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‘First’ propane cold storage system planned for US

‘First’ propane cold storage system planned for US

Newark Refrigerated Warehouse plans to install what may be the first cold-storage refrigeration system in the US to employ propane as its primary refrigerant. The system will serve two existing buildings and an additional building that will be constructed when the new refrigeration system starts operating.

The company originally planned to replace the R22 currently used at its facility with low-charge ammonia systems. However, that idea fell through after the state of New Jersey abandoned a plan to relax its stringent requirements for ammonia operations. It then considered using R32 as a primary refrigerant, but decided on propane because of impending regulatory pressures on HFCs.

So, Newark Refrigerated Warehouse has applied to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for permission to use propane for refrigeration under the EPA’s Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) programme. If approved, the propane system will contain 500kg of propane, which will be confined to a small one-storey engine room attached to one of its two cold-storage buildings.

The original building has 12 freezer rooms and four medium temperature rooms, with a total capacity of 880kW; the second building has one freezer room with a 1 055kW capacity. The propane will be used to cool a calcium chloride brine solution, which will serve as a secondary refrigerant. To ensure safe operation with a flammable refrigerant, the engine room will be IIAR-2 compliant with fully automated controls, and all electrical panels will be located outside the room.



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