Funding readily available for Australian businesses to replace aging refrigeration systems with ammonia

By Janaina Topley Lira, Feb 06, 2013, 11:00 4 minute reading

In November 2012 Fast Freeze International was awarded a grant of $225,418 (€171,646) to construct a larger and much more efficient and reliable freezer warehouse using an ammonia refrigeration system. The story is a prime example how easy and worthwhile it is for small and medium size Australian businesses using refrigeration to take advantage of the opportunities on offer in the emerging green economy.

“It is important for eligible businesses to realise that applications can be successful even if prepared by the grantee, provided the technical information required can be made available via parties other than specialist consultants,” said Scantec Managing Director Stefan Jensen. 
Fast Freeze Fast Tracks Environmentally Friendly Freezers
After a advice from a competent refrigeration contractor, Fast Freeze’s trading company Richmond Dairies was able to obtain a subsidy of over 25% for an $800,000 replacement of two aging and inefficient freezer rooms.
Fast Freeze International, in the Northern NSW town of Casino, processes milk from their own direct supply farms and other milk processors to produce a range of frozen dairy products used as ingredients by other manufacturers. In response to both rising electricity prices, and impending refrigerant supply constraints arising from the phase-out of R-22 imports, as well as the need to maintain their reputation as a reliable supplier of world-class quality products, Fast Freeze needed to upgrade their freezers.
Central to the new state of the art refrigeration system is a roof mounted, containerized, two-stage ammonia refrigeration plant using Sabroe CMO reciprocating compressors on variable speed drive (VSD) operation supplied by Johnson Controls. The low temperature system operates on pumped liquid recirculation, and the chilled spaces use direct expansion.
Special design features of the ammonia compressors ensure low noise and low vibration levels, with safe, environmentally friendly operation and minimal leakage. Monitoring and alarm systems installed in the plant room provide additional peace of mind, and ensure early warning in the event of any malfunction.
Easy access to CTIP funds helps businesses modernise and adjust to carbon price
In the process of exploring their options Fast Freeze was approached by a number of specialist consultants offering to conduct energy audits, and to make funding submissions either for a fee or a percentage of any grants won. 
However as the project clearly met the criteria for the Australian Government’s Clean Technology Investment Program (CTIP), Fast Freeze was able to prepare a successful application ‘in-house’, supported only by advice from their refrigeration contractor. Scantec Refrigeration Technologies supplied a technical evaluation of their existing energy use, a recommendation of the best available replacement system and an estimate of the anticipated energy savings, providing Fast Freeze with all the information required to make the funding application.
Other businesses confronted with the need to modernise aging refrigeration systems will find the Fast Freeze International project an instructive example of how easy it is to obtain valuable funding. The process has been designed to be user-friendly, and CTIP funds are readily available to help business adjust to the carbon price on power and harmful refrigerants.
“We understand that some applications need the assistance of specialist consultants, but there are also many other instances like Fast Freeze where the information provided by a competent refrigeration contractor is sufficient for a successful outcome,” Said Mr Jensen.
New ammonia refrigeration system saves of $27,000 (€20,556) in electricity costs per year
The project will cut the electricity use and carbon emissions intensity of Fast Freeze International’s refrigeration system by approximately 65% and will result in savings of $27,000 (€20,556) in electricity costs per year. Fast Freeze International’s Chief Engineer, Nick Pierce, said “We are continually looking to improve the environmental impact of our operations and reduce our energy use. The amount of energy that can be saved with a well-designed refrigeration plant is very impressive.”
Much of the reduced operating costs are delivered by the Sabroe CMO compressor design that dramatically lowers power consumption, especially when operating at part load. Further cost savings are delivered by easy maintenance procedures enabling all repairs to be carried out on site at the premises, reducing both repair costs and downtime. 
Use of natural ammonia refrigerant ensures Fast Freeze is not exposed to the rising costs and carbon price on HFC refrigerants, with substantial additional cost savings. 
Spaceframe Buildings, working in conjunction with Scantec Refrigeration, provided construction services for the new freezer rooms.
In addition to achieving an outcome that has been financially beneficial for Richmond Dairies and Fast Freeze International, the project has significantly reduced the environmental impact of the plant’s operation. 
Most significantly this project demonstrates that with a collaborative effort between a client and a design and construct builder and refrigeration contractor, existing government grants can be accessed without the use of complicated design and project management structures. 
Many more opportunities exist for other end users to follow in Fast Freeze’s footsteps and take advantage of further CTIP funding rounds to achieve a seamless delivery of economically competitive and environmentally sound facilities.


By Janaina Topley Lira

Feb 06, 2013, 11:00

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