Chemical-recycling company expanding in Champaign

Chemical-recycling company expanding in Champaign

CHAMPAIGN – Hudson Technologies has more than doubled the size of its refrigerant-reclamation center in Champaign and is adding more employees there.

The New York-based company opened a 48,000-square-foot center at 3402 N. Mattis Ave., C, in 2003 and recently leased another 60,000 square feet in a nearby building at 1617 Interstate Drive, C.

Company President Brian Coleman said as a result of the expansion he expects to add another eight or nine employees to the 20 already employed in Champaign.

The center recycles refrigerants, removing impurities – including moisture, oils and other contaminants – so they can be sold for reuse.

Because production of one kind of refrigerant – hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) – is scheduled to begin being phased out in 2010, Coleman said, his company is expecting heavy demand for recycling of that refrigerant – thus the expansion.

Most refrigerants recycled at the Champaign facility arrive in cylinders by truck from contractors who service cooling and refrigeration systems, Coleman said.

The reclamation process restores the gases to "virgin" condition, matching standards set for refrigerants made by Du- Pont and Honeywell, he added.

Production of another group of refrigerants – known as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) – was phased out in the 1990s, and legislation is being considered to phase out production of a third group, known as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).

But even when production of refrigerants is restricted, the gases continue to be used, and Hudson Technologies sees a growing market for reclaiming them.

Hudson Technologies is one of the largest refrigerant reclamation firms in the nation, Coleman said. Besides reclaiming refrigerants, it provides on-site decontamination services for large cooling systems.

The company, based in Pearl River, N.Y., also has facilities in Orangeburg, N.Y.; Charlotte, N.C.; Baton Rouge, La.; and Auburn, Wash., that provide varying degrees of processing. But the Champaign facility is Hudson's primary reclamation center for the United States, Coleman said.

Nationally, the company employs 77, including air-conditioning and refrigeration technicians, chemists and engineers as well as sales and administrative personnel.

A statement from Hudson's chairman and chief executive officer, Kevin J. Zugibe, said Hudson is increasing its reclamation capacity for what's expected to be a fourfold increase in the reclamation of HCFCs. They currently make up about 60 percent of the refrigerant market.

The Environmental Protection Agency has estimated that as of Jan. 1, 2010, the demand for HCFCs will exceed the supply of new HCFC refrigerants by about 20 percent, Zugibe stated.

That gap is expected to be filled by reclaimed and recycled refrigerants, he said.

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