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Industrial Refrigeration

Industrial refrigeration systems are present in many industrial sectors including food processing, chemicals, construction, plastics, and electronics. More than 90% of industrial refrigeration in the U.S. is provided by mechanical systems using low-temperature ammonia as the refrigerant in which heat energy from a load is absorbed as the liquid refrigerant undergoes a phase change to a gaseous state[1]. Altogether, process cooling and industrial refrigeration (including chillers) account for approximately 5.7% of U.S. industrial energy consumption[2].

While energy efficiency opportunities for industrial refrigeration exist at both the component and system level, a system-level approach that takes into account the interaction of individual components and how they are configured within the system is the most effective way to generate impactful energy savings.

Top Five Energy Efficiency Measures for Refrigeration Systems

  1. Minimize condensing pressure setpoint
  2. Revise compressor/condenser control scheme to develop combinations that allow for most efficient sequencing
  3. Implement variable speed control on the evaporator fan and compressor motor
  4. Reduce system lift by raising suction or lowering discharge pressure
  5. Apply floating head pressure control and oversize evaporative condenser

Explore additional resources specific to Better Plants partners and connect with the refrigeration-subject matter expert below.

[1] Pelsoci, Thomas Ph.D., Closed Cycle Air Refrigeration Technology: Economic Case Study. August 2005, Gaithersburg, Maryland.

[2] U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration, “Manufacturing Energy Consumption Survey,”2014, Washington, D.C

Subject Matter Expert - Wei Guo

Dr. Wei Guo was a research assistant at the University of Arkansas from Jan 2006 to Feb 2011 and received his doctoral degree in Mechanical Engineering in May 2011. While pursuing his Ph.D. degree, Wei spent every summer at the Arkansas Industrial Assessment Center working on U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and Arkansas State-funded manufacturing plant energy assessment projects. After graduation, Wei worked as an Energy Engineer at a building energy consulting firm for about 5 years. Wei's primary area of expertise is manufacturing plants and healthcare facilities energy conservation. He is an expert on Building Energy Modeling, Building Energy Performance M&V, and chilled water system Hydraulic Modeling for manufacturing plants. He also has extensive field experience on very complex air handling units and conventional and heat pump chiller plants. Wei has published over 15 energy conservation-related technical papers and reports.

You can reach Wei with refrigeration-related questions at