Costa Rica’s first CO2/ammonia cascade refrigeration system

By Pilar Aleu, Nov 24, 2014, 17:26 2 minute reading

PIMA’s facility in Heredia, Costa Rica, has been equipped with the first CO2/ammonia cascade system installed in Central America. The project, which complies with the Costa Rican Government’s targets to have a net zero carbon footprint by 2021, promises to act as a benchmark for future refrigeration system installations throughout the region.

On 1st November 2014, the “Integral Agricultural Market Programme” (in Spanish, “Programa Integral de Mercadeo Agropecuario” or PIMA) run by the Costa Rican Government, re-opened the doors of its renewed and expanded “National Cold storage Network” facility located in Barreal, Heredia.

900m2 warehouse refurbishment a collaboration with M&M Refrigeration

The Costa Rican company OPB Arquitectos was in charge of the design and development of the project. The refrigeration system was installed by Thermotec and provided by the U.S. company M&M Refrigeration.

The project, which began in November 2013 and was scheduled to last four months to complete, consisted of the expansion and refurbishment of an almost 900m2 cold warehouse, comprised of:

  • Two 205.2 m2 cold stores, each with a temperature of -25°C
  • A 200m2 climate controlled aisle maintained at 5°C
  • Five loading and unloading points
  • Machinery area
  • Office area
  • Daily storage capacity of 576,000kg (or 17,280,000kg /month)

CO2/ ammonia cascade refrigeration system is first of its kind in Central America

The renewed facility features a CO2/ammonia cascade refrigeration system, which is the first natural refrigerant installation both in Costa Rica and Central America.

“The main reasons why we chose this natural refrigerant-based refrigeration system was to guarantee occupational safety for PIMA employees, to improve efficiency and performance of the system and to promote environmental sustainability, in order to meet the Costa Rican goals of becoming a CO2 emissions neutral country by 2021” said the Manager of the PIMA project Gian Pietro Briancesco from OPB Arquitectos.

With this installation, PIMA expects to improve energy efficiency and increase its competitiveness, as they will be able to offer higher quality products for both domestic and international markets.

Uptake of natural refrigerants in Costa Rica starting to increase

According to Gian Pietro Briancesco, the use of CO2 refrigerant-based technology in the region is not extensive. In fact he suggests the technology was barely known until the PIMA project.

However, this is expected to change in the near future, as new policies that support more efficient and environmentally friendly refrigeration installations are put into place by the Costa Rican Government.

The CO2/ammonia project marks a milestone for PIMA and its goal of using the most cutting-edge natural refrigerant-based technology, achieving greater environmental sustainability, and acting as a benchmark for future refrigeration system installations in Central America.


PIMA specialises in offering services related to the commercialisation of local agricultural products.


By Pilar Aleu

Nov 24, 2014, 17:26

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