerant it contains, and the type of insulation (polyurethane foam or fiberglass wool). Some mobile parts (drawers, plastic and glass shelving, lamps, etc.) are then removed. Also, equipment containing hazardous materials, such as mercury switches, are removed at that stage and directed to specialized firms for their secure disposal.
Draining the cooling circuit and compressor
Using a mechanized hydraulic arm, the appliance is positioned so as to ensure an optimal drainage of the cooling circuit and compressor. An automated vacuum system is connected to the cooling circuit to extract both the refrigerant and the oil (generally contaminated with CFCs, HFCs or HCFCs) from the compressor in a leak-proof, airtight environment. The oil and refrigerant mixture thus extracted is then heated to separate the refrigerant (stored in pressurized cylinders) from the oil (stored in a separate tank). The compressor is then removed from the appliance and managed distinctly.
Refrigerator and freezer carcasses are mechanically directed to a shredder. The shredding process is conducted in a negative atmosphere to prevent losses of CFCs, HFCs and HCFCs present in the insulating foam. Nitrogen generators replace oxygen to prevent explosions and ensure cold milling. The gases captured are filtered and reused in the process. A sophisticated materials transportation system then separates the heavy fraction (steel, aluminum, copper, and plastics) from the lighter fraction (polyurethane foam).
Separating the shredded materials
Metals are further separated using a magnetic belt (steel) and Eddy current (aluminum, copper) separators, and plastics end up in a distinct container. The light fraction (foam insulation) is directed towards a silo, further shredded into a fine dust, and then heated to extract remaining CFCs, HFCs and HCFCs. A series of pressurizations and cooling condenses these ODSs, which are then stored in pressurized cylinders. The resulting powder is cooled down and ready for reuse or recycling.
The vast majority of materials recovered is weighed and sold to specialized end-users. Compressors are recovered for their steel and copper content. Steel is melted and reused for rebar and sheet steel. Aluminum and copper are also recovered and transformed in a multitude of different products. Plastics are sorted and sold locally. The compressor oil is recovered and resold by an authorized agent.
Refrigerants (CFC, HFC, HCFC) extracted from treated appliances are then destroyed in compliance with the regulations.