New South Wales (AU)

The Challenge of Circular Economy - Recycling Refrigerant 410A

The Challenge of Circular Economy - Recycling Refrigerant 410A
  • Date From 27th February 2024
  • Date To 27th February 2024
  • Price From free
  • Location University of New South Wales, TETB LG03, Michael Hintze Theatre, Tyree Energy Technology Building, Kensington and available online.


We welcome you to this hybrid event hosted by The Joint Chemical Engineering Committee (JCEC), New South Wales.

Recycling valuable material to extend its useful life is key to a Circular Economy and Sustainability, but is this just a lofty ideal? This talk will look at a real-world example of such an aspiration and the chemical engineering challenges to be faced if this is not to be just rhetoric.

The refrigerant R410A is designed to replace certain ozone-depleting chlorinated alternatives but has turned out to have significant greenhouse gas potential. It is an azeotropic 50:50 mixture of 2 hydrofluorocarbons, namely R32 and R125, which represent low and high GHG potentials, respectively. While it makes sense to recycle the good and to destroy the bad, the policy in Australia favours total destruction.

A major Japanese refrigeration company, Daikin, has done the numbers using a new LCA method known as LIME3, which shows destruction is 20-fold more environmentally damaging than recycling (USD 810/tonne versus USD 40/tonne). Worldwide there are more than 100,000 tonnes of R410A on death row. Numerous processes, many at the model stage, have been offered to separate these azeotropic mixtures but none has reached the pilot plant stage.

The talk will examine the best of these and also offer the speaker’s alternative process for review.


Wayne Davies, Director SN2 PTY LTD, University of Sydney

Wayne Davies is a chemical engineer with eclectic interests. He took his undergraduate degree and PhD at USYD where he studied a branch of immunology. This led him to a post-doctoral position at  Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and at the Kolling Institute at RNSH where he developed a mathematical model for the kinetics of bactericidal activity of macrophages, possibly a world first. He then returned to USYD where he remained for 16 years as a private consultant. In this capacity, he enjoyed engagements from expert witnessing to mineral processing, destruction of scheduled i.e. toxic, wastes, plant design, process design, cryogenics, and supercritical fluid processes.

Wayne built his own supercritical continuous plant for making biodiesel attracting European interests. He continues to act in legal cases, designing mineral processes and as it happens, processes for responsible recycling of refrigerants.

The material presented in this webinar has not been peer-reviewed. Any opinions are the presenters' own and do not necessarily represent those of IChemE or the JCEC New South Wales. The information is given in good faith but without any liability on the part of IChemE.


  • 18:00 – Doors open
  • 18:10 – Refreshments & networking
  • 18:30 – Introduction
  • 18:35 – Speaker presentation
  • 19:15 – Q&A
  • 20:00 – Doors close


  • IChemE / EA (Chemical College) members and students - free
  • Non members - $30.00AUD

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