Wednesday July 16, 2014
The US manufacturer of industrial chillers and freezers, Azane, Inc. showcased their revolutionary low charge ammonia refrigeration technology to industry professionals and leading end-users at the most influential conference in natural refrigerants in North America.
Discussions at Atmosphere 2014 focused on the EPA driven R22 phase out and the state of the US refrigeration industry, which has been forced to follow Europe’s lead on a complete elimination of ozone depleting refrigerants by 2020. In contrast, the Montreal Protocol’s targets for the phase out of R22 throughout Europe are to be reached by the end of the year, when a total ban on the use of this potent greenhouse gas comes into effect as of 1st Jan 2015.
Engineering expert Derek Hamilton, a US Business Development Manager for Star Refrigeration, discussed the different options available for R22 replacement, including drop-in refrigerants, HFCs, blended and natural refrigerants such as low charge ammonia and CO2.
“Different alternatives are readily accessible, but only natural refrigerants ensure a regulatory free, environmentally friendly and long-term solution,” said Hamilton.
Natural refrigerants such as ammonia are refrigerants that occur naturally. They are not man-made and do not have the detrimental impact on the environment that is associated with synthetic refrigerants.
Ammonia is the natural refrigerant used in all Azane products. It has a zero global warming potential and a zero ozone depleting potential, meaning that it causes no harm to the ozone layer and does not contribute to global warming. Most significantly, ammonia is one of the most highly efficient refrigerants, with research showing energy savings of 20% or more versus its HFC counterparts, and a power consumption equivalent often 5% less compared to a traditional pumped ammonia system.
Conference attendees took note of Azane’s climate consciousness, energy efficiency and life cycle benefits – with all of their systems designed for a minimum of 25 years of efficient and reliable service.
It is the “critical charge” design, which allows the Azanechillers coolers and Azanefreezers to use only as little as 2lbs of ammonia per Ton of Refrigeration. The low charge, packaged design has catapulted the Azanechiller and Azanefreezer into the spotlight and distinguished them as the natural choice for R22 replacement. They use an equivalent of just 20% of the ammonia charge of a traditional ammonia refrigeration system, which makes them a particularly safer and energy efficient solution.
Low charge ammonia reduces the regulatory burden on businesses, as facilities using Azane low charge systems will not be listed in federal and national emphasis programs since this requirement applies to systems with a charge of 10,000 lbs of ammonia or more.
Azane is a subsidiary of leading European refrigeration contractor Star Refrigeration, renowned for its pioneering work in natural refrigeration technology since 1970 and numerous technical papers on CO2 and ammonia published through ASHRAE.
Although new to the US industry, low charge ammonia is a proven natural technology that can alleviate the financial burden associated with the compulsory R22 phase-out as Star have demonstrated over the last 20 years by installing hundreds of low charge ammonia systems throughout Europe for major international retailers, food manufacturers, temperature controlled storage and public warehousing organisations.
Derek Hamilton also talked about the benefits of the low-charge ammonia technology with data analysed for a customer in Puerto Rico.
“With a total duty of 190 TR, the system is designed to supply cooling water at 40°F using a high efficiency air cooled Azanechiller.”
“Analysis of the Azanechiller showed that the energy bill will be reduced by over $40,000 a year, compared to an equivalent HFC air cooled chiller.”
Hamilton said: “Natural refrigerants are the future; they will not be subject to future legislation as we have already seen with other refrigerants and HFCs. Therefore, ammonia offers a future-proof solution and an excellent investment for companies looking to protect their customers and secure their business operations for the long run.”
Food and beverage market representatives speaking at the event included McDonalds, Coca-Cola and Red Bull, who also claimed natural refrigerants to be the only valid option for R22 replacement and confirmed that the move to natural refrigerants “made sense” to maximize potential financial gains linked to the longevity and security bestowed on non GWP systems.