Market penetration of low-charge ammonia systems is increasing as manufacturers succeed in reducing refrigerant changes, mitigating safety risks and improving efficiency, said Danfoss at Refrigerant Week 2018.
Uptake of low-charge ammonia systems is increasing around the world as manufacturers succeed in reducing refrigerant changes, mitigating safety risks and improving efficiency, said Danfoss in a webinar held during Refrigerant Week 2018.
Ammonia is a very efficient refrigerant, thanks to its chemical properties, according to Danfoss Global Application Manager Niels Vestergaard, who presented the webinar.
Using an ammonia direct expansion (DX) system can reduce the ammonia charge by approximately 50% compared to older systems, and by 1/10 of that used in cascade systems with CO2, Vestergaard said.
Danfoss held the webinar on 26 September as part of its web-based Refrigerant Week 2018, under the topic ‘ Understanding Low-Charge Ammonia systems’.
Vestergaard’s presentation showed that among several recirculating systems in Europe, with several years of operation and an average ammonia charge of 5 kg/kW cooling capacity, the ammonia DX system and ammonia/CO2 cascade system can reduce the aforementioned ammonia charge by up to 50% and by 1/10 or more respectively.
Vestergaard indicated that even though ammonia is a great refrigerant, it still faces a few challenges regarding charges and increased safety requirements.
New innovations and technology evolution towards low-charge ammonia are helping to improve the market prospects for this natural refrigerant. According to Star Refrigeration case study presented during the webinar, the results of a risk assessment comparing a traditional ammonia system (4,535 kg ammonia charge) to a low-charge packaged system with the same cooling capacity (2 x 170 kg ammonia charge) indicated that the area impacted by a potential leak would be considerably less for the low-charge system.
“Ammonia is the natural choice for our industry.”
– Niels Vestergaard, Global Application Manager, Danfoss
Overall, webinar participants identified low-charge ammonia systems as an obvious solution for mitigating toxicity risk and a major trend in industrial refrigeration. Potential solutions to reduce the charge must be evaluated according to customer needs, safety and efficiency.