Mastering Natural Refrigerants


The refrigeration experts

The maritime industry has always been one of the backbones of economic growth. Its potential is huge and will only expand further in the coming years, due to an increasing world population and booming economy. 

For decades now, GEA has played an important role in the maritime technological development. Our dedicated specialists have engineered a wide range of refrigeration solutions for countless vessels, making it a true specialism. GEA’s chilled water installations for process cooling for example, ensure that fish processing is done in the most efficient way. On the other hand, our freezing plants make sure that fish is preserved in the best possible way during processing, packaging and storage. 

Mastering ammonia

Throughout the globe, there are only a handful of companies that have certified ship designers and marine engineers to work on Ammonia and CO2 engine rooms; a great solution for a greener planet. Due to very strict safety regulations for design and engineering, many suppliers stick to traditional synthetic refrigerants that influence the environment in a negative way. In doing so they fail to demonstrate the economic and sustainable advantages to customers.  This is where GEA thinks differently.

Advantages of ammonia

When analyzing the effects of refrigerants, there is no doubt about it that natural refrigerants like Ammonia or CO2 have multiple advantages over synthetic ones. From a practical and economical point of view, (screw) compressors using a natural refrigerant are more energy efficient than those using synthetic refrigerants. Depending on the type of application, this efficiency could go up to as much as 20%. Furthermore it enables installations to freeze at lower temperatures and facilitates easier freezing. Last but not least, the pricing and availability of natural refrigerants, makes a long term investment definitely worthwhile. From a sustainable point of view, phasing out synthetic refrigerants for natural ones, improves the carbon footprint for each vessel and is in line with the strict (inter)national regulations for the coming years.


Replacing an existing refrigeration installation using natural refrigerants always depends on the commercial life time expectation of a vessel. Some fleet owners however need to do a retrofit, replacing all compressors, separators and coolers. The message from European authorities on the use of F-Gasses is clear: HFC refrigerants are not a viable long term solution and they should look to invest in futureproof cooling systems to avoid escalating costs and ensure uninterrupted business operation. By the year 2030, 80% of the synthetic refrigerants needs to be phased out. Therefore even fleet owners that want to extend their fleet with another 6-10 years already switch to natural refrigerants with only minor adjustments to their installation.  If you have any questions on phasing out synthetic refrigerants for ammonia or CO2, feel free to contact GEA. We are more than happy to demonstrate one of the many cases we have at hand.


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