When it comes to choosing the right refrigeration option for your business, Ercin Kaymak, senior general manager at refrigeration and automation engineering group Erkasis, would always recommend using natural refrigerants, regardless of whether a business is trying to save money, make a greener choice or simply find the best quality product available.
“CO2 has been used in refrigeration since the 1800s but due to the state of technology at the time, its use as a refrigerant subsided in favour of artificial Freon,” Kaymak outlines. “As compressor technology progressed with the onset of standardisation and massive progress in tolerances, measuring and metallurgy, the problem of high working pressure became a non-issue.”
Ammonia, he continues, has zero impact on Global Warming, and CO2 is only a problem in mega tonne (MT) emission levels. Both have zero Ozone Depletion Potential. “One can argue they are more nature-friendly and since they save those MT emissions in electricity not being used, one might be right.”
Kaymak notes that many synthetic refrigerants are being phased out due to environmental impact and regulations.
“Neither CO2 or ammonia are in jeopardy of becoming scarce, suffering significant price variation, or being banned for environmental impact reasons,' he says. 'Moreover, they are both much less expensive than their synthetic alternatives and have the added value of being tolerant to moisture and particulates in the system as well.”
The increased efficiency of ammonia-based systems also makes them more cost-effective than Freon, he adds.
“Ammonia can easily be combined with a CO2 system to create a cascade refrigeration solution offering flexibility and additional efficiency in many cases,” Kaymak explains. “Being able to upgrade and future-proof your installation without the need for expanding existing chiller group facilities, combined with significant returns of investment – sometimes within three years – makes a return to natural refrigerants a winner.”
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