Trends and activities in globalization, technology, regulation, environmental and community stewardship, and industry consolidation have dramatically affected the cold storage industry in the last decade. What’s more, there is little to no evidence that changes effected by these elements are going to subside.
At the same time, most cold storage facilities in North America rely heavily on ammonia refrigerant to keep product cold. To meet storage demands and in light of industry consolidation, both facilities and refrigeration systems grew in size. As a matter of fact, the decrease in the number of facilities 500,000 ft2 or less has only led to a decrease in total volume (attributable to those facilities) of about 25,000,000 ft2. Concurrently, an increase in facilities larger than 5,000,000 ft2 has led to an increase in total volume (attributable to those facilities) of more than 800,000,000 ft2. Now, under the microscope of three separate federal agencies, there is increasing pressure to reduce the charge of ammonia in refrigeration systems.