Compressor RoomIndustrial ammonia refrigeration systems play an essential role in industrial applications and operations, of the food and beverage industry. They ensure temperature conditions remain at optimal levels for the facility’s products and/or processes by eliminating heat rather than, as commonly believed, creating cold.

As industrial ammonia refrigeration techniques and technologies advance, companies must stay updated on current best practices and parts to ensure their systems remain the most effective and efficient for their needs. This blog post focuses on the key components found in industrial ammonia refrigeration systems, highlighting how they work and what types are available to help readers identify which one is best for their facility. Industrial ammonia refrigeration systems are broken down to single stage and two stage, with different ways to feed the liquid to the evaporators (flooded, direct expansion, subcooled direct expansion, CPR feed and pumped liquid recirculated).

Contact Us

Compressors are the Prime Mover of the Refrigerant

A compressor collects ammonia vapors generated in the evaporator and maintains its suction pressure. It can increase the ammonia pressure and temperature, by reducing its vapor volume through compression. Then it transfers the ammonia suction vapor developed in the evaporator to the condenser. The ammonia compressor is a part of the refrigeration that separates the high side discharge vapor and the low side suction vapor.  The energy cost of your refrigeration system will be greater than any other system in your facility, due to the operational cost of the compressor, therefore variable frequency drives (VFD’s) are added for variable load conditions. Depending on the system capacity, operating temperatures and load profile, a reciprocating or screw compressor will be the best option.

A photo of a condenser in an industrial refrigeration systemCondensers Reject Heat

The condenser is the system that handles the refrigerant after it exits the compressor. It rejects the heat that is absorbed in the ammonia refrigerant from the evaporator and compressor.  The high-pressure ammonia vapor changes state to a high-pressure liquid by transferring heat energy using an evaporative condenser.  An evaporative condenser that utilizes both outside air and water spray for evaporation.  To optimize the system operating cost a variable frequency drives (VFD’s) is added to the evaporative condenser.

Evaporators Absorb Heat

The last step of the refrigeration cycle is the liquid ammonia refrigerant moving into the evaporator. The evaporator absorbs unwanted heat from the target areas. As a result of the heat it absorbs, the liquid ammonia refrigerant vaporizes and returns to the compressor as low side suction vapor. There is an array of industrial ammonia evaporator options. These include:

  • Forced air draw thru evaporators
  • Plate and frame or shell & tube evaporators
  • Process air handlers evaporators
  • Jacketed process tanks and silos evaporators

An infographic that explains the functions of various industrial refrigeration system components

Learn More About Industrial Ammonia Refrigeration Systems from Kuhlman

Want to learn more about industrial refrigeration systems? Ask the experts at Kuhlman Incorporated! We have provided turnkey ammonia refrigeration system solutions to the food and beverage industry for over 60 years. Our representatives would be happy to answer and address any questions and concerns you may have about industrial ammonia refrigeration systems.

Contact Us



  1. Dean Phillips

    A couple of days ago, my friend and I were talking about ammonia refrigeration contractors after he heard about it from work. I didn’t know much about it and thus, I decided to look it up. Fortunately for me, I stumbled on your article that provided me with valuable insight. I really liked that you explained how these refrigeration systems ensure temperature conditions remain at optimal levels for the facility’s products and/or processes by eliminating heat. I’m sure those interested in hiring contractors specializing in ammonia refrigeration will be glad to have learned this. Thank you so much for the information!

  2. Fernando

    I really like your blog. I really appreciate the good quality content you are posting here.

  3. Shammy Peterson

    It caught my attention when you said that to ensure temperature conditions remain at optimal levels for the facility’s products, industrial ammonia refrigeration systems are being used. This is an interesting detail for business owners that would want to enter the refrigeration industry. I could imagine how installing ammonia detectors could be beneficial in ensuring that the operations of the system would not be interrupted and at the same time ensure the safety of the workers.

  4. Craft Group

    All the information that you shared with us is very useful for us. Thank you for sharing with us. Keep sharing…

  5. Mike Walker

    Having issues with liquid hanging in condensers under low ambient temps and low load conditions. Any thoughts on how so can get NH3 to return to Eng rm? Head pressure at 110 ish. One condenser already isolated for some time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *