GEA Grasso ammonia chillers: examples in industrial food processing

By Silvia Scaldaferri, Jul 22, 2013, 11:13 2 minute reading

Producer of Alpine milk chocolate Milka achieved an efficiency increase of more than 30% with their new refrigeration system employing a GEA Grasso chiller in their Lörrach, Germany, factory. Dutch cookie manufacturer Verkade also opted for a GEA Grasso chiller in its Zaandam factory in the Netherlands, reporting good results since commissioning the technology in March 2012.

The GEA Grasso BluAstrum chiller range for air conditioning and industrial cooling is comprised of six chiller types with a capacity range from 500 kW to 1.800 kW for operating conditions between -15°C and +15°C. The BluAstrum, designed solely for NH3, features a high efficiency screw compressor with speed control and variable internal volume ratio for maximum full and part load efficiency.


Mondelēz International Food Group (formerly Kraft Foods), producers of Milka chocolate, implemented a sustainable manufacturing initiative in its factory headquartered in Lörrach, Germany. The eco-production process overhaul included a total-concept energy supply solution with integrated refrigeration technology. In 2012, seven of the factory’s cooling centers which previously ran on ozone depleting R22, were substituted by ammonia (NH3) systems. The goal of this total-concept technology upgrade is to save about 15,000 tons of CO2 and more than 20% electricity, annually.

The chocolate factory benefited from an efficiency increase of more than 30% compared to the former system. This was achieved by grouping the former cooling centers into four units connected with each other, supplemented by free cooling which employed outside air. At the heart of the system are three GEA Grasso chiller units (1x FX PP 1500 / 2 x FX PP 1300) using variable-speed compressors with a power rating of 3.8 MW.


In the Spring of 2012, an increasing product line meant an increasing need for cooling capacity, for the Dutch cookie and chocolate manufacturer Verkade (formerly United Biscuits) located in Zaandam, Netherlands. The company substituted their R22 refrigeration system for ammonia (NH3) solution utilising the GEA Grasso BluAstrum 1000 chiller.

Space restriction in the machine room was an immediate consideration in the 125 year old factory. The GEA Grasso BluAstrum chiller fit into a 5x1 m area and only required a 100g charge of ammonia per kW of cooling capacity. The latest technology, cost efficiency and technology that could help reduce the company’s overall carbon footprint were other important considerations. By ultilising natural refrigerant R717 (ammonia) the refrigeration system does not contribute to global warming or ozone depletion.

The performance data of the cooling technology was continuously captured since its commissioning in March 2012, but will be fully evaluated for the first time during the summer of 2013. On average there has been a recorded ESEER (European Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) of 8,0. During cold water production at 25% capacity the corresponding EER (Energy Efficiency Ratio) was even 10.0, a positive result in large part due to the system’s screw-compressor with frequency converter.

About GEA Refrigeration Technologies

GEA Refrigeration Technologies, part of the internationally active GEA Group, is a leader in industrial refrigeration. The company designs, engineers, installs, and maintains innovative key components and technological solutions. These solutions are present in the food and beverage sector; in the petrochemical, chemical, and pharmaceutical industries; on fishing ships; in natural gas liquefaction; in infrastructure facilities; and in ice factories. GEA Refrigeration Technologies primarily uses natural refrigerants particularly ammonia (R717), thus combining its excellent thermodynamic characteristics with its ecological advantages.


By Silvia Scaldaferri

Jul 22, 2013, 11:13

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