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Ammonia vs Freon refrigeration systems - comparison

July 2016

With a major move towards natural refrigerants coming into effect around the world we at Lutz Refrigeration see the trend for the future moving towards Ammonia for large scale cold storage and gradually towards the medium sized and eventually smaller rooms.  This is because the deleterious effect on the environment caused by leaking Ammonia to the atmosphere are far lower than all Freon gasses on the market currently (R134a, R507, R404 etc.).  We however don’t see Freon’s being phased out completely any time soon and need to cater to all ends of the market.  Below we will compare a few criteria for the two different system types.


On a practical level Ammonia is a toxic gas that needs to be handled with extreme care to ensure safety.  This care brings with it a plethora of maintenance costs to ensure sufficient preventative maintenance and safety standards are adhered to.  


Capital investment costs are also substantially higher when going with Ammonia. The cost difference can be anywhere in the region of 50% to 300% higher on a comparative basis. 


Operational costs for Ammonia are typically higher when taking energy as well as maintenance costs into account.  Typically, your electricity bill will be marginally lower with Ammonia refrigeration systems, in the region of 5% to 30% but that saving will be offset on maintenance costs.

We believe the most cost effective solution is a well-designed Freon system, taking into account potential things like evaporative condensing, multiplex systems, variable speed drives and various other initiative like this that can pull a Freon refrigeration systems efficiency in line with a good Ammonia system.


We have examples of these facilities around the country and would be glad to showcase them, please enquire if you are interested.

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