Ammonia Refrigeration System: A Natural Cooling Solution

It is now more than a century since ammonia first played a role in the refrigeration process. As an irreplaceable natural refrigerant, this refrigerant is now widely used in green buildings where it offers immense operational and environmental benefits. This is to add to the conventional and more popular applications in the food industry. You have probably have even heard the new phrase on the airwaves “Make Ammonia Great Again”.

Yes, this chemical is making a comeback. The ammonia refrigeration market is growing fast, with IndustryARC Research predicting a 5.2% CAGR growth by 2020. The push for cleaner energy and sustainable environmental practices are proving a good combination. Here are the angles people are looking at regarding the refrigeration issue before settling for ammonia:

  • How assured will continuous availability be of the refrigerant over the next few decades?
  • Do the government and other stakeholders have a positive outlook of the refrigerant?
  • Is the price likely to increase in the near future?

We have reached a point where regulations, peoples’ lifestyles, technology and other factors are dictating the kind of products the market will accept. Our question would therefore be, is the market ready to reaccept ammonia refrigeration systems?

Perhaps, looking at some benefits of the refrigerants will help answer this.

ammonia-refrigeration-district-cooling

Modern Ammonia Refrigeration System

 1. Environmental Compatibility

Cries against environmental degradation are reverberating worldwide. Today, the concern is not just the amount of energy a refrigeration system consumes; overall impact on the environment has taken center stage. Regulations are encouraging the use of refrigerants with low global warming potential (GWP).

District Energy reference book

 

Ammonia has a zero GWP and zero ozone depletion potential (ODP). In other words, the chemical does not harm the environment. Moreover, ammonia has zero contribution to greenhouse effect. Did you know that the chemical has an atmospheric life cycle of less than seven days? Your green building will definitely score highly if you use this chemical as your refrigerant. Ammonia will help your building to get the Leed Building Certificate  

Atomic Structure of Ammonia

Atomic Structure of Ammonia

 

 

2. Safety Is Manageable

There have been some accidents related to ammonia plants back in history. Note that most of these cases are due to errors in procedure. Ammonia is generally a relatively safe refrigerant, compared to the alternatives. Ammonia usage is regulated by the main safety institutions like the NFPA and the OSHA. Ammonia use is promoted by the main refrigeration associations like ASHRAE.

First, the gas is almost two times lighter than air. With a vent, you can easily manage any leaks from the building. This is also the reason you will rarely come across liquefied ammonia. This is different from halocarbons, which can easily settle and cause suffocation.

Also on the safety issue – it takes some effort to ignite ammonia. A limited range of ignition means chances of ammonia fires are minimal.

I am sure your sense of smell got a rude shock the first time you encountered the pungent smell of ammonia. You can easily detect an ammonia leak in your facility. This gives you ample time to repair or replace any defective component in the ammonia refrigeration system.

The smell of ammonia should not necessarily give you sleepless nights. Its effect depends on exposure duration and concentration. As long as concentrations are within workplace exposure limits (WELs), you are safe.

Combining these characteristics with expert handling and training from ARANER can have the best environmental and safety outlook ever for your ammonia refrigeration system.

 

3. Excellent Thermodynamic Properties

Ammonia refrigeration systems are very energy efficient, especially in large buildings. With extra efficiency of up to 10%, this is enough reason for you to change your refrigerant. Imagine, you buy ammonia for less and spend less energy using it. Is there a more profound way of reducing your operational costs?

It is for these reasons that the market is getting fond of ammonia refrigeration systems.

 

Should cost worry you?

Ammonia production worldwide is huge due its multiple application, beyond the application of ammonia as refrigerant. This results in a very low cost. Ammonia price is lower than other refrigerants like R134a.

ARANER can design your chiller system for ammonia. This includes incorporating state of the art alarm systems among other features. Once your system is intact, you can sit back and witness your initial investment paying off within several years of operation.

Building owners have to pause and think when they reach to the point of choosing a refrigeration system. Should I use halocarbons or ammonia? When you consider all of the environmental and other benefits of ammonia refrigeration, the choice becomes easy. Contact ARANER to see how you can use the very reliable and natural ammonia refrigeration systems in your facility.

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