Industrial Refrigeration Basics: Synthetic vs. Natural Refrigerants

Operable refrigerant systems have been in use since the 1830s, with ether as the original refrigerant. Over the years, the use of refrigerants has evolved as technology has advanced and research has revealed more about the impacts these substances have on the environment. 

New restrictions continue to be placed on the use of refrigerants, making it more important than ever for manufacturers, as well as commercial and industrial owners, to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and changes.

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Digital PSM: A Look at Stellar’s Updated NH360 Compliance Software Platform

When it comes to your facility’s process safety management (PSM), switching from paper to digital is a no-brainer. Using a digital platform saves time, makes document storage more convenient and allows you to have more control during OSHA audits.

We live in an online, digital world where software technologies make our work more efficient. Why should one of the most important elements of your business — the health and safety of your employees — be any different?

Stellar has been a pioneer in the digital PSM market since 1998, and we’re raising the bar.

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What Refrigerated Warehouses Need to Know About Ammonia Utilization in California

Source: CalARP Resource Compliance

California has long been an epicenter of food manufacturing in the United States. With more refrigerated warehouses looking to become sustainable in the 2020s, California is primed to be a major market where cold storage facilities transition to natural refrigerants.  

However, “The Golden State” has unique regulations that refrigerated warehouses must follow when updating their systems. Most critically, there are strict regulations on ammonia, which traditionally has been the preferred refrigerant because of its efficiency, low cost and safety when the system is properly designed.  

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Ammonia Refrigeration: Debunking 3 Myths

In previous blog posts, we’ve discussed that owners of hydrofluorocarbons (HFC) refrigeration systems have some decisions to make as R22 refrigerant is phased out and states take on regulations and enforcement.

Natural refrigerants, like CO2 or ammonia, are good alternatives, but they can sometimes get a bad rap. We’ve debunked some myths about CO2 before — now let’s look at ammonia.

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How Stellar Services Industrial Refrigeration Compressors [VIDEO]

Stellar – Compressor Rebuild & Repair Facility (How It’s Done) from Stellar on Vimeo.

We recently updated our refrigeration parts and compressor shops in Jacksonville, Florida, and Fort Worth, Texas. (Stellar also has shops in Modesto, California and York, Pennsylvania.) Each facility offers climate-controlled storage spaces and a compressor shop with a separate teardown room, clean room and paint booth.

From the time a compressor arrives at one of Stellar’s service facilities to the time it leaves, it undergoes an unrivaled 75-point quality inspection — a rigorous examination unlike any in the industry.

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Ammonia Refrigeration: Is Your Machine Room Ventilation Up to Code?

When it comes to ammonia refrigeration machine rooms, ventilation updates can often be overlooked.

Current and new mechanical codes — International Mechanical Code (IMC) and Uniform Mechanical Code (UMC) — defer to IIAR 2 (and sometimes ASHRAE 15) as the referenced code for ammonia refrigeration systems, including the machine room ventilation.

Just because your ammonia system was designed to code years ago it may not necessarily be code compliant today.

If you have updated your refrigeration system recently, did you update your machine room’s ventilation as well?

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Industrial Refrigeration: Your Options as R22 Refrigerant Is Phased Out

This is the last year that R22 can be manufactured in or imported to the United States.

As a reminder, here’s the timeline according to the EPA final rule

  • On January 1, 2018, R22 production dropped 30% from the 2017 supply to 9 million pounds
  • On January 1, 2019, production dropped 55% from the 2018 supply to 4 million pounds
  • On January 1, 2020, R22 will be phased out completely with no new or imported R22 allowed in the U.S.

If your refrigeration system uses R22, you have some decisions to make — and the clock is ticking.

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HFC Refrigerant Regulations: What to Do as States Adopt SNAP Rule 20

When the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced they were going to phase out hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants in 2015, many in the industry began preparing for the coming changes. The new proposed regulations under Section 612 of the Clean Air Act, known as SNAP Rule 20, established a schedule to phase out common HFC refrigerants such as R-22, R-124 and R-507.

However, when major chemical companies challenged the EPA in federal court in 2017, a judge ruled the EPA didn’t have the authority to mandate the changes. Attempts to appeal the court’s decision failed, and the EPA acknowledged they will not enforce the rule.

However, just because the rule was overturned at the federal level doesn’t mean you’re in the clear if you use these refrigerants.

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5 Lessons Logistics Companies Can Learn From Caspers’ New Refrigerated Distribution Facility

Caspers Cold Storage & Distribution, Florida’s oldest third-party logistics company, recently opened a new state-of-the-art refrigerated distribution facility in Tampa that is helping transform the company into one of the most dynamic leaders in cold storage distribution today. The 116,000-square-foot facility is key to Caspers’ new business model as a frozen-food storage provider. It includes:   

  • An 87,000-square-foot, -10°F freezer
  • Two -48°F blast cells
  • A 16,000-square-foot, 35°F truck dock
  • Machine and maintenance rooms
  • Offices and employee welfare areas

The facility was designed and built by Stellar, which overcame several building complexities to complete the project quickly and under budget. Here are five lessons companies can learn from Caspers’ new refrigerated distribution facility.

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NH360: How Packaged Refrigeration Equipment Can Help Your Bottom Line and Project Schedule

What is packaged refrigeration?

Low-charge packaged refrigeration systems are “packaged” or “modular.” The refrigeration equipment is built off site, mounted on a structural steel base (skid), and then delivered to your plant as a self-contained, “plug-and-play” system.

Not only is low-charge packaged refrigeration equipment safer, it also comes with advantages in terms of:

  • Installation
  • Field labor savings
  • Schedule savings

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