Snowman backs NH3 as ideal for industrial heat pumps

Chinese manufacturer Fujian Snowman Co. Ltd. told about the growing potential for ammonia (NH3) in the heat pump market.

As natural refrigerants continue to make headway in diverse areas of application, ammonia (NH3) is an ideal refrigerant for large-sized industrial heat pumps, according to Rüdiger Rudischhauser, vice-president sales (international) for Chinese system manufacturer Fujian Snowman Co. Ltd.

Rudischhauser told about the growing potential for ammonia use in the heat pump sector in Europe.

“The market is definitely growing for heat pumps, due to the fact that electricity is getting cheaper as we are generating electricity in more diverse ways now,” said Rudischhauser.

“The market is also growing for NH3, because it is natural, and a very potent and efficient gas.”

Rudischhauser said that Fujian Snowman is looking into overseas markets for potential growth areas and sees opportunities for NH3-based heat pumps in applications such as food processing and district heating.

In the Americas and Southeast Asia, Rudischhauser believes, “the main driver will be processing heat, which is otherwise wasted and emitted into the atmosphere”.

“This will be recovered, and the heat pump will come from that side,” he said.

“In Europe, and countries such as Japan or even China, the heat pump market is growing much more from the perspective of district heating.”

There is still some reluctance, but [...] ammonia will be the natural replacement on the market.
– Rüdiger Rudischhauser, vice-president sales (international), Fujian Snowman Co. Ltd.

NH3 safety perception a barrier

However, Rudischhauser did say that the perception of NH3’s safety was still a barrier to its uptake in the heat pump sector.

“NH3 is still not considered a ‘safe’ refrigerant,” said Rudischhauser.

“It’s slightly flammable, it’s toxic, and it smells. But the smell, from my point of view, is a positive because when it smells you know that there is something wrong.”

Rudischhauser argued that NH3’s long history of use in the industrial sector, combined with proper safety precautions, makes it an ideal alternative refrigerant for the future.

"Let’s not forget that NH3 is an industrial refrigerant that was used in the industry for many decades,” he said.

“There is still some reluctance, but step by step, with the phasing out of f-gases and HFCs, NH3 will be the natural replacement on the market.”

By Devin Yoshimoto

Dec 12, 2017, 12:00

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