Keeping Abreast of Industrial Refrigeration Trends
In October, many people involved with industrial refrigeration will head to Las Vegas for the annual conference of the Refrigerating Engineers & Technicians Association. While I am sure that some attendees will hit the slots and tables, there’ll be no gambling with RETA. Though that might seem like a loss for the casinos, it’s a win for attendees: the technical sessions, presentations and exhibition hall provide value all around.
If you are unable to attend the show, you can still learn about innovations in refrigeration technology. First up, turn to page 18 and learn about “Moving Ammonia Out of Occupied Spaces.” Andre Patenaude and Antonio De Lourdes with Vilter by Emerson Climate Technologies explore the trend toward lowering the total charge of ammonia in industrial refrigeration systems. New system architectures isolate the ammonia circuit in unoccupied areas such as the roof. The ammonia circuit is used to chill a carbon dioxide circuit, and it is this refrigerant that is used in occupied areas. Should a leak occur, carbon dioxide does not represent an imminent hazard to worker health or safety, note the authors.
Also in this issue, Stefanie Kopchick of the Chemours Co. offers an overview of hydrofluoro-olefin (HFO)-based refrigerants that can provide design engineers and equipment owners of small industrial refrigeration and process cooling systems with alternatives to refrigerants subject to phase out. As Kopchick notes, HFOs contain the same molecular components as HFCs yet offer non-ozone-depleting, low global-warming potential (GWP) due to their molecular structure.
A condenser design for industrial refrigeration technology is the focus of an article by Nigel Cotton of the International Copper Alliance. The copper condensers — used in industrial chillers employed in brewery and other food processing applications — incorporate smaller-diameter, grooved tubes rather than aluminum microchannels. Cotton shares the experience of the condenser maker and one refrigeration system manufacturer who uses the revamped condenser.
Elsewhere in the issue, Stan Tyrrell of Aggreko explains how plants facing unexpected equipment failures can use temporary equipment to shore up capacity and avoid unplanned downtime. Also, By Benjamin Fried of CTRL Systems Inc. explains how ultrasonic leak detection equipment can be used to find leaks in exchanger tube bundles. The ultrasonic tool also can help with condition monitoring and electrical inspections.