The LCCS is a technological innovation that promotes efficiency in the use of refrigerants.
Johnson Controls, a global company that has been providing products, technologies, software, and services for smart buildings since 1885, has received the China International Business Award 2020 the Food Manufacturing Solutions category for its low-charge central system (LCCS).
The inaugural awards programme, presented by Hong Kong Business magazine, aims to honour first-rate international businesses in China and recognise their contributions to the country’s economy.
The LCCS combines the high efficiency and reliability of a central refrigeration system with patented remote distributed condensing (RDC) units, which are managed by an intelligent control system.
Due to this innovative configuration, the total system ammonia charge is reduced to approximately 0.2–0.4 kg/kW compared with the traditional LR system that contains 2.6–30 kg/kW.
Ammonia is a refrigerant that has been used in cold storage and food processing for 100 years. Its advantages include heat transfer efficiency and affordable cost, but its application is being re-evaluated in consideration of its toxicity and flammability.
In recent years, low-charge ammonia systems have been developed and promoted in the market to decrease the risks associated with this refrigerant.
Johnson Controls’ LCCS consists of three components: a centralised compression system, RDC units and associated DX evaporators in very close proximity, and the main control system. In the compression system, the LCCS retains a central engine room that offers the same flexibility, efficiency, and familiarity as a traditional liquid recirculation system. The advantage is having no liquid ammonia storage vessels in the engine room, thereby requiring only a small space.
Amongst the key components of the LCCS are the RDC units. These units condense the ammonia hot gas from the compressors and store the condensed liquid in a small liquid supply vessel for supplying to DX evaporators. An extremely limited amount of ammonia liquid is kept between the closed condenser and evaporator.
The LCCS control system consists of a base control cabinet with multiple distributed I/O panels on each RDC. A master computer, which performs supervisory control and data acquisition, communicates with the based control cabinet. The built-in logics and algorithms ensure accuracy and reliability in delivering the lowest total cost of ownership for any refrigeration system.
Simplicity, flexibility, and efficiency are the main characteristics of this innovation. The main features and benefits are the following. The LCCS significantly reduces ammonia charge by 85%–95% compared with the traditional LR system. There is zero or a minimal amount of liquid ammonia in the occupied space and machine room, thus protecting the safety of personnel. The LCCS also addresses water scarcity issues.
Circulators and receivers are removed, thereby necessitating a much smaller engine room and freeing up more space for cold storage. The highly efficient and reliable central compression system has flexible applications, and the intelligent control of the automatic operation system is designed in a manner that reduces human operation and improves system security. The RDC’s modularity allows easy expansion, and the overall system has multiple heat recovery possibilities.
As a new development, the LCCS highlights Johnson Controls’ mission of offering technologies that have a positive effect not only on businesses but also on the natural environment, especially in the context of a changing climate that affects all aspects of human life.
Watch the interview below to know more about their winning project:
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