Due to its phaseout , an alphabet soup of replacement refrigerants has been developed to replace R-22 in existing chillers. However, most of these alternatives have drawbacks. Some replacements severely penalize the performance of the chiller, while others have significant glide—and all have higher global warming potential than ammonia. And though these refrigerants may not be on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) phaseout list yet, they have the potential to be. As new chillers rise to replace the old, ammonia is one refrigerant that has become an effective alternative. Ammonia: a perfect refrigerant for chillers Ammonia has been the mainstream refrigerant of choice in the food and beverage industry for 100 years, but this business segment represents a fairly small portion of the overall refrigeration industry. The single largest business segment is HVAC. While ammonia cannot be used directly, it is a perfect fit for chillers. More and more, the HVAC industry is turning toward ammonia as a viable option in chillers. In Europe, a significant portion of water chillers use ammonia refrigeration. Low-charge refrigerated packaged equipment maximize ammonia’s benefits, minimizing the charge Low-charge packaged chillers take advantage of the excellent thermodynamic properties of ammonia while minimizing the charge, and, thus, the risk . Some of these chillers only use one pound of ammonia per ton of refrigeration (TR). Refrigerated packaged equipment offer benefits such as: Shorter lead times Less onsite construction Factory built for better quality control Optional machine room enclosures The low-charge packaged chillers have been developed in two main configurations: air-cooled and water-cooled. In certain conditions, evaporative cooled packages are also a possibility. Air-cooled ammonia chillers Packaged air-cooled ammonia chillers have been entering the U.S. market from Europe, potentially serving as a major replacement for smaller commercial chillers used in HVAC. Just like the Freon packages, […]
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