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10:00, 12th February 2017

Star's ammonia district heating and cooling system wins ASHRAE Award

Dr Andy Pearson, group managing director of Star Refrigeration and Azane Inc., has won an award for designing the world’s largest ammonia heat pump.

Star Refrigeration’s Dr. Pearson, the lead engineer behind the biggest ammonia heat pump for any district heating and cooling scheme, won the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers’ (ASHRAE) prestigious ‘Comfort Cooling Award for Project Excellence’ at the Society’s Winter Meeting in Las Vegas on 28 January.

The high-temperature district heating and cooling system uses a water-source 13 MW heat pump to deliver cooling and heating to businesses, schools, hospitals and buildings in the coastal town of Drammen in Norway.

The town of 65,000 inhabitants also receives hot water pumped directly into the mains by the heat pump. The system works by extracting warmth from the cold waters of a local river and then heating it to 900oC for heating.

Dr. Pearson oversaw the first ammonia project, at Star Refrigeration headquarters in Glasgow, to use the natural refrigerant in such a large high temperature district-heating scheme.

Norwegian energy supplier Drammen Fjernvarme AS, who operates the project, reports that the heat pump has served 85% of the city’s heat demand and delivered over 400 GWh of clean heat since its installation in 2011.

The electricity consumed by the heat pump mainly comes from hydropower, reducing the system’s carbon footprint to virtually zero, according to Star Refrigeration.

Jon Ivar Bakk, CEO of Drammen Fjernvarme AS, said, “the system has been working uninterrupted for over five years and has delivered savings of €10m and 75,000 tonnes of carbon emissions to date. Our system’s technology offers a reliable and sustainable source of clean energy to meet the town’s heating needs.”

““I am honoured to accept this award from my fellow members of ASHRAE on behalf of all of the team at Star Refrigeration”, said Dr. Dave Pearson, Star Refrigeration's managing director.

Collecting the award, Pearson said, “I am honoured to accept this award from my fellow members of ASHRAE on behalf of all of the team at Star Refrigeration who worked hard to deliver Drammen’s vision of a community-wide, carbon free heating system”.

“The award not only credits innovation but offers an insight to the considerable scope for the environmental and economic benefits that district heating and cooling systems can offer to entire communities,” he said.