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Coal-Fired Blast Freezer with Ammonia Absorption (Oct 2013)
Tuesday, October 08, 2013 3:03 PM

Coal-Fired Blast Freezer with Ammonia Absorption (Oct 2013)

October 5, 2013



A new blast freezer with a unique refrigeration system is now undergoing commissioning at The Auction Block Company, a seafood processing company in Homer, Alaska.

This blast freezer serves the fish freezing needs of the Cook Inlet commerical fishing fleet. Both electricity and oil are expensive in Homer. However, coal is readily available and inexpensive. A local coal seam was used to refuel coal-fired ships dating from the early 1900’s.

The heart of the blast freezing system is an ammonia absorption refrigeration plant (“ThermoChiller”) supplied by Energy Concepts Company. The coal is burned in a Saskatoon sold-fuel boiler to produce 320°F high pressure hot water that powers the absorption refrigeration plant. Thirty-six tons of refrigeration is produced at -36°F. The refrigeration is transferred to CO2 at -30°F that is pumped to the blast freezer.

The 36 ton ThermoChiller is cooled by an air cooler in the colder months, and by 46°F seawater in the summer.

When there is no demand for blast freezing, the ThermoChiller refrigeration is diverted to a flake icemaker system to produce 10 tons of flake ice per day.

The Saskatoon Boilers are virtually emission-free, with exceptionally clean exhaust gas. When coal is expensive or not readily available, the boiler can be fired with wood chips, making this the world’s first renewable-energy powered blast freezer.

The overall system integration of the CO2 blast freezer, ice makers, ice storage, coal boilers, and ammonia absorption refrigeration was designed by W. Kallenberg, P.E. of Anchorage.

This absorption refrigeration apparatus (ThermoChiller) is available in capacities from 10 to 200 tons. It is engineered to order for whatever heat source is available, be it exhaust gas, natural gas, solar thermal heat, or geothermal heat. If cooling water is expensive or unavailable, an air-cooled version can be supplied. In addition to blast freezing, this ThermoChiller can also be used for cold stores, natural gas liquids recovery, or siloxane removal for wastewater treatment plants and landfills.

For more information contact:
Ellen Makar, 410 266-6521, emakar@energy-concepts.com

Blythe CHP System Up and Running, June 16, 2006
Wednesday, August 26, 2009 4:48 PM

Blythe CHP System Up and Running, June 16, 2006

Desert Power Company and Energy Concepts Company jointly announce the startup of a combined chilling and power system at a vegetable processing facility in Blythe, California.

The system generates 830 kW of electricity from two natural gas fired reciprocating engines, and 160 tons of 25°F chilling from the engine waste heat. An additional 120kW peak is supplied from solar photovoltaic panels.

Located on the western bank of the Colorado River, Blythe is an amazingly productive crop growing area. Fisher Ranch Corporation processes the produce grown on over 12,000 acres of the Palos Verde Valley, including melons, corn, broccoli, and lettuce. A cold storage warehouse covering more than half an acre is chilled to 34°F in order to chill this produce prior to shipment all across the United States. With a typical summer daytime temperature of 115°F, this requires 500 tons of chilling, in order to deliver 6,000 gpm of 32°F water to air handler cooling fans throughout the cold store. The combined electric load for chillers, air handlers, and processing ranges from 600 to 1,000 kW. Summer electricity has become scarce and very costly in this part of California. Hence Fisher Ranch decided to implement lower cost electric supply options.

The natural gas fired engines operate at about 35% efficiency, and have both SCR for NOX removal and also VOC catalyst. The waste heat powered ThermoChiller is supplied both jacket heat (at 220°F) and exhaust heat from both engines. The aqueous ammonia working fluid is directly heated by the exhaust in a heat recovery heat exchanger. The 160 tons of refrigeration is supplied directly to a cold room some 250 feet distant, where 1,900 gpm of chill water cascades over the ammonia evaporator coils.

The ThermoChiller is located next to a cooling tower, which supplies it 600 gpm of 80°F cooling water. The footprint of the ThermoChiller is 8 feet by 8 feet.

When adding the electricity displaced by the 160 tons of chilling (~160 kW), the effective efficiency of converting natural gas to electricity increases from 35% up to 42%. Also, the additional refrigeration capacity increases plant reliability, and allows the refrigeration compressors to operate in a more efficient regime. These factors combine to provide substantial savings in cost of electricity to Fisher Ranch.

Most gas-fired reciprocating engine installations with extensive emissions reduction have an installed cost of more that $2,000 per kW, not including waste heat powered chilling. The Fisher Ranch installation was below $1,500 per kW, including the chilling. The cost was further reduced by the California Self-Generation Incentive Program.


300-Ton ThermoSorber Commissioned, May 14, 2009
Monday, August 17, 2009 11:07 AM

300-Ton ThermoSorber Commissioned, May 14, 2009

This ThermoSorber produces 10.5 million BTU per hour of 145oF hot water, plus 300 tons (1000 kW) of 34oF chilling, from 7500 pounds per hour of 100 psig steam. It is installed at a meat packing plant in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Clean Tech Partners developed and financed this project. Energy Concepts Company manufactured the ThermoSorber, and it was installed by Bassett Mechanical of Kaukauna, Wisconsin.