BHS Sonthofen wins GreenTec Award for recycling of refrigerators

BHS-Sonthofen and Sülzle Kopf Anlagenbau GmbH were awarded 2nd prize for their "IC-Process" in the "Recycling & Resources" category at the GreenTec Awards 2015. The process facilitates recycling of shredded solids and completely converts the coolants and fuels contained in refrigerators into harmless substances such as water vapor, carbon dioxide and salt solutions.

Dennis Kemmann, Managing Director of BHS-Sonthofen GmbH, and Peter Althaus, General Sales Manager of Sülzle Kopf Anlagenbau GmbH, were honored with this prize at the awards ceremony in the Berlin Tempodrom on May 29, 2015, to which 1000 representatives from business, science, politics, culture and media had been invited.

The IC process took 2nd place among 250 international submissions under the slogan “The next generation of environmentally friendly refrigerator recycling” in the “Recycling and Resources” category.

Dennis Kemmann recognizes not only benefits for the environment, but also the process’s economic attractiveness: “The jury has publicly honored our success in handling a problem which had remained unsolved for a very long time: The IC process not only drastically reduces the emission of pollutants in refrigerator recycling, it also operates efficiently. The low energy consumption also allows us to reduce emissions and protect valuable resources.” Moreover, pentane, which is being used more and more in modern refrigerators, has an enormous energy content and thus supports the treatment of the gases all the way up to thermally self-sufficient operation.

The IC process, jointly developed by BHS-Sonthofen and Sülzle Kopf Anlagenbau, is a complete solution for the efficient recycling of refrigerators. It combines mechanical crushing of the devices with thermal catalytic oxidation of the coolants and propellants contained in the refrigerators with CFCs and hydrocarbons. The product name “IC” stands for the words “Impact” (for mechanical crushing by impact effects) and “Catalyst” (for catalytic oxidation).

The end products of the process are just the shredded solids, carbon dioxide, and a salt solution. Since the new process makes several of the steps required for other processes unnecessary, it also significantly reduces processing costs.

The very first plant for this type of gas treatment on an industrial scale is currently under construction. The project is being funded by the German Federal Environment Ministry. The system is expected to achieve a reduction in hazardous materials of around 99.9 percent. Since the new process operates at much lower temperatures than other comparable processes (at 530 C instead of 1200 C), its lower energy requirement decreases annual CO2 emissions by around 1400 tons.


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