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Low charge ammonia systems for the cold chain

Low charge ammonia systems for the cold chain

R Lamb presented ‘Modern, low charge ammonia systems for the cold chain’ during last year’s IRR International Cold Chain Conference. What was their findings?

In their presentation during the IIR International Cold Chain Conference 2016 (ICCC2016) that took place last year in New Zealand, R Lamb stressed that the phasing out of ozone depleting refrigerants and increasing legislative pressure on the use of HFC refrigerants have resulted in greater interest in the use of ammonia for temperature controlled storage/distribution and food production worldwide.

Ammonia systems have traditionally had large cooling capacities and tonnes of refrigerant charge. With more end users now considering the switch to ammonia, concerns have been raised over its toxicity and flammability, and this has led to the development of low charge solutions for both chill and low temperature applications.

Advances in evaporator technology have enabled reductions in refrigerant charges of more than 30% by moving from pumped circulation to direct expansion operation for large distributed ammonia systems. Further reductions in charge are possible for cold storage applications by moving to smaller, air-cooled packaged solutions located close to the point of cooling. These charge reductions are achieved through elimination of vessels and shorter pipework.

Overall operating cost for these air-cooled packages is equal to or better than that of evaporative solutions, when accounting for water and chemical usage. For chill and food processing applications, improvements in compressor and fan efficiencies mean that modern ammonia chillers can mitigate the efficiencies associated by using secondary cooling and heat rejection technology.

The use of variable speed reciprocating compressor technology helps improve chiller efficiency compared to fixed-speed screw compressor designs.

Download the presentation via IIR’s Fridoc platform. Visit:


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