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Bitzer reports resurgence in ammonia use

Bitzer has reported that its new modular Ammonia Compressor Pack (ACP) is taking off around the world, with pioneering UK projects leading the way.

Bitzer's ammonia compressor.

Now being manufactured in four Bitzer factories around the globe, ACP has been designed to meet the requirement for very high efficiency cooling for industrial applications with a zero global warming potential (GWP) refrigerant.

In addition to its exceptional part-load efficiency, it offers outstanding resilience, with a back-up compressor in the unlikely event of a failure, and rapid commissioning due to its plug-and-play design.

Kevin Glass, managing director of Bitzer UK, said: “Ammonia refrigeration systems have traditionally been built as one-offs, often in less than ideal conditions. Bitzer is able to build ACP units in a pristine factory environment, ensuring the highest possible quality and integrity, absolutely necessary when working with ammonia.”

He added: “The modular design means that contractors can quickly connect up ACP units on site with a few simple pipework and electrical connections. This dramatically speeds up the whole process of installation and commissioning. We believe it is a game-changer for industrial refrigeration.”

Six ACP systems have been installed to date in the UK, in a variety of applications. These include a food manufacturing facility for a large high street bakery chain, a commercial ice-making plant, and a major pizza production facility.

The ammonia packs are based on high efficiency, compact screw compressors, which result in a smaller footprint than equivalent-capacity reciprocating compressors. In addition to the inherent efficiency of screw compressors, the speed of the lead compressor is controlled by an integrated variable speed drive (VSD), which significantly increases part-load efficiency and enables soft-start. Efficiency can be further enhanced with the addition of an optional economiser module.

A further benefit for end users is that screw compressors have much longer maintenance intervals than reciprocating compressors, which substantially reduces the cost of ownership over the life-time of the plant.

Use of either two or three compressors per pack gives standby capacity and resilience for critical process application where continuity of cooling is vital. It also enables engineers to service one compressor while the other remains operational, reducing process down-time and improving life-cycle cost.

Compressor performance is enhanced by the incorporation of Bitzer’s new OAHC 3-stage horizontal oil separator, which significantly reduces oil carry over, typically within the range 2-5ppm.

The carefully-thought-out design allows ready access to valves, sensors and connections for ease of installation and servicing, and the unit comes equipped with Wi-Fi connectivity and full Modbus integration. The design features controller and sensor redundancy to enhance reliability, while the stand-alone control panel has number cable-tree to assist installation.

Bitzer is launching a range of larger modular ammonia packs soon, the OS95 series, which will offer cooling capacities up to 2.4MW from a single unit, almost double the capacity of the largest unit in the current OS85 range.

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