GUIDE China: Number of applications using ammonia set to grow further

By Robert Davidson, Aug 04, 2015, 16:54 2 minute reading

shecco’s recent publication GUIDE to Natural Refrigerants in China put forward the case that the use of ammonia will mature in the next 15 years, gaining a larger market share through ammonia-only systems and NH3/CO2 cascade systems at the expense of HCFCs and HFCs like R22 in both industrial and commercial refrigeration.

shecco’s recent GUIDE to Natural Refrigerants in China showed that the use of natural refrigerants is currently increasing in all key applications, especially industrial, commercial and light commercial refrigeration. In addition to this, the GUIDE also polled survey respondents in the GUIDE survey as to their future expectations for the use of certain refrigerants in China.

These survey results and data collected by the shecco Market Development team show that the place of ammonia is growing, in terms of numbers and potential applications with future growth set to remain strong all the way to 2030.

Of the 800 respondents who answered their expectations of the use of ammonia in the future, 70% of them believed that they expect the market share will be as much 20% in 2030, a high percentage for a refrigerant that is only typically used in industrial refrigeration, but the use of cascade systems and improved safety focus means that the place of ammonia is set to grow further.

Cascade systems leading to growth of ammonia in industrial and commercial refrigeration

As well as the use of ammonia-only systems that China has used for the last 60 years in their industrial refrigeration sector, the use of CO2/NH3 cascade systems is also steadily gaining traction.

Cascade systems offer increased safety by reducing the ammonia charge by up to as much as 90% compared to a conventional ammonia system. This makes it possible to apply natural refrigerant-only systems even for large-scale cold storage facilities, where direct ammonia systems are not feasible due to charge limitations.

In addition to this, in a NH3/CO2 system, ammonia is confined to an engine room, with limited access for cold storage staff’ increasing safety and lowering the risk of food contamination.

But it is not just industrial refrigeration that can expect to see growth in the use of ammonia with a CO2/NH3 cascade store located in Shandong, with the potential for more cascade systems to be implemented in China with Metro China planning to make CO2/NH3 cascade stores their standard starting from 2016, with five more stores expected to be opened along with six remodels.

Safety controls and advanced technology ensuring maturity

The lack of professionally educated and trained personnel operating in ammonia facilities was identified as one of the main factors contributing to ammonia refrigeration accidents.

The focus of the industry is therefore on improving safety of ammonia industrial refrigeration facilities in recent years has resulted in technology developments to reduce ammonia charge, as well as in automatic control systems that lower operational mistakes.

These advanced technologies include the optimisation of controls and the use of more efficient condensers, evaporators and compressors. It is estimated that with these more energy efficient technology, users could see at least a 20% energy saving compared to traditional solutions, with the potential energy savings contributing to the return on investment.


By Robert Davidson

Aug 04, 2015, 16:54

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