One of the advantages offered by packaged low-charge ammonia systems is that they can be dropped into a facility undergoing an expansion.
That is just what LRT/VCT (Leslie Refrigerated Transport/Vince Cordoma Transport) did last year at one of its two fresh produce cold-storage facilities in North-West Victoria, Australia.
The refrigerated transport business, established in 1977, opted for compressor manufacturer Bitzer ’s Ammonia Compressor Pack (ACP) solution – the first to be installed in Australia.
LRT/VCT uses its cold-storage facilities for the preparation of predominantly oranges and grapes to be transported locally within the state as well as exported internationally. Today, their fleet includes 35 tractors and 75 trailers.
As the operation grew, there was a clear need for extending the cold storage space. LRT/VCT sought a refrigeration system that offered reliable operation, efficiencies and a refrigerant with a long-term future, according to a Bitzer case study.
Contractor Sutton Refrigeration installed the Bitzer ACP ammonia compressor unit with two compressors; it is connected to a Bitzer Thermowave plate heat exchange package that chills glycol for circulation through the cold storage area. The system’s capacity is 450kW (128RT) at -8°C sst/35°C sct, and it uses only 80kg (176.4lbs) of ammonia. Commissioning was handled by Green Point, a Bitzer after-sales support company.
Logistics challenges and subsequent coordination “proved to be a key focus, as all product installation and technical demands went very smoothly,” said the Bitzer case study.
New ammonia systems “are more efficient than conventional HFC systems,” said Raj Gulati, Bitzer Customer Solutions Industrial. “Part-load operation of the ACP unit offers further efficiencies.” (Energy data was not available.)
“Ammonia is an excellent refrigerant and when combined with Bitzer products, energy efficiency and future proofing are guaranteed,” said Simon Wood, Managing Director, Bitzer Australia.
The system was very competitive cost wise, added Gulati. “It’s also very simple to install and operate and offers the added benefit of Green Point doing the maintenance,” he said.
Contractor Sutton supports the use of a natural refrigerant like ammonia. “The biggest challenge facing the industry over the next decade is the move from HFC refrigerants to HFOs and naturals,” Robert Sutton, Sutton Refrigeration Director, told Climate Control News CNN in 2018, when the publication named Sutton Contractor of the Year.
This story originally appeared in the April-May 2020 edition of Accelerate Magazine