Now that the industry is all confused about HCFC refrigerants, it might be time to pay a bit more attention to another refrigerant that has been around a long time, doesn’t cost all that much, and has a solid track record.

We are talking about ammonia. This Point of View is not intended to discuss the range of applications for ammonia, or where or where not to use it, or how to make ammonia systems run super efficient.

It is, in fact, an encouragement for those interested in such things to go to a place to learn the answers to all of the above.

I’m speaking of the 2012 Industrial Refrigeration Conference & Exhibition sponsored by the International Institute of Ammonia Refrigeration and taking place this March 17-21 in Milwaukee.

There will be workshops, panel discussions, technical papers, exhibitors, a plenary session and, of course, plenty of time to converse in corridors or after hours at local watering holes, of which Milwaukee is said to have quite a few.

Technical papers embrace ammonia applications in heat pumps, in conjunction with CO2, as part of absorption refrigeration, in U.S. supermarkets, and in minefields. Workshops will range from defrosting issues, to OSHA regulations, to ammonia in the brewing industry. (Did I mention this conference was taking place in Milwaukee?)

The way to find out more is to go to and follow the links.

I’m planning on being there to learn more about this long-time, low-cost refrigerant. Stop me and we can talk in corridors or at watering holes — about ammonia or even that confusing HCFC issue.

Publication date: 02/13/2012