Middle East event explores potential of NH3

By Alexandra Maratou, Mar 26, 2012, 00:00 3 minute reading

During a dedicated event on 20-21 March 2012 in Dubai, around 100 participants discussed available refrigerant options, including the potential of ammonia in industrial refrigeration and district heating. A major subject of discussions was the question of how to effectively remove safety concerns impeding a successful use of NH3 in the Middle East, such as in the 22,500 m2 in-door Ski Dubai resort or the world’s biggest integrated dairy farm.

Organised by the “Climate Control Middle East” magazine, the event gathered participants from the Arab region, including national ozone officers, municipalities, engineers, and international HVAC&R experts to explore ideal refrigerant options from a technology, environmental and economic point of view in a move away from ozone-depleting substances. Presentations and panel debates showed that the Middle East faces special challenges such as high ambient temperatures and one of the highest energy consumption rates for air-conditioning in the world.

A major barrier for the use of HFC-free solutions such as ammonia can be found in safety concerns, which would mostly be rooted in a lack of awareness and the resulting misconceptions about the use and proper handling of ammonia as a refrigerant. Similarly, the lack of uniform standards and proper after sale service would constitute major challenges. This is despite successful applications in different Arab countries showing the long-term reliability and efficiency of NH3 refrigeration solutions.

Ghaleb Abusaa from The Three Factors Company, moderator of a dedicated session on the efficient use of natural refrigerants, highlighted in his introductory speech that a powerful business case could be made for HFC-free systems in high-temperature applications in the Middle East, following concrete examples from the food processing, cold storage and chemical industry applications.

Success stories: world’s largest milk cow farm and indoor skiing

en3 Solutions – NH3 in industrial refrigeration: Abusaa highlighted in his presentation various case studies testifying the high reliability of NH3 solutions in power plants and food production. Since the late 1990s the Qaseem Power plant has been using R717 for inlet air cooling with a 66,500 kW peak cooling load. The plant uses GEA Frame 7EA combustion turbines, a 17,500 kW air cooled liquid overfeed NH3 vapor compression refrigeration plant and a 12,500 sqm ice energy storage tank.

Another example, the Al Safi Dairy farm, has been using 32 screw compressors in the world’s largest integrated milk cow farm. As a last example, Qaseem Saudi Arabia uses NH3 in a centralised multi-purpose 10,000 tons cold storage, handling, processing and packaging facility.

ADC Energy Systems – Ski Dubai: At the first indoor ski resort in the Middle East, Ski Dubai, the use of ammonia refrigeration has proved to be the right choice. In operation since 2006, the system has been operating safely in a densely populated area within a shopping mall where space restrictions for the refrigeration plant providing snow on 22,500 sqm required a compact solution with high efficiency. Ali Sleiman urged all participants to not eliminate ammonia from the list of preferred refrigerants due to safety concerns that could be controlled with proper engineering and maintenance. ammonia21.com will publish an exclusive interview with Mr. Sleiman soon.

shecco- GUIDE to Natural Refrigerants: Nina Burhenne presented a variety of successful case studies mentioned in the latest publication about the use of natural refrigerants that was published in February, among them the use of ammonia chillers in cold rooms by Johnson Controls, and the use of ammonia heat pumps with heat recovery in a dairy plant by GEA. Also the use of ammonia in cascade systems with CO2 refrigerant attracted interest by participants, as these would constitute a technically viable option for Arab countries with outside temperatures of up to 54°C.  


By Alexandra Maratou

Mar 26, 2012, 00:00

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