Accelerate Australia & NZ #4 Summer 2017

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Technology

Spotlight on Australia: Innovations shaping change in 2017 Accelerate Australia & NZ looks ahead to the next twelve months and beyond, hearing from local vendors about the technological innovation, policy developments and evolving standards that are creating new opportunities for natural refrigerants in industrial applications. — By Devin Yoshimoto, James Ranson & Andrew Williams

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ustralia’s uniquely remote landscape and strong agricultural sector have produced a long history of large-scale industrial plants using ammonia.

In modern times, the focus has been on optimising energy efficiency and reducing the ammonia charge, and as a by-product, carbon emissions, by harnessing cutting-edge technology. It’s no surprise that the convergence of these two goals has given rise to the proliferation of low-charge ammonia technology not just in Australia but all around the globe, as updated regulatory guidelines pave the way for increased uptake of this historic natural refrigerant. In the US, for example, a growing number of industrial refrigeration end users are installing packaged low-charge ammonia units, in a major break from traditional refrigeration technology. The NXTCOLD low-charge packaged ammonia refrigeration system has already been installed in several big cold storage facilities like LA Cold Storage, Lineage Logistics, Baker Cold Storage and Neptune Foods. The beauty of the technology is that low-charge NH3 systems can be applied in much smaller applications than conventional NH3 ‘liquid overfeed’ systems, typically used in semi-industrial applications of 30-50 kW and above.

“We recently commissioned our new low-charge NH3 ScanPAC in Melbourne; this has an alcove evaporator with automatic ambient air defrost,” says Jensen. The Brisbane project, for a Japanese end user, was recently completed under significant time pressure, the Scantec boss reveals. The end user relocated from other premises to meet increasing demand for its product and was after a premium system. “In Brisbane, the first stage compressors operate at -27°C saturated suction temperature, and the corresponding freezer store temperature is -22°C. This particular plant employs Japanese compressors and custom-engineered evaporators with special circuiting and distributors from a German manufacturer,” Jensen says. He is quick to point to the various benefits of low-charge systems compared to industry standard HFC-based systems, and for good reason. “The only feedback from the end user we’ve had is happiness.” “The initial capital investment differential between an industrystandard HFC-based, single-stage compression system (with air-cooled condensers and electric defrost) and a state-ofthe-art, low-charge NH3 system is usually returned in three years,” Jensen says.

LOW-CHARGE AMMONIA TAKING HOLD DOWN UNDER

“The documented annual energy consumption difference between the two scenarios described above is 40 to 67%, depending on the circumstances, with the low-charge NH3 system being the best performing,” he reveals.

Scantec, a leading Australian supplier of low-charge ammonia systems, recently commissioned two new projects, in Melbourne and Brisbane.

Jensen was discreet on confidential new projects but mentioned three more low-charge systems currently under construction in Sydney, Brisbane, and Dongguan in China.

Scantec Managing Director Stefan Jensen argues that low-charge NH3 systems can deliver 3-4 times as much cooling capacity per kilogram of charge than liquid overfeed systems.

In the US, meanwhile, the market continues to see impressive demand for low-charge technology. Accelerate Australia & NZ

Summer 2017


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