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Star Refrigeration launches US subsidiary to promote its ammonia technology

Star opens new subsidiary Azane Inc  in San Francisco, California, to act as the regional hq for North American industrial refrigeration market

Star believes its Azane technology, designed to operate with as little as one tenth of the charge of a traditional refrigeration system, will be a game changer in the US region, which is preparing to phase out R22.

The industrial refrigeration group, whose Azanechiller and Azanefreezer has been installed in a number of locations, said it developed the unique technology to meet the challenges of Europe’s phasing out of R22.

In the US, the EPA’s phase-out timetable for R-22 will gradually decrease its production until a complete ban comes into force in 2020. The cost of R-22 will continue to rise and existing R-22 refrigeration systems will become uneconomical long before the substance is banned completely, Star said.

The Azanechiller and Azanefrezeer are factory-built industrial refrigeration packages in Pennsylvania, which use the natural refrigerant ammonia and have been designed to operate with as little as one tenth of the charge of a traditional refrigeration system, therefore avoiding the burden of OSHA’s PSM and the EPA RPM requirements.

Ammonia is also future-proof, Star said, since with zero ODP and zero GWP- it is not under threat of being banned, unlike HFCs.

Derek Hamilton, US Business Development Manager at Azane said:
“The good news is that there are plenty of options available to allow a smooth transition away from R-22. Low-charge ammonia is one of a number of options available. There are a wide range of ‘drop in’ refrigerant options are available, this typically consist of blends of HFCs. The US government has stated that a reduction in HFC consumption is one of the key targets in their plans to address climate change. While a firm timetable is yet to be published, it is only a matter of time before restrictions on the use of HFCs come into place as has already happen in Europe at the end of last year.”

He added: “In the USA, the use of ammonia has historically been restricted to large, distributed refrigeration systems. These systems are typically site-installed and require a central machinery room to house the refrigeration equipment. These systems also tend to use ‘pumped circulation’ technology which requires a relatively large quantity of ammonia.

The advent of ‘low charge ammonia’ means that ammonia is now being considered in applications which were typically the domain of ‘commercial’ systems. Some users of HFC systems may be reluctant to switch to an ammonia system because of safety concerns, however the reality is that ammonia systems in general are very safe and the low-charge, packaged approach alleviates these concerns further by using the minimum amount of ammonia and ensuring that it stays within the refrigeration system.”

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