Spurred by a fatal accident at a fertilizer plant in West Texas on August 1, 2013, the focus on improving low charge ammonia solutions and plant safety has shifted firmly into focus in the U.S.. The horrific ammonia nitrate explosion at the West Fertilizer Company set off a chain of regulatory actions that have heavily impacted the industrial refrigeration industry (read the full story in the fifth edition of Accelerate America at http://accelerate.shecco.
“I think the EPA is going to move more quickly; their stated goal is to have a proposal by this fall and a final rule by the end of 2016, as they’re trying to get things done before the end of the Obama administration,” he said.
“IIAR-2 focuses heavily on how much equipment is allowed outside/inside the machine room,” he said. “The IIAR standard used to require a direct exit door from machinery rooms and none of the codes required it, as such IIAR-2 has removed it and this has been proposed to ASHRAE-15.”
“However, there is a real lack of (a common threshold-quantity definition) related to ammonia charge size or ammonia charge management. Therefore, an effort should be made between all major code writing bodies to communicate and coordinate better support of charge reduction, which I think is what everyone is after because it should reduce the risk and it should reduce the regulatory burden.”
“As the industry continues to successfully develop low- and lower-charge ammonia systems, the application of these products can expand into other air-conditioning and process cooling applications, provided the relevant code writing bodies allow it,” Liebendorfer said.
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