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).

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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.

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