U.S. OEM Innovative Refrigeration Systems has designed, manufactured and installed as many as 60 ammonia (R717)/CO2 (R744) cascade systems, mainly for U.S. industrial “cold storage, blast freezing and process cooling,” said Bob Almon, Vice President of Innovative Refrigeration Systems at the 2023 IIAR Expo.
This makes the company one of the leading providers of ammonia/CO2 systems in North America.
In addition, the company has provided more than 300 packaged and engine-room ammonia refrigeration systems throughout its lifetime for industrial cold storage and food and beverage processing, he said.
The 2023 IIAR Expo was held in California at the Long Beach Convention Center from March 12-15.
In 2017, the company designed, manufactured and installed an ammonia/CO2 cascade system for the Ford Motor Company’s dynamometer lab. For engine performance and destructive testing, Ford needed to “slug” the engines with a “-55°F [-48°C] liquid,” said Almon, adding that Innovative expanded the motor company’s cascade system in 2019.
In a more recent installation, a major distributor of natural and organic foods wanted to switch its freon-based refrigeration system to one that was more eco-friendly and contacted Innovative Refrigeration Systems, the company said on its website.
In addition to installing seven hanging evaporators in the food company’s existing cold dock spaces, the refrigeration company designed, fabricated and installed an ammonia/CO₂ cascade system with eleven mini-penthouses, four screw compressors and three reciprocating compressors to provide refrigeration service for 800,000ft2 (74,322m2), the company said. The upgrade took 16 weeks from mobilization to commissioning.
The company also offers low-charge ammonia refrigeration solutions. Based on the size and demands of the facility, Almon said, “we can provide hundreds of thousands of square feet [of refrigeration] with under 10,000lbs [4,536kg] of ammonia.” That keeps the charge below the amount subject to the requirements of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)’s process safety management (PSM) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s risk management program.
For refrigeration systems using more than 10,000lb (4,536kg) of ammonia, the company offers PSM and energy management solutions.
Over the past few years, Innovative Refrigeration Systems has started to designed and fabricated transcritical CO2 systems.
The company builds transcritical CO2 refrigeration systems for cold storage, food processing or whatever needs the customer has, he said, adding the systems come packaged similarly to the company’s Master Series.
“We can do low-charge ammonia, transcritical CO2 or cascade,” said Almon. “Everything we do is packaged or prefabricated. We do our own design, fabrication, manufacturing, construction, commissioning, and service,” he added.
The company offers “flexible” design and manufacturing options. Systems can be packaged with roof- or ground-mounted options or installed in built-up engine rooms, said Almon, adding the company seeks to meet the customer’s preference and needs.
Headquartered in Lyndhurst, Virginia, Innovative Refrigeration Systems started in a garage in 1993, but it now operates in a 223,000ft2 (20,717m2) facility. Last July, the facility had a shop expansion of 40,069ft2 (3,723m2), the company said on its website, adding six engineering and 35 manufacturing staff positions.
“We can do low-charge ammonia, transcritical CO2 or cascade [systems].”Bob Almon, Vice President of Innovative Refrigeration Systems