Breakthrough in Industrial Refrigeration Engineering

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Description And Advantages

TNO Institute of Environmental Sciences, Energy Research and Process Innovation (TNO-MEP) and GTI Koudetechniek, Netherlands, have put into operation the first prototype of a new industrial refrigeration plant using CO2 as the refrigerant. In terms of industrial refrigeration engineering, this is a breakthrough towards an energy saving, environmentally friendly and relatively safe method of refrigeration. The plant has been constructed entirely from commercially available components. Over the next few months, researchers will be testing the performance of the system extensively.

Over the next few years, more and more parts of conventional ammonia refrigeration plants will be replaced by CO2. The CO2 plant can be used in most freezing processes, including cold stores, distribution centres, the food industry, etc.

CO2 is a relatively safe and environmentally friendly refrigerant. Should it leak from a refrigeration plant, it will contribute very little to the green house effect, unlike synthetic refrigerants: 1 kg of synthetic refrigerant, for example, is the greenhouse equivalent of 4,000 kg of CO2. Using CO2 as a refrigerant makes a practical contribution to implementing the Kyoto agreements on the reduction of CO2 emissions. Its advantage over ammonia is that it is safer for people and the products being refrigerated. CO2 is only toxic at very high concentrations, can be easily detected by sensors and has no harmful effect on most products.


Holland Economic Tribune Vol 3, No.2, 2001