M&M Carnot Low-Charge Ammonia
M&M Carnot's Pure Freeze low-charge ammonia system, with Mayekawa screw compressors, under construction at factory in Federalsburg, Maryland.

Following Soft Launch, M&M Carnot Starts Building Low-Charge Ammonia Packaged Units

The company received its first Pure Refrigeration order last December, followed by three in 2023.

With four orders under its belt, U.S. OEM M&M Carnot has started building low-charge ammonia (R717) packaged refrigeration units for industrial applications under its Pure Refrigeration line at its factory in Federalsburg, Maryland (U.S.)

The Pure Refrigeration line of configurable modular systems consists of three models: Pure Chill, Pure Freeze and Pure Cold. All three models have a low ammonia charge of 0.5lbs or less per TR (64g or less per kW) and are offered in sizes ranging from 50 to 200TR (176 to 703kW) according to the company’s website.

M&M Carnot was formed in July 2019 from the merger of M&M Refrigeration and Canadian manufacturer Carnot Refrigeration, based in Trois-Rivières, Quebec (Canada). The natural refrigerant-focused company offers commercial and industrial transcritical CO2 (R744) as well as industrial ammonia and industrial cascade (ammonia combined with CO2).

M&M Carnot introduced its Pure line of low-charge ammonia units in a “soft launch” over the past year, and “is now starting to get orders,” Jamie Young, COO of M&M Carnot, said at a vendor meeting last month near its headquarters in Annapolis, Maryland. The company received its first Pure order last December, followed by three in 2023.

A Pure chiller and a Pure Freeze unit were under construction during the meeting; the Freeze unit sported two sets of Mayekawa screw compressors. “The pipeline is building,” said John Miranda, Chief Sales Officer (CSO) of M&M Carnot. Also under construction was an Aquilon industrial transcritical CO2 rack in expanded factory space.

“There is significant growth in both of our businesses [CO2 and ammonia],” said Young. “Transcritical CO2 has been fully adopted in North America and has taken off. The traditional ammonia business is very stable, but the low-charge packaged ammonia systems are also taking off.”

While M&M Carnot has traditionally been a “custom” shop, with its new Pure line of packaged low-charge ammonia units, “the philosophy is to go to a standardized line, but with some level of customization,” said Dave Sholtis, the OEM’s CEO.

M&M Carnot will be employing a “Lean Manufacturing” process in the next few months in Federalsburg to become more efficient.

Because thePure Refrigeration systems are prefabricated and delivered assembled, “the time for installation is significantly reduced, along with labor costs,” M&M Carnot says on its website. “Less on-site construction means faster and easier installation for the receiving facility.”

In addition, the company says, “since all of the Pure Refrigeration models have a low ammonia charge, PSM costs are lower than standard systems, insurance rates are reduced, and there is a safer work environment for your employees and products.” PSM (process safety management) refers to safety rules set by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Two cascade systems per year

M&M Carnot, which pioneered the development of cascade ammonia/CO2 systems, continues to manufacturer about two per year. “It’s a very specialized business,” said Miranda. A recent application is on a fishing barge that needs to freeze fish at -40°F (-40°C).

M&M Carnot also sees the substantial opportunity with heat pumps and chillers with both CO2 and ammonia versions as the electrification of heating takes off.

In January, M&M Carnot renewed the ATMO Approved natural refrigerants label from ATMOsphere, a global market accelerator of clean cooling and heating solutions and publisher of R744.com.

Sholtis pointed out that private equity has found the cold-storage sector an exciting investment prospect, which is leading to more construction of facilities and opportunity for environmentally friendly refrigeration. “It’s exciting to see private equity get into this,” he said. “Some of these private equity companies are focused on sustainable products. They want their warehouses to be green. This is driving our business.”

But the company is motivated by more than just its products, said Sholtis. “We have a mission and values. People come to work for us because they know we are doing something that is greater than making our shareholders happy or making our customers happy. It’s also benefitting our world – our kids and our grandkids.”

“The pipeline is building.”

John Miranda, Chief Sales Officer, M&M Carnot

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