Dallas 2009 - Technical Papers & Regulations

By Sabine Lobnig, Mar 25, 2009, 18:36 4 minute reading

Over the last three days several hundred ammonia specialists got together in Dallas to discuss key technical as well as regulatory issues for the ammonia refrigeration industry. This second article summarises some of the key technical papers and discussions that took place at the event.

“Ammonia has the potential to replace HFCs in helping the food industry become more sustainable”, alleged Earl M. Jones, Senior Vice President Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability, Dean Foods Company at his keynote speech opening the IIAR 2009 Industrial Refrigeration Conference & Exhibition on 23 March.

Following this speech, several technical papers were presented in Dallas. ammonia21.com provides you with a summary of key presentations:

Energy Consumption with CO2/Cascade Systems, J.W. Pillis P.E., Johnson Controls: This study takes a detailed look at energy consumption using CO2 cascade systems to determine whether they are energy competitive with two stage ammonia systems or other possible systems over the range of temperatures normally encountered in food freezing and storage applications. The author concludes that energy saving with CO2 cascade is not possible given the fundamental thermodynamic disadvantage of the CO2 cycle. However, on the plus side, the author argues that CO2 cascade systems have many advantages in industrial refrigeration such as reduction in ammonia charge, reduced cost of refrigerant, reduction in compressor size and reduction in pipe sizes.

Designing an Inherently Safer Refrigeration System, Peter Jordan, MBD Risk Management Services, Inc: Arguing that facilities should be designed with safety as a top priority, the author of this paper describes a formalised method used to quantitatively and qualitatively evaluate different options in ammonia refrigeration systems to identify inherently safer options. The end result is a suggested list of action items which are designed to make ammonia refrigeration systems inherently safer.

Natural Refrigerant Applications in North American Supermarkets, David K. Hinde and Shitong Zha, Hill PHOENIX, Inc: This paper presents recent achievements with the application of CO2 secondary and cascade systems in North American supermarkets. The authors discuss the experience gained through operating current systems as well as energy and TEWI comparisons between several system types. Although the use of ammonia in commercial systems has not caught on, there is potential of using ammonia in U.S. supermarkets through systems that contain the refrigerant charge in the mechanical room.

Extended Surface Air Coolers for Industrial Plants – the Contractors Perspective, Stefan S. Jensen, Scantec Refrigeration Technologies Pty. Ltd: This paper presents a range of practical performance comparisons between various coil geometries, coil materials, circuiting options, refrigerant choices, flow patterns and refrigerant feed options, while using common software to assess performance. As normally such comparisons are not readily available from extended surface cooling coil manufacturers, this paper includes valuable information to the contractor.

Probability in Ammonia Refrigeration Risk Assessment: Anders Lindborg, Ammonia Partnership AB: With this paper Lindborg demonstrates how ammonia’s dangers have been greatly exaggerated. Nonetheless, myths which depict ammonia as very dangerous continue to influence regulators and society at large. The author predicts that with good quality systems and reasonable amounts of charge, many new ammonia applications will be developed. Moreover, he foresees that political pressure on HFCs will increase and this will result in new technical solutions with natural refrigerants such as ammonia.

Regulatory developments discussed

A panel on international codes discussed several regulatory developments in the EU and U.S.:

EU: The first presentation by Monika Witt, chair of eurammon, referred to the situation observed in the EU, where an EU-wide, common regulation applies for system safety and design issues in all Member States. On the other hand, however, each Member State has its national regulation regarding refrigerated systems operation. Witt referred to the extreme case of France, where the regulations regarding operation require that there is at least 50 meters distance between a system and the first house, which makes it impossible to install small systems in the country. The presenter also pointed out the need for establishing CE marking, to complement EU Directives that serve as guidelines for safety standards.

U.S.: The two presentations that followed highlighted the two opposed visions currently prevailing as regards the use of ammonia in the United States. While in California, with its clear focus on energy efficiency, ammonia could play a key role in enhancing the efficiency of industrial refrigeration at large, New Jersey legislators still put extreme pressure on ammonia plants with their strong focus on public safety regulations. As both US States are considered to be trend setters, the legislative climate for the ammonia industry is highly heterogeneous. A more detailed article about California’s approach will soon be published on ammonia21.com.


By Sabine Lobnig

Mar 25, 2009, 18:36

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