Introduction to Ammonia Refrigeration Systems

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Course Overview

In this course, you will establish a foundational understanding of ammonia refrigeration systems, components, and best practices that you can use immediately.

Who Should Attend?

  • Refrigeration system operators 
  • Plant engineers 
  • Maintenance supervisors 
  • Facilities engineers 
  • Contractors 
  • Application engineers 
  • Refrigeration service technicians 

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

Course Introduction 

Refrigeration Systems Overview

  • Refrigeration technology alternatives
  • Refrigerants and refrigerant selection criteria
  • Introduction to system types: direct expansion, flooded, and overfeed

Overview of Refrigerant Properties

  • Fundamental properties: pressure, volume, and temperature
  • Derived properties: enthalpy, internal energy, and transport
  • Refrigerant phases and behavior during phase change
  • Latent and sensible energy changes
  • Diagrams: pressure vs. enthalpy
  • Flash gas concepts

Refrigerant Property Workshop

Safety in Ammonia Refrigeration

  • Safety and health issues associated with refrigerants
  • Flammability considerations
  • Prevention of incidents and accidents

Overview of Process Safety Management and Risk Management Programs

  • Applicability
  • Key elements of OSHA''s Process Safety Management program
  • EPA''s Risk Management Plan rule

Day 2

Machinery Room Safety Practices

  • Equipment
  • Key safety systems: ammonia detection, ventilation, emergency controls, and eye wash and shower stations
  • Related standards

Refrigeration System Components: Compressors

  • Technology alternatives
  • Configuration: open drive vs. semi-hermetic or hermetic
  • Theory of operation screw (single/twin) and reciprocating
  • Capacity control/unloading
  • Volume ratio concepts

Refrigeration Systems Workshop

  • How to identify cycle state points
  • How to complete cycle layouts

Refrigeration System Components: Condensers

  • Types of heat rejection equipment
  • Principles of operation
  • Operational considerations

Refrigeration System Components: Valves

  • Stop valves
  • Check valves
  • Regulators
  • Expansion valves: thermostatic, electronics, hand, and floats
  • Safety relief

Day 3

Refrigeration Cycle Review

Refrigeration System Components: Evaporators

  • Feed configurations: DX, flooded, and liquid overfeed
  • Air units: ceiling-hung, penthouse/high temperature, and low temperature
  • Chillers: plate-and-frame, and shell-and-tube

Refrigeration System Components: Vessels and Pumps

  • High-side vessels: high-pressure receiver, thermosiphon pilot, and controlled-pressure receiver
  • Low-side vessels: suction traps and transfer stations, recirculators, and surge drums
  • Transfer systems
  • Liquid refrigerant pumps

Open Discussion


"Excellent content and presentation."

"Now I feel I can safely and comfortably control our plant."

"This course provided and easy, logical explanation of refrigeration basics."

"This was a great class. Both teachers did a tremendous job in sharing their expertise."

"This will help me immediately in my job."

"Exceeded expectations. Direct application to my current responsibilities and gave me plenty to look at and hopefully improve when I return. I'm looking forward to future courses."

"Absolutely worth the time."


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.

John Davis

John holds dual appointments at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, College of Engineering.  He is an associate faculty associate and program director in the Office of Engineering Professional Development and a research engineer at the Industrial Refrigeration Consortium (IRC).  He holds a BSME degree (Iowa State University) and MS degrees in Engineering (Purdue University) and Engineering Management (Northwestern University).  John’s professional interests include technical leadership, HVAC products and systems, DX refrigeration, industrial refrigeration, geothermal system design, thermal systems optimization, building science and building energy management.  John is a registered P.E. and a member of both ASHRAE and IIAR.

Upcoming dates (3)

Oct. 5-9, 2020

Online RA00369-T909
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Mar. 3-5, 2021

Madison, WI
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Oct. 6-8, 2021

Madison, WI
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Create a custom learning experience

We can deliver this course as an on-site learning experience tailored to your organization’s specific training needs.