eurammon’s Chillventa lectures: a global view of ammonia usage

By Robert Davidson, Oct 28, 2014, 15:33 3 minute reading

eurammon, the European initiative for natural refrigerants, gave an in-depth and thought provoking series of talks at Chillventa 2014 on the 15 October. The talks highlighted the extent to which the Middle East, Kazakhstan, Turkey and the U.S. are using natural refrigerants –in particular ammonia- and examined ways to further increase use.

Ammonia in Turkey: cascading down 
Hüseyin Yüksel, Director of Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Manufacturers’ Association, presented an insight into Turkey’s encouraging ammonia usage. Turkey has used ammonia widely for a long period of time, in particular in bigger industrial plants, and has not had any significant accidents in recent decades. Hüseyin Yüksel highlighted that this trend of acceptance will only continue because as from 2015 the importation of HCFCs will be limited in Turkey.
What is more, as Turkey continues to seek admission into the EU, their attitude to natural refrigerants (especially ammonia) will need to be aligned with that of their European neighbours. This can be seen particularly in the increasing use of CO2 cascade systems using ammonia. Turkey currently has two supermarkets using CO2 cascade systems and the Turkish Government’s “Meat and Milk Board” have five CO2-ammonia cascade systems. 
Ammonia in the Middle East: a potential oasis
Speaking about the situation in the Middle East, Hans Raaymakers, of ADEAREST LLC, said that ammonia systems arrived in the region in the 1990s, brought by European companies. Use of the refrigerant remained popular in large industrial applications across the region due to its economic advantages. However, these systems are currently approaching the end of their customary 25-year lifespan. 
These systems will need to be overhauled which raises concerns that they will not be replicated but replaced with less climate friendly systems due to the limited skills of engineers in the region and the fact that there is currently no legislation that regulates HCFCS or HFCs. However, Raaymakers put forward strong reasons as to why this shift away from ammonia will not occur:
  • Multinationals who need to fulfill their corporate social responsibility commitments are driving the use of natural refrigerants
  • Increasing cost of electricity and water will continue the drive to ammonia
  • Legislation limiting HCFCs/HFCs is expected in the next 5 to 10 years
Ammonia in Kazakhstan: going down(c)hill? 
As a former Soviet country, Kazakhstan has a long history of using natural refrigerants. Yuri Dubodelov, of SAKADA engineering, explained that in the past, Kazakhstan’s food industry was based on larger central processors, for which ammonia systems served as the main source of cooling. But when the Soviet Union disintegrated at the end of the 1980s, the food industry was privatised and as the original systems increasingly became obsolete, trouble began brewing for ammonia. 
Freon supplanted ammonia due to a lack of demand for high power cooling systems and the simplicity of Freon systems, which required little engineering knowledge. These limitations in conjunction with the lack of trained personnel to design, repair and service ammonia negatively impacted the use of natural refrigerants in Kazakhstan, a situation that still needs to be recovered from. However, recent treaties and agreements signed by Kazakhstan point the way forward for a more sustainable future. 
Ammonia in the U.S.: everything under control
Dave Rule, President of International Institute of Ammonia Refrigeration (IIAR), was optimistic about the role of ammonia in the U.S. as there is an increased focus on safety and the environment in the country. Rule saw this as a spearhead for the rest of the world and looked at the global implications of the expanding use of ammonia in the U.S. 
Rule sees ammonia as the solution to the demands of the global supply chain. As safety concerns are addressed with advanced controls, communication technologies and reliable automated monitoring, previous anxieties are dissipating and ammonia is increasingly becoming the refrigerant of choice for a variety of refrigeration, heating and cooling applications. 

About eurammon
Since 1996, eurammon, a non-profit initiative for refrigerants, has been promoting the need for greater use of natural refrigerants from an ecological and economic point of view. Based in Frankfurt, Germany, eurammon is comprised of European companies, institutions and industry experts.


By Robert Davidson

Oct 28, 2014, 15:33

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