on site: Cooling with ammonia for over 20 years at Sivafrost

By Sabine Lobnig, Dec 06, 2010, 13:12 2 minute reading

At the occasion of an event organised to celebrate ECSLA's 50th anniversary, Sivafrost opened the doors of its refrigerated warehouse in Dendermonde, Belgium, to a delegation of ECSLA members. joined this visit to have a look at Sivafrost's ammonia system supplied by Mayekawa and talked to Sivafrost's founder Jos Siongers about the advantages of ammonia refrigeration.

In 1986, Jos Siongers and Simone Van Asten founded Sivafrost to provide refrigerated warehousing. In 2010, Sivafrost has specialised in the packing, freezing, handling and cold storage of deep-frozen products and provides over 70,000 m³ of refrigerating rooms, cold stores, and chilled loading docks with 10 dock doors. Storage temperatures at the warehouse are set, by default, at -20 ºC and can be lowered, where necessary, to -25ºC. 

Retrofitting with ammonia

When Sivafrost phased out Freon R-22 over 20 years ago, the company opted right away for ammonia as refrigerant of choice. Six pistol compressors were installed, four of which supplied by Mayekawa and three of them are still in operation today.  

In the current configuration, Sivafrost's cooling system is composed of three low-stage and three high-stage pistol compressors. Pistol compressors are however being gradually replaced by screw compressors as the latter require less maintenance. In the near future, Sivafrost will therefore replace the two non-Mayekawa compressors, of which one is low-stage and the other high-stage, with one single stage screw compressor equipped with an economiser.  

Ammonia as refrigerant

Asked about his evaluation of ammonia as a refrigerant, Jos Siongers says that ammonia is much easier to handle than R-22 in terms of humidity for example, which is simply absorbed by ammonia but makes R-22 installations freeze. Also the coefficient of performance (COP) of the ammonia system is much better, Mr. Siongers estimating the energy savings achieved thanks to the ammonia system at 15%. Thirdly, the cost of the refrigerant itself is much lower than that of Freon.

Sivafrost's refrigerated warehouse in Dendermonde has a charge of 2,000 liter ammonia. Leakages are insignificant and safety regulations have not been experienced as overly difficult. The company installing the system has of course to be certified to be able to work with ammonia systems. In case of an accident involving the ammonia system, the local fire department is adequately equipped to handle the situation. Fire alarm tests are carried out with the fire department on a regular basis to ensure that the staff becomes familiar with the safety procedure.

Pursuit of excellence

In order to further prove the company's dedication to quality, Sivafrost has invested into obtaining the BRC standard for food safety, developed by the British Retail Consortium in order to establish a standard for due diligence and supplier approval. This standards, besides imposing a rigorous quality management, also includes guidelines on any services which have a potential impact on safety or quality of the product such as maintenance and breakdown services for refrigeration control.

Later this week, will report on ECSLA's 50 year celebration and the European Commission presentation at this occasion about the forthcoming review of the f-gas regulation.


By Sabine Lobnig

Dec 06, 2010, 13:12

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