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View Subscription Details: Letter ( 08/28/2013 ) - HTML Format

Design, installation and operation of the evaporative condensers.



To maximize energy efficiency of the refrigeration plant, evaporative condensers should be designed, installed and operated properly. What does this means?

Many refrigeration plants have multiple evaporative condensers and these condensers should be installed as parallel circuits. Hot gas enters the condenser and condenses into liquid ammonia, ammonia condensate should freely flow out of the condenser. To operate properly, the condenser should be free of liquid ammonia. At parallel installation and operation it can be done if the pressure drop in each condenser is equal. However, this is not possible in real life. Based on design, installation and operation, every condenser has different pressure drops. Liquid ammonia of the condensers with greater pressure drops will back up into these condensers. Heat transfer surface and capacity of mentioned condensers will be reduced. To solve this issue, each condenser should have a drain line trap. Height of these traps should be at least 5 ft (1.5 m). However, many professional engineers prefer to have trap height of 8 - 10 ft (2.4 - 3 m) to make sure that evaporative condensers are free of liquid ammonia.

To maintain energy efficient operation of the evaporative condensers, ammonia system should be free of non-condensable gases. Check proper operation of the air purger on a regular basis. Each purge point should be purged separately. Make sure that purge points are not flooded with liquid ammonia, otherwise non-condensable gases can not be purgered and energy efficiency of the plant will suffer due to increased condensing pressure or increased condenser energy use.

Most likely no other error in refrigeration systems is as often made or has a great an impact on satisfactory performance of the refrigeration plant as the design, installation and operation of the evaporative condensers.


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