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Ammonia refrigeration hunts down R22


UK: An ageing R22 process refrigeration system at a major chemical plant has been replaced by an energy-efficient direct ammonia system.

Huntsman Pigments and Additives was looking for a replacement solution at its titanium dioxide plant in Greatham, Hartlepool, that would not only stay in line with the company’s sustainability strategy, but also prove to be low cost and long lasting.

Glasgow-based Star Refrigeration, a company that has been working closely with the Huntsman engineering team for a number of years, offered a number of alternative schemes before the direct refrigerant system was accepted.

Star proposed a cost-effective solution with the lowest life-cycle costs, involving the use of an ammonia system located inside a purpose-built plant room. The use of the zero GWP refrigerant ammonia means that the system is safe from environmental legislation and will effectively minimise Huntsman’s carbon footprint. 

In a GAP analysis of the project specifications carried out pre-contract, Star highlighted the importance of the heat exchanger design to ensure that it matched the site installation configuration and the ammonia refrigeration packages were mounted with an explosion proof plant room.

All equipment is suitable for Hazardous Area Zone 2 11A T1 regulations to meet Huntsman site safety and compliance standards. Star also allowed for easy integration of the entire refrigeration plant with their existing site control system.

“One of the key features of the bespoke direct refrigeration system is the high integrity construction of the process heat exchangers and materials used to prevent any cross-contamination between the ammonia and process gas,” revealed Star’s process industries sales manager David Laws. “All components are built to industrial quality standards, increasing plant reliability and longevity and minimising the need for ongoing maintenance and repairs.”

This is not the first project that Star executed for Huntsman Pigments and Additives on Teesside, with the company previously installing an ammonia refrigeration/chilling system in 2002. This indirect system used brine cooled by an ammonia refrigeration plant. The brine was then circulated to cool the product.

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