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Ammonia chiller is first choice for First Milk

UK: Star Refrigeration has boosted capacity and efficiency at a cheese chill plant by replacing an ageing R404A cooling system with its latest low-charge ammonia Azanechiller 2.0. 

Last year, the British farmer-owned dairy co-operative First Milk took the decision to replace the cooling plant at its creamery in Aspatria, Cumbria, as part of a £3.5m upgrade. The refrigeration system was approaching the end of its life and utilised the high GWP refrigerant R404A.

Working in conjunction with First Milk, Star Refrigeration’s Newcastle branch was tasked with the large-scale replacement of the cooling equipment and a low charge ammonia Azanechiller 2.0 was recommended to fulfil all the requirements. 

First Milk was looking at the long-term benefits for its sizeable investment, and needed a safe, efficient and sustainable option that would help meet its net zero carbon agenda.

Star provided the pre-engineered modular air cooled chiller to work in conjunction with the chilling tunnel to enable the creamery to increase its cheese output by just under 30% and improve its operating efficiency.

The Azanechiller 2.0 is said to address any health and safety concerns as the current model has a charge of just 42kg/kW of ammonia. It is also said to offer an overall improved operating efficiency of about 25% when compared to new refrigeration systems using HFCs and HFOs, and outstrips the minimum energy efficiency requirements of UK and EU Ecodesign legislation by 75.2%.

“The Azanechiller 2.0 boosts the capacity of the chill store plant and offers great efficiency by delivering immediate reductions on our energy costs,” commented First Milk project engineer Ian Wilson. “This development also helps towards our First4Milk net zero commitments, delivering more efficient and environmentally friendly refrigeration.”

The Azanechiller 2.0 is manufactured and run-tested at Star’s production facilities in Glasgow before being delivered to site charged and ready to commission. Installation is said to be simple, requiring a suitable base concrete/steelwork, connection of secondary pipework and an electrical power supply. 

“We worked with Star Refrigeration on our chill plants many years ago – going all the way back to 1976. The current cheese chill store which required replacing was installed by Star in 1985, so it’s nice to work with them again as they understand our requirements and can inform us of the new technology available since the original install,” said Ian Wilson.

In addition to the design and installation, First Milk has taken a two-year warranty, two-year maintenance plan and dial-out service for preventative maintenance, so that Star’s aftercare engineering team can remotely interrogate the plant to ensure it is running as expected.

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