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Call for innovative solutions for detection of refrigerant leaks



  • Distran Ltd.
  • Advantec BSG Carrier

Call for project closed the 28|02|18

The purpose of this project is to develop solutions that can detect refrigerant leaks as soon as possible while also improving the operational efficiency of leak detection systems using new tools or sensors.


  • Enprove
  • graphenicalab S.L.

Suject of the call for project

Purpose of the call for projects

There are already solutions on the market for detecting and locating refrigerant leaks. While these solutions work, they often aren’t efficient enough. The leak rate within refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump systems varies from 0% to 33% depending of businesses (in France in 2015). In some of these areas, no satisfactory solutions exist for detecting leaks. This is the case, for example, for refrigeration units that are located outside or those that do not have a liquid reservoir.

ENGIE is therefore looking for innovative leak detection solutions that:

•         Detect the appearance of a leak on a refrigeration or air conditioning system more quickly
Smart solutions based on indirectly measuring refrigerant levels have appeared on the market in recent years. They can improve efficiency in detection but are only functional on systems with a reservoir.
We are looking for solutions that are more competitive, more efficient or more universal and which above all comply with the regulatory requirements currently in place.
•         Facilitate and make the leak detection process reliable
Legally required leak detection scans or further screening after a leak are done manually using portable detectors or soapy water. Tracers also exist, but are cumbersome to use.
We are looking for solutions or tools that can be used to optimize leak detection. We are also interested in solutions for how to best search for leaks in hard-to-reach areas. We are open to a wide range technical approaches, for example a visual search using imaging systems, or an olfactory approach with gas odorization, etc. Using drones to assess hard-to-reach areas could also be of interest.


Earnings and benefits

Deadline for applications: February 28th, 2018

Rewards and benefits for selected projects:
Depending on the type of solution being proposed, its relevance and its level of maturity, this call for projects may result in the following:
•         Assistance and advice from our business experts in developing a product
•         Providing current and future facilities for testing 
•         Providing ENGIE refrigeration technicians to test solutions in real conditions
•         Participating in financing the development of the proposed solution
•         Making the solution available to our teams of technicians
•         Installing the solution in facilities we maintain 
•         A commercial partnership with the leading French service provider of refrigeration and air conditioning applications
•         Widespread communication among ENGIE subsidiaries in the EU working on leakages to address F-Gas regulations


Description of the call for projects

Detailed description/Context:

Refrigeration or climate-controlled facilities contain fluorinated refrigerants, most of which are fluorinated fluids (HFCs). These fluids have a very high global warming potential (GWP). Refrigeration and air-conditioning systems have a high average leakage rate and thus contribute significantly to global warming. In addition, European-level F-Gas regulations, which aim to reduce the use of fluorinated fluids, have led to significant price increases and shortages that have the potential to make it difficult to maintain the cold chain.

Scanning for and detecting leaks are therefore key ways of limiting the environmental impact of refrigeration plants and ensuring their economic health.

ENGIE is looking for innovative solutions for ways to  detect and locate such leaks in refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump systems. Currently-available technologies for detecting and locating leaks do not allow us to achieve desired outcomes.

The responses to this call must be in line with the relatively strict economic and regulatory situation that this subject entails. Proposed technologies must be able to be developed quickly and rolled out on a large scale within a few months. In order to make economic sense, the cost must be covered within 2-3 years by productivity gains or reductions of refrigerant losses.
Eligibility and selection criteria:

• Suitability for the subject

• Compliance with regulations
• Innovative nature 
• Feasibility / Economic Viability
• Maturity of the project/solution
• Project capacity to be quickly launched
• Quality/price ratio
• Ease of implementation
• Generic solution
Provisional timetable and selection procedure
• Deadline for submitting applications: February 28th, 2018
• Presentation/pitch of shortlisted projects for the selection committee: end of March 2018
• Announcement of winners: April 2018


Selection committee and partners of the call for projects:

• ENGIE Axima
• ENGIE Lab (Cylergie)
• ENGIE Cofely
More info about ENGIE AXIMA

ENGIE Axima is the French leader in HVAC, refrigeration and fire protection.
With a turnover of 1.3 billion euros and 7,500 employees, ENGIE Axima has a unique capacity for research in Europe with 800 engineers and technicians. It controls the entire process, from design to implementation and maintenance, and puts all of its diverse skills to use to make buildings more energy efficient.
More info about ENGIE Lab Cylergie

ENGIE Lab Cylergie is one of the ENGIE Group’s research centers located near Lyon. The research center works to improve energy and environmental efficiency in energy services and also helps transform them through digital technology.
Its research focuses specifically on:
• heating and cooling networks;
• energy efficiency in buildings;
• comfort: thermal, air quality and acoustics;
• renewable energies;
• metrology and tele-systems;
• artificial intelligence.
More info about ENGIE COFELY

ENGIE Cofely is one of the leaders in the energy transition in France and is part of the ENGIE Group, one of the leading energy companies in the world.
As a service company in energy and environmental efficiency, we offer businesses and communities solutions to better use energy and reduce their environmental impact.
Our expertise is based on long-term know-how in:
• improving energy performance in buildings,
• local production of renewable energies,
• multi-technical maintenance and Facility Management.

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