Evapco Low-Charge Ammonia
VersaSplit: Photo Credit: Evapco

Evapco Launches ‘World’s First’ Packaged Low-Charge Ammonia Mega-Split Refrigeration System

Now available in North America, the new unit ‒ offering up to 165TR capacity ‒ increases industrial application versatility by serving up to six evaporators at different temperatures.

U.S.-based OEM Evapco has launched VersaSplit, a new condensing unit that the company deems the “world’s first” packaged low-charge ammonia (R717) mega-split refrigeration system, with up to six remote direct expansion (DX) evaporators operating at different temperatures.

VersaSplit, with up to 165TR (580kW) refrigeration capacity, doubles the capacity of Evapco’s roof-mounted Penthouse 70TR (246kW) unit and brings versatility to the industrial market, said Kurt Liebendorfer, Evapco Vice-President, in an exclusive interview with Marc Chasserot, Founder and Owner of ATMOsphere, publisher of ammonia21.com.

“[Companies] are no longer fixed or confined by large rooftop penthouse packages,” Liebendorfer said. “With the split system, the low side is separated to feed up to six evaporators at a distance, while the low-charge ammonia resides in the packaged mechanical room set on the ground or the roof,” he added.

In a presentation at ATMO America Summit 2023, held June 12–13, Mark Shaffer, Design Manager at Evapco, indicated that the evaporators can be installed in different rooms and provide different temperatures.

According to the product brochure, the VersaSplit provides versatile solutions for new or retrofit installations with “high-pressure subcooled liquid ammonia to remote ceiling hung or penthouse DX evaporators with refrigeration capacities of up to 130TR [457kW] for -10°F [-23.3°C] freezers and 165TR for 35°F [1.7°C] coolers or docks.” The ammonia charge averages 4 to 6lbs/TR (0.51 to 0.77kg/kW).

The units are controlled with an industrial programmable logic controller and operate with variable speed control and glycol-cooled oil cooling for efficiency. Based on the installation site ambient conditions, it comes with adiabatic or air- or water-cooled condensers. For air-cooled units, the oil cooling load is rejected to the condenser.

According to Liebendorfer, VersaSplit is available now in North America. These units have been in development for eight to ten years, and the company’s first-ever split system ‒ using two ceiling evaporators ‒ was installed earlier this year in a new Tahoe-Reno industrial cold storage facility.

When asked to compare the new ammonia split design system to the emerging industrial application of CO2 (R744) refrigerant with a lower price point, Liebendorfer indicated that the new ammonia system brings closer price parity to the company’s CO2 solutions. “With the variety of industrial applications, every building costs out differently,” he said. “Depending on the building size, temperatures, and number of rooms, some applications cost out better with CO2 and others with ammonia.”

“Evapco has made a name for itself with its low-charge packaged units for ammonia, but they keep innovating,” Chasserot remarked. “This new cool product is going to revolutionize the industrial ammonia refrigeration industry; we are happy to have this global exclusive to share.”

“For the industrial ammonia market where you are directly refrigerating air with ammonia, the VersaSplit is the final economic solution for many different applications,” Liebendorfer said. “We are proud to have ATMOsphere spread the word.”

Another dual unit

Australian-based Scantec ‒ a designer and manufacturer of industrial and commercial refrigeration systems ‒ also manufactures a plug-in packaged low-charge ammonia system named ScanPAC that offers dual-temperature refrigeration.

“This isn’t new; Gustav Lorentzen modeled this in 1981,” said Stefan Jensen, Managing Director at Scantec, in a statement to ATMOsphere. “For the last 18 months, we have been shipping a ScanPAC every six weeks, with units operating in Banksmeadow, Beresfield, Bunbury, Cairns, Corio, Darwin, Hume, Lismore, Mackay, Malaga, Lytton, Morwell, North Plympton, Geebung, and Port Melbourne often with several packages in the one location.”

In a YouTube video, Jensen outlines a medium-sized facility refrigeration retrofit from an HFC system to the ScanPac. With the new system operating for 12 months, the energy performance records indicate that it has reduced energy consumption by roughly 67%.

Founded in 1976, Evapco is a worldwide leader in the design and manufacture of industrial refrigeration systems & components, with its headquarters in Taneytown, Maryland. “We are dedicated to designing and manufacturing the highest quality products for the evaporative cooling and industrial refrigeration markets around the globe,” the company said on its website.

Liebendorfer indicated that when it comes to industrial ammonia applications, the VersaSplit and the penthouse make up two legs of the company’s three-legged stool. “We also make low-charge ammonia chillers, which are completely for a different market application,” he noted.

“With the split system, the low side is separated to feed up to six evaporators at a distance.”

Kurt Liebendorfer, Evapco Vice-President


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