The Industrial Refrigeration Consortium Website: Technical Assistance

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Technical Assistance

Energy Efficiency

Refrigeration systems typically consume a large portion of the utility budget at most plants but they are often overlooked when it comes to energy efficiency projects due to the complexity of the systems. Opportunities abound due to adjustments of set points, planning for system expansions, and strategies that seek to improve system operation.

During the past several years, we have conducted numerous energy efficiency evaluations of refrigeration systems installed in dairies, warehouses, meat processing plants, ammonia fertilizer terminals, ice cream plants and more. The IRC staff bring the knowledge, insight and lessons-learned from all of those plants to your facility when they arrive to investigate your system for opportunities to improve energy efficiency.

The IRC offers three levels of refrigeration system evaluation for you to choose from. A site visit could last from a partial day to several days, depending upon the level of detail you need in your investigation. These evaluation levels are explained in the document Industrial Refrigeration System Evaluation.

See the following examples of generic reports from energy efficiency audits.

  • Dairy Plant
  • Frozen Foods Plant
  • Meat Packing Plant

Optimization

How often is a refrigeration system built to perfectly meet production's needs throughout the life of the plant? Almost never. Food processors and other manufacturers are constantly re-designing the products they produce for the consumer market. As the products change, so do the demands on the refrigeration system. One month production may require more cooling on one product line and the next month production needs change; thereby, demanding lower temperatures on another line. After a number of these changes, the refrigeration system may be operating at conditions never envisioned in the original design.

The staff at the IRC have worked with numerous food processing plants to optimize their refrigeration system for current requirements with provisions to make changes to meet future process requirements. What do we mean by optimization? It could be a gain in energy efficiency while still meeting current production requirements. It could me meeting higher production requirements without the need for a significant addition to the refrigeration system. It could be a combination of both, improving the operation or reducing the system's maintenance requirements.

The IRC offers three levels of refrigeration system evaluation for you to choose from. A site visit could last from a partial day to several days, depending upon the level of detail you need in your investigation. These evaluation levels are explained in the document Industrial Refrigeration System Evaluation.

Let the IRC staff bring the knowledge, insight and lessons-learned from all of the plants they have worked with to your facility when they arrive to investigate your system for optimization opportunities.

See the following examples of optimization reports.

Needs Assessment

Be it a new plant under design or an existing plant facing a major renovation, let the IRC staff assist you in determining the current and future needs of your refrigeration system. IRC staff will work with your team of refrigeration designers, production personnel and others to identify key requirements for refrigeration system to meet not only the current production needs but also determine how the system can be designed to flexible to a change in those future needs.

PSM/RMP Safety Assessment

A significant number of industrial refrigeration systems use anhydrous ammonia as a refrigerant in quantities greater than 10,000 pounds. As such, each facility is required to develop and implement comprehensive safety programs that comply with OSHA's Process Safety Management (PSM) Standard (29 CFR 1910.119) and EPA's Risk Management Plan (RMP: 40 CFR 68).

Elements of both the PSM standard and RMP require documenting engineering calculations that support the design, operation, and risk assessment of ammonia refrigeration systems. Invite IRC staff to your facility to help you review your current program for regulatory compliance.

IRC staff can examine your current program and offer changes to improve it. More importantly, IRC staff can provide your personnel with tools and training to make future audits of your program easy and rewarding for your facility.

Contact the IRC for further information on a PSM assessment of your facility.

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