Industrial refrigeration systems cover a wide range of applications. Most of us are familiar with air conditioning, and the air conditioning at your favorite retail store is one example of an industrial refrigeration system. Air conditioning is a sub category for industrial refrigeration known as “comfort” refrigeration.
Here are some of the work horse categories for industrial refrigeration:
• food storage
• freeze drying
• chemical industry refrigeration
• ice rinks and other types of winter sport facilities
• industrial air conditioning
• computer data farms
• underground tunnels and mines
• office buildings
As you can see, there are a myriad of industrial refrigeration systems in operation around you every day as you work, shop, dine, and play.
Refrigeration is the process of removing heat from something, a gas or fluid or solid, and transferring that heat somewhere else. This heat removal process uses compressors, heat exchangers, fans, pumps, pipes, ducts, and controls, along with some type of refrigerant. The most common refrigerants for industrial systems are either ammonia or R-22 (Hydrochlorofluorocarbon-22). Ammonia is the most used because it doesn’t deplete the ozone, while R-22 has the potential to be ozone depleting. Combining the refrigerant with the equipment gives you a system that cools things down. The refrigerant absorbs heat and turns to gas, which gets cooled back down to liquid form, and then is recirculated back through the system to absorb more heat.