Semi-hermetic ammonia HVAC system installed in Eindhoven

An ammonia heat pump was installed five weeks ago to heat and cool 40,000 m2 of apartments and business premises in the Netherlands, hears the Chillventa Congress.

The Philips building being refurbished in Eindhoven. 

Photo Credit: ECR Nederland

Five weeks ago in September 2018, a semi-hermetic ammonia heat pump for heating and cooling 40,000 m2 of apartments and business premises was installed in Eindhoven, the Netherlands.

The ammonia heat pump project is the fruit of cooperation between Van-Hout (a Netherlands-based contractor), ECR Nederland (a system designer that is part of the Beijer Ref Group) and SRM (a compressor manufacturer and designe that is part of Chinese firm Fujian Snowman Co., Ltd.), said Rüdiger Rudischhauser, vice-president sales international, Fujian Snowman, presenting the project at the Chillventa Congress today (a series of talks that take place on the Monday before the tradeshow, which runs from 16-18 October in Nuremberg, Germany).

The remodelled office complex, a former Philips factory in Eindhoven, will use the 800 kW ammonia heat pump system fitted with two twin screw compressors for space heating during the winter and air conditioning during the summer. One of the compressors is redundant in case the system fails. 

An ammonia heat pump was selected to heat and cool the building complex due to its high-efficiency, zero global warming potential (GWP) and zero ozone-depleting potential (ODP), “to be a real green building,” Rudischhauser said.

In addition to the heat pump, the building also uses biomass and solar energy to fulfil other heating needs and to produce electricity.

Overcoming semi-hermetic ammonia

“This is a very unique unit. I don’t think there is another one like it in Europe, as this unit has two semi-hermetic twin screw compressors running on ammonia,” Udo van der Meer, ECR’s managing director, told Accelerate (a magazine published by this website) in September. It has an ammonia charge of 180 kg.

“The semi-hermetic [compressor that we have made] is very unusual, as you usually have open-type [compressors],” van der Meer said. An ammonia compressor is typically open-type due to the inclusion of the shaft ceiling, which a semi-hermetic compressor does not contain, he explained. The advantage of the new compressor is that it is smaller and contains electronic motors.

Snowman’s Rudischhauser added that aluminium windings are used to protect any leakage of ammonia and the system contains no shaft seal. EC fans are used to reduce any noise from the ammonia system (with a night mode for extra energy savings) and the evaporator and condenser were optimised for the HVAC system.

Despite attention to safety, fears remain about ammonia’s safety risk. “People are scared [of ammonia] still,” Rudischhauser admitted. “We just have to make sure we [install] a system” that is engineered to be safe and well made, he said. The fire brigade also ran a check on the Eindhoven installation. 

He noted that natural refrigerants would be the main options for HVAC applications in the future. “For me Freon is dead. For me it’s ammonia [for bigger applications] and propane [for smaller systems],” he said.

By Charlotte McLaughlin

Oct 15, 2018, 23:10

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