Design of Ammonia Refrigeration Systems for Peak Performance and Efficiency

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Course Overview

As a refrigerant, ammonia has been in widespread use in the industrial sector for more than a century. With no ozone depletion potential and no global warming potential, it is environmentally friendly as well as an efficient choice for refrigeration. In this course, you will learn how to take advantage of ammonia’s desirable properties to design your refrigeration systems for peak performance. You will also learn from the experts about safety precautions and the latest research from the IRC that you can immediately apply on your next refrigeration system specification or design.

Who Should Attend?

  • Design/build contractors 
  • Owners, plant operators, supervisors, engineers, and designers who want to better specify systems 
  • Project managers responsible for ammonia system design and construction 
  • Consulting engineers

Additional Information

This course is part of the Process Safety Management Professional Certificate. Increase your knowledge and effectiveness at managing PSM/RMP programs for your ammonia refrigerated facility, while earning a recognized credential. Course can be taken individually as well.

Course Outline

Day 1

Welcome and Introduction – Douglas T. Reindl, Professor, University of Wisconsin– Madison, Director, Industrial Refrigeration Consortium

Design Considerations for Energy Efficiency – Doug Reindl

  • Review of systems: single-stage, DX, flooded, overfed, and multi-stage systems
  • Energy efficiency considerations for industrial refrigeration systems

Load Calculations and Psychrometrics – Todd B. Jekel, Assistant Director – Industrial Refrigeration Consortium

  • Temperature requirements
  • Load types: envelope, product, internal, equipment, infiltration
  • Psychrometrics review
  • Sensible and latent loads
  • Infiltration loads: theory vs. real-world
  • Rules-of-thumb

Load Calculation Workshop Load Calculation Workshop (continues) Evaporators – Todd Jekel

  • Types
  • Performance characteristics
  • Manufacturer's rating methods
  • Selection process
  • Energy efficiency considerations
  • Variable speed drive fans

Assign Homework – Class Design Project – Staff

  • Preliminary refrigeration system layouts
  • Load calculations
  • Evaporator selection/layout

Adjourn to Work on Class Project

Day 2

Homework Review Valves and Valve Selection – Todd Jekel

  • Valve types and uses
  • Actuating methods (direct-acting, pilot-operated)
  • Installation considerations
  • Typical valve groups
  • Safety considerations
  • Energy efficiency considerations

Condensers – Douglas T. Reindl

  • Performance characteristics
  • Sizing considerations
  • Selection
  • Fan alternatives and methods of control
  • Energy efficiency considerations

Condenser Selection Workshop – Douglas T. Reindl Vessels– Todd B. Jekel

  • Types: high-pressure receiver, thermosiphon, low-pressure accumulator, flash intercooler
  • Configurations: horizontal or vertical
  • Ratings
  • Proper practices for system integration
  • Knock-out velocity
  • Down-comer sizing
  • Refrigerant level control (floats, capacitance probes)

Vessel Sizing/Selection Workshop –Todd B. Jekel

Assign Homework – Staff

  • Evaporator valve selection and valve train layout

Adjourn to Work on Class Project

Day 3

Homework Review Liquid Refrigerant Pumps – Todd B. Jekel

  • Pump types and performance curves
  • Net positive suction head: required and available
  • Pump selection
  • Energy efficiency considerations

Compressors – Douglas T. Reindl Compressor technologies

  • Compressor ratings
  • Full-load and part-load operation
  • Oil cooler heat rejection methods (screw compressors)
  • Volume ratio (fixed and variable)
  • High stage and booster selection
  • Energy efficiency considerations

Compressors (continued)

Class Design Project Assign Homework – Staff

  • Select compressors
  • Select condensers

Adjourn to Work on Class Design Project

Day 4

Homework Review Refrigerant Piping –Todd Jekel (low-side) Douglas T. Reindl (high-side)

  • Sizing vapor lines (suction, discharge, hot gas)
  • Liquid line sizing
  • Wet return line sizing
  • Piping practices to minimize potential for hydraulic hammer
  • Riser pipe sizing practices
  • Energy efficiency considerations

Refrigerant Piping Workshop Heat Recovery Opportunities – Douglas T. Reindl

  • Assessing the potential for heat recovery in ammonia systems
  • Heat recovery options Design Project

Assign Homework – Staff

  • Class design project

Adjourn to Work on Class Design Project

Day 5

Homework Review

Finalize Design Project

Design Project Presentations

Question/Answer Session


"I got a great overview and exposure to the details. I will definitely be a smarter customer for both design services and equipment supply. Also, got some energy tips I'll be looking at."

"All was excellent, from the knowledge and skills of the speakers to the facility."

"I got an extremely well-rounded education on refrigeration systems and associated engineering."

"I have a completely new perspective on design. The course really cleared up a lot of things in my systems and how they operate."

"Great course for designers, owners, consultants—anyone around the engine room or plant in general."

"Very helpful for trouble-shooting and problem solving on current systems."


Todd Jekel

Todd Jekel, PhD, PE is the assistant director of the Industrial Refrigeration Consortium at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Jekel has been actively conducting research on refrigeration systems including vessel design practices, oil separators, and analysis of dehumidification alternatives for cold storage warehouses. He holds degrees from Calvin College and the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Douglas Reindl

Douglas Reindl, PhD, PE is a professor at the Department of Mechanical Engineering and a Program Director at the Office of Engineering Professional Development at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has extensive experience in mechanical systems – including industrial ammonia refrigeration systems. As the founding director of the Industrial Refrigeration Consortium, he works extensively to improve the safety, efficiency, reliability, and productivity of ammonia refrigeration infrastructure. Dr. Reindl received his BS in mechanical engineering technology from the Milwaukee School of Engineering, MS in mechanical engineering from UW–Madison, and PhD in mechanical engineering from UW–Madison. He is a registered professional engineer in the State of Wisconsin.

Upcoming dates (1)

Sep. 13-17, 2021

Madison, WI
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Program Director

Douglas Reindl

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