Ammonia has dominated large-scale industrial refrigeration since 1876. This is so because, compared to F-gases, ammonia is a considerably more affordable gas with better thermodynamic characteristics. Installations, however, are more costly, necessitate safety equipment, and are only economical in refrigerated applications with great demand. Here is a detailed explanation of an ammonia condenser and how it works.
Overview of an Ammonia Condenser:
The ammonia condenser is the component of an ammonia-based industrial refrigeration system that is in charge of dispersing all heat removed from a chilled compartment to the outside. This dissipation to the exterior is accomplished mostly by forced cooling using ambient air or water. The technology and the physical medium used to transfer heat to the outside determine the varieties of ammonia condensers. As a such, there are three main types of these condensers:
- Evaporative or ammonia evaporation condensers,
- Air-cooled condensers, and
- Condensers with a water heat exchanger.
How Does Ammonia Condenser Work?
The ammonia condenser works by having a continuous flow of ammonia through the system. There are several substances involved in maintaining temperature and heat transfer. During the process, ammonia first undergoes compression under high pressure. As the gas moves to the condenser, the coils dissipate heat. This then condenses the ammonia to liquid, although the temperature remains high.
While still under high pressure, ammonia moves through an expansion valve, the gate to a low-pressure area. Once this happens, ammonia starts to build at -27 degrees, significantly colder than the surrounding temperature.
The extremely cold ammonia begins to cool the surrounding air in the refrigerated area. As a result, the ammonia warms up as the surrounding air temperature cools down. Then ammonia travels through the evaporator as it gradually warms up. At the end of the cycle, the ammonia is pulled back into the compressor and starts the process again.
The concept of the ammonia condenser is pretty simple, the gaseous ammonia travels to the compressor, then discharged to the condenser coil. The compressor collects the gaseous ammonia and maintains its pressure. You can achieve this by reducing the vapour volume through compression. Afterwards, the gaseous ammonia is compressed at high pressure and then condenses back to a refrigerant, liquid ammonia. The heat escapes the condenser coils onto the outdoors. The condensation heat transfer in the condenser decreases with an increase in ammonia concentration.
The efficiency of ammonia condensation is dependent on air temperature and humidity. The equipment’s efficiency begins to rise at a relative humidity above 60%. Therefore, heavy engineering companies in India have to carefully examine the local weather conditions before deciding when to use this condenser.
What is a Compressor?
The ammonia compressor is the part of the refrigeration system that aims to separate the high-side vapour and low-side suction vapour. This, in turn, leads to a higher energy cost. Finally, the variable frequency drives are added for variable load conditions due to the compressor’s operational cost.
Any portion of an ammonia refrigeration system that could experience an overpressure situation should have safety valves. Using these safety valves, any ammonia that builds up inside closed space expellees to the outside. Exhaust fans are also necessary for the installation areas.
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