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How Low Can We Go?

 

It is well known in our industry that lowering condensing pressure saves energy. In fact, this lowering is a major energy savings measure and it can save up to 50% of total energy savings. How low can condensing pressure be reduced?

I know several refrigeration plants which operate at condensing pressure as low as 60 psig. It is not easy to achieve this pressure because one or several barriers should be overcome. Major barriers are hot gas defrosting, liquid ammonia supply, liquid injection oil cooling, and oil carry over. However, every barrier has a solution. You just need to find the right person who will be able to identify and will help you to implement the right solution. Sometimes limited investments will be required.  

Typically, 15 - 20 psig of condensing pressure reduction will save 10% of compressors energy use. As far as I know, the majority of ammonia industrial refrigeration plants still operate at condensing pressure above 100 psig. There is a lot of room for improvement. Periods of cool and cold weather are the best time to achieve minimum allowable condensing pressure and this pressure can be well below 100 psig.    

 

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