Life Cycle Assessment of the Separation and Recycling of Fluorinated Gases Using Ionic Liquids in a Circular Economy Framework

Daniel Jovell, Josep O. Pou, Fèlix Llovell, Rafael Gonzalez-Olmos

Research output: Indexed journal article Articlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The stricter regulation regarding the use of fluorinated gases (F-gases), as a consequence of their high Global Warming Potential (GWP), represents a challenge for the refrigeration industry. The design of alternatives requires the recycling of the low to moderate GWP compounds from current refrigerant blends. However, there is not a developed and standardized technology available to recover them, and once the life cycle of the refrigeration equipment has ended, most gases are incinerated. Fluorinated ionic liquids (FILs) can effectively perform as absorbents to the complex separation of F-gas mixtures. In this work, a methodology based on the COSMO-RS thermodynamic package integrated into an Aspen Plus process simulator was used to evaluate the performance of an FIL to recover difluoromethane (R-32) from the commercial blend R-407F. The environmental sustainability of the recovery process (circular economy scenario) was analyzed with a life cycle assessment (LCA) approach, comparing the obtained results with the conventional R-32 production (benchmark scenario). The results reveal a 30% recovery of 98 wt % R-32 suitable for further reuse with environmental load reduction in the 86-99% range compared to the R-32 production. This study can guide the development of new F-gas recovery technologies to improve the environmental impacts of these compounds from a circular economy perspective.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-80
Number of pages10
JournalACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering
Volume10
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jan 2022

Keywords

  • COSMO-RS
  • Circular economy
  • Fluorinated gases recovery
  • Ionic liquids
  • Life cycle assessment (LCA)

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