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Ammonia as a refrigerant: advantages and disadvantages

November 30, 2021

Earlier, a 5,000-pound ammonia leak occurred at a seafood warehouse in the Boston area, which killed a worker and forced the Boston police to issue an asylum-in-place order. The problematic program may be the culprit. Therefore, as you read the following pros and cons of ammonia as a refrigerant, keep these key points in mind: Continuous, scheduled evaluation and advance maintenance are essential for any ammonia storage solution-lax inspection procedures will make workers and The residents are in danger.
Given this risk, why is ammonia becoming more and more popular? As there are fewer and fewer CFCs and HCFCs that can be used as refrigerants, people are looking for ammonia as a more effective alternative. According to ASHRAE and the International Ammonia Refrigeration Research Institute (IIAR), ammonia is a cost-effective, efficient alternative to CFC and HCFC, and it is also safe for the environment.
Ammonia (chemical formula NH3) is a gas composed of two other gases-nitrogen and hydrogen. Whether it is found in nature or manufactured by humans, ammonia is colorless but has a strong pungent odor. Ammonia, which is often used commercially in large-scale freezing and cold storage equipment, is also called "anhydrous ammonia" because it contains almost no water (purity of 99.98%). In contrast, household ammonia contains only about 10% by weight of ammonia mixed with water.
As a refrigerant, ammonia has four advantages over CFCs and HCFCs:
The construction cost of the ammonia refrigeration system is 10-20% lower than that of the refrigeration system using CFC because it can use narrower diameter pipes.
Ammonia is a refrigerant that is 3-10% more efficient than CFC, so ammonia-based systems require less electricity, thereby reducing operating costs.
Ammonia is safe for the environment, with an ozone depletion potential (ODP) level of 0 and a global warming potential (GWP) level of 0.
Ammonia is much cheaper than CFC or HCFC
The use of ammonia as a refrigerant has two main disadvantages:
It is not compatible with copper, so it cannot be used in any system with copper pipes.
High concentrations of ammonia are toxic. However, there are two factors that can mitigate this risk: the unique smell of ammonia can be detected at concentrations far below what is considered dangerous, and ammonia is lighter than air, so if it leaks, it will rise and dissipate in the atmosphere.