September 2021

Insight September 2021 Plant & Works Engineering | 13 of 0, which makes the two fluids very comparable from this perspective. What stands out for the R1234ze is that it enables customers reduce their carbon footprint without sacrificing performance. Moreover, the chillers with R1234ze refrigerant, can outperform ammonia even by 25% according to the energy efficiency ratio (EER) analysis. First Cost Successful and economically sustainable businesses know that they need to make well thought investment decisions to protect their viability. When comparing the initial investment in a process cooling system, we will realize that ammonia solutions can be significantly more expensive. Higher costs of an ammonia systems stem from hours spent to design it, expensive stainless-steel piping required to withstand ammonia’s corrosive properties, and finally special devices mounted and required to monitor the safety of the system. Standard design, production and components allow manufacturers to offer HFO-based systems at a much lower cost. We should also realize that the standardised HFO chillers are usually also smaller than the ammonia systems and thus plants, where space footprint might be an issue, can also save space thanks to the more compact design. When it’s not the right time for capital investments, manufactures can now also benefit from a new type of subscription offering that gives them access to the newest process cooling equipment with the flexibility of an operating expense. With subscription model like the FLEX Membership manufacturers can now transform their process temperature control system from a fixed asset into a dynamic solution that will be up-to-date with their changing business and process needs – with no upfront cost and capital investment. The Membership package includes a complete process temperature control solution: equipment, preventive and 24/7 emergency maintenance, replacements, and upgrades – all as part of a monthly rate contract tailored to the process’ needs. Toxicity Toxicity and the safety of people and our environment shouldn’t be taken lightly. It is well known that ammonia is highly toxic and in case of leaking can pose serious risks to human health, as well as food and beverage or pharma operations. R1234ze on the other hand is a non-corrosive substance with a very low toxicity and mild flammability. Maintenance Regular maintenance will always be needed on any process cooling system, but some systems are easier to maintain than others. Because of its toxic properties, when handling ammonia or performing maintenance on ammonia systems, facility managers and technicians must take very serious safety precautions, anticipate and manage the risks to people and the surroundings. However, on a system with R1234ze, maintenance can be performed with limited risks. If a system is maintained by the original equipment manufacturer, facility and operations managers have the peace of mind that it’s done through technicians, who are fully trained on safe maintenance of the HFO-containing units – and at a 24/7 notice to intervene when required. Lead time As another criterion to consider when choosing the right system, lead time can make a big difference. The main factor here is standardisation. Standardised products with standardised components open the door to shorter lead times and quicker deliveries allowing for the appropriate system with R1234ze to be delivered on short notice. Non-standardised products like the ammonia- based systems, take longer to design and manufacture, before they can be shipped and installed. Performance The last but equally important criterion to consider is performance. Standardised products such as chillers with R1234ze have underdone rigorous R&D procedures to offer the best possible performance and efficiency levels. Standardisation allows the units to be tested and certified by third parties to prove their catalogue performance is truly delivered. So far no ammonia systems have been certified by third party organizations like the Eurovent or the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI). This means that it’s only after the full ammonia system has been installed and is running, manufacturers can see if it achieves the performance as promised. In conclusion, modern, innovative systems with R1234ze that are purposefully designed for process applications have clear advantages compared to ammonia-based systems. When specifying their process cooling equipment, manufacturers should carefully examine all the options available on the market to ensure they will fully benefit from their new cooling equipment for the yea *Dave Palmer is general manager for UK and Ireland at ICS Cool En ergy