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Standardization is reason #5 why HFO Refrigerants are a strong alternative to ammonia in mild freezing applications

When installing an industrial chiller in a food, beverage, or dairy setting, it is important to consider whether the traditionally used NH3 (ammonia) is the most appropriate refrigerant solution. Companies that need a mild freezing cooling system are increasingly turning to HFO (Hydrofluoro-olefin) refrigerants to improve sustainability, boost performance, and significantly reduce costs.

The ideal refrigerant is non-toxic, non-flammable, non-explosive, non-corrosive, environment-friendly, inexpensive, easy to produce and handle and with good thermodynamic properties operating at low pressures.

HFO refrigerants meet these criteria ― and on standardized units.


Every ammonia system is unique and customized to a specific process application. Ammonia is highly toxic, volatile, and explosive, flammable and corrosive. Chillers using ammonia are non-standard, with complex requirements at every stage – from risk assessment, through operation to installation and servicing.
If food and beverage companies select an ammonia refrigeration system, added time requirements will need at every stage of the new chiller project:
• Initial project feasibility study (FEED, front end engineering design)
• Site survey
• Risk Assessment
• Design
• Manufacture
• Delivery, offloading and positioning
• Installation and pipework
• Commissioning


1) Production efficiency and costs

When a chiller manufacturing process produces a standardized product, lower production costs are achievable because of economies of scale and the availability of standardized components and materials.

2) Easier to scale production in line with demand

With a standardized HFO chiller production process, production can be ramped up in line with increased demand far easier than with non-standard ammonia chiller production processes. This results in shorter lead times.

3) Ease of installation

Delivery, installation and final commissioning of HFO chillers can be undertaken swiftly and trouble free by a Service Engineer, with no new pipework requirements. Extra care, time and expertise will be required to do the same for an ammonia chiller, meaning higher costs, more safety precautions and lengthier timescales.

4) Greater predictability of how the chiller will work

An HFO chiller is manufactured according to a standardized and proven manufacturing processes. It has been tested and used in various customer applications and settings. Knowing how a chiller performs at different conditions is very important to avoid unwanted surprises. An ammonia chiller presents many variables on process conditions and the staff tasked with overseeing them.

5) Extensive knowledge of the model and its components

With standardized HFO chillers, there is extensive knowledge and information available on the range and the components used in building them and how they behave within different process applications and conditions. Spare parts are also kept as standard allowing easy repair and replacements.
Ammonia chiller spare parts are different across the models. Changing them will require extra care, safety, time and costs.

6) Greater flexibility and interchangeability

Once an HFO chiller is in place, it will provide consistent and accurate process cooling. In case of maintenance or breakdown requiring a unit downtime, a replacement rental chiller can easily be used to keep production operational 24/7. Equally, should a replacement chiller be required, it can be changed for a similar model, or even be upgraded with a higher efficiency unit through the Trane EAASY program.
An installed ammonia chiller offers little flexibility and interchangeability.

7) Quality is consistent

As HFO chillers are produced to a standardized process, the quality of production is consistent and to pre-defined and rigorous benchmarks. The chillers produced are uniform in every way, any inconsistencies will stand out.

8) Easier compliance

Ensuring an HFO chiller remains compliant can usually be done easily with planned chiller servicing and maintenance through FGas compliant Service Engineers. In contrast, an ammonia system will be subject to far more rigorous and specific checks. An ammonia certified engineer needs up to 2 years training and needs recertifying every 3 years.

9) Reduced waste and alignment with greener initiatives

Manufacturing HFO chillers to standardized processes follows recycling and waste reduction standards. Manufacturing of ammonia chillers entails more variations in components and processes to satisfy the individual nature of each machine, making it harder to keep to pre-agreed recycling, waste, and sustainability management initiatives.
Trane Technologies is committed to zero waste to landfill by 2030. Since 2019, seventeen Trane operations have achieved this designation. While our non-hazardous waste to landfill increased by 12% in 2020, we reduced the amount of hazardous waste disposed by 13%.

10) Brand loyalty

Supplying consistent and standardized HFO chillers promotes brand loyalty and understanding of the products and its capabilities. Facility Engineers gain confidence in low GWP refrigerant solutions.


HFO-based chillers are standardized products using zero ODP and near-zero GWP.
Standard products offer proven performances, optimized design, the best quality / costs combination, and the use of service programs and teams that are well defined for optimized long-term performances. HFO chiller performance is predictable and, with spare parts as standard, our highly-experienced and knowledgeable Trane technicians can solve issues promptly – and supply replacement chillers on a rental basis if needed.
HFO cooling systems can substantially reduce the Total Life Cycle Cost of your investment and are ideal for almost every application – a perfect cooling alternative to ammonia.

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