Economic Advantages of Ammonia Refrigeration

What are the overall advantages of using ammonia as a refrigerant?
As a refrigerant, ammonia offers three distinct advantages over other commonly used industrial refrigerants. First, ammonia is environmentally compatible. It does not deplete the ozone layer and does not contribute to global warming. Second, ammonia has superior thermodynamic qualities, as a result ammonia refrigeration systems use less electricity. Third, ammonia's recognizable odor is it's greatest safety asset. Unlike most other industrial refrigerants that have no odor, ammonia refrigeration has a proven safety record in part because leaks are not likely to escape detection.
Does ammonia refrigeration help reduce my food bill?
Generally speaking, ammonia refrigeration systems cost 10-20% less to install than systems using competitive industrial refrigerants. Thermodynamically, ammonia is 3-10% more efficient than competitive refrigerants; as a result ammonia systems use less electricity than competitive refrigerants. The cost of ammonia itself is significantly less than competitive industrial refrigerants and less ammonia is also generally required to do the job than other industrial refrigerants. All of that adds up to lower operating costs for food processors and cold storage facility operators, and that means lower grocery bills for the average household.
Do lower energy demands benefit the environment?
Proper environmental impact assessment of refrigerants and their systems requires consideration of both their direct and the indirect contribution to global warming. Refrigeration systems directly contribute to global warming through the greenhouse gas effect of their fugitive refrigerant emissions. They indirectly add to global warming through carbon dioxide emissions resulting from conversion of fossil fuels to energy required to operate the systems.
The "total equivalent warming impact," TEWI, is defined as the sum of these direct and indirect contributions. Ammonia's TEWI score is very low because ammonia itself does not contribute to global warming. In addition, due to highly favorable thermodynamic properties, ammonia refrigeration systems require less primary energy compared to other commonly used refrigerants. As a result, there is an indirect global warming benefit of lower CO2 emissions from electric power plants; among the lowest of all refrigerants.