Why Ammonia is the Preferred refrigerant for Industrial Applications

Overview of Ammonia as a Refrigerant

Ammonia is a naturally occurring gas, which has been used for centuries as a refrigerant in industrial applications. It is one of the oldest and most cost effective refrigerants available, making it an ideal choice for large scale cooling systems. Ammonia is also highly energy efficient and environmentally friendly, with near-zero ozone depletion potential and a low global warming potential (GWP).

Advantages of Using Ammonia for Industrial Applications

In addition to its numerous advantages, ammonia is also non-flammable and non-toxic. This makes it particularly suitable for food storage and handling, where it can be used as a replacement for more hazardous refrigerants such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) or hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).

Ammonia has been used successfully in many industries including commercial air conditioning, cold storage warehouses, food production plants and beverage production facilities. In these applications, ammonia offers several key benefits compared to other refrigerants:

– Cost: Ammonia typically costs less than alternative refrigerants due to its abundance in nature.

– Efficiency: Ammonia has high thermal conductivity and specific heat capacity properties that enable it to provide more efficient cooling than other alternatives.

– Safety: Ammonia is non-flammable and non-toxic, making it a safer option when compared to flammable HFCs or CFCs.

– Environmental Impact: With its near zero ozone depletion potential, ammonia does not contribute significantly to global warming like other synthetic chemicals do.

Despite all of these advantages, there are some drawbacks associated with using ammonia as a refrigerant in industrial applications. For example, due to its toxicity at higher concentrations, special care must be taken during installation of the system to ensure proper ventilation and containment techniques are utilized. Additionally, while ammonia’s boiling point is lower than most other common refrigerants (at -28°F), this means that the system must operate at higher pressures in order to reach temperatures below freezing. This can lead to additional safety issues with regards to corrosion or over-pressurization if not correctly installed.  Furthermore, while ammonia generally has low odor thresholds in air concentrations of 0.9–1%, odors may still be detectable if concentrations exceed 1–2%.  As such, any system using ammonia must be carefully monitored for leaks at all times as even small leaks may have serious consequences if not addressed quickly enough.

Safety Considerations when Handling and Storing Ammonia

Overall though, when properly applied using the necessary safety precautions for handling toxic gases like ammonia – such as proper ventilation systems – this chemical can remain an effective solution for large scale industrial cooling needs in comparison with other available options on the market today.

About Airgas, Inc.

Airgas, Inc. (NYSE: ARG), through its subsidiaries, is one of the nation's leading suppliers of industrial, medical and specialty gases, and hardgoods, such as welding equipment and related products. Airgas is a leading U.S. producer of atmospheric gases with 16 air separation plants, a leading producer of carbon dioxide, dry ice, and nitrous oxide, one of the largest U.S. suppliers of safety products, and a leading U.S. supplier of refrigerants, ammonia products, and process chemicals. Approximately 17,000 associates work in more than 1,100 locations, including branches, retail stores, gas fill plants, specialty gas labs, production facilities and distribution centers. Airgas also markets its products and services through e-Business, catalog and telesales channels. Its national scale and strong local presence offer a competitive edge to its diversified customer base. For more information, please visit www.airgas.com.

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