ARF Launches New Research Project Selection Process

The Ammonia Refrigeration Foundation has launched a new process to select its research projects, which now starts with a simple, one-page form. The process makes it easier for IIAR members to submit their ideas to the research committee. The form, which is available online, is used to explain the proposed project, state its potential benefits and merit, and can be submitted by any IIAR member.

In addition to this form, there have been improvements made, including a formal research plan to track all phases of the ideas and projects and a format to create a research project work statement.

Wayne Wehber, chair of the ARF research committee, said he hopes the simplified one-page form that starts the selection process will encourage more members to submit ideas.

The research committee, which is made up of 13 voting members, will review the one-page form. If the committee supports the idea, either the initiator of the idea, another volunteer or even a team of volunteers will develop the idea further by completing the research project work statement.

“This would be the document that would be reviewed and approved to move forward in addition to being utilized to define the scope to allow a vendor to bid on a project,” Wehber said. “If you [as the idea submitter] don’t want to go through the next step—the work statement – someone on the research committee can do that.”

The research committee has been developing the revised research process for the past year-and-a-half, and has defined the process to select a project, obtain bids, and follow the project with sub-committee reviews. “The research committee now has a structured format to take ideas and make them into projects that have some substance,” Wehber said.

Ideas should address areas that, if analyzed, tested or studied, would benefit the organization in some manner.

“The stereotype that the research committee focuses only on types of research that may be earth shattering for the future is incorrect. We look for practical solutions and answers in many categories,” Wehber said.

The research committee typically focuses on topics that can directly benefit IIAR members in their daily lives in the industrial refrigeration environment, including safety, sustainability and energy efficiency, as well as system design and operational practices.

“Many times the projects that are chosen have originated from other committee members to provide clarity or input to solve an issue or to derive a conclusion that provides direction to that committee,” Wehber said.

He added that ARF-funded research often falls into two broad categories. The first includes instances where data is collected on an issue, then is organized to provide an appropriate guideline for industry use. The second includes instances of IIAR conducting research to better understand the mechanics or characteristics of a situation that affects the industry.

Currently, two research projects are underway. Future projects now being considered include installation guidelines for insulation, modeling of an ammonia leak to determine ammonia gas monitor locations and operating system challenges in cold temperatures.

There is no limit to how many projects the industry can take on, and Wehber said he would like to see ARF research get to a level where three to four projects are in process at all times.

Funding for the research committee comes from the Ammonia Research Foundation, which exists thanks to the generous donations provided by IIAR members. “I encourage everyone to submit ideas, work through any of the committees as appropriate, or possibly become a member of the Research Committee to help us in this process,” Wehber said.

ARF-Funded Research Projects Near Completion


IIAR’s research committee is continuing to move forward on two research projects funded by the Ammonia Refrigeration Foundation. Both projects will be presented as papers at future IIAR conferences.

The first project, titled The Investigation of Entrance Effects on TwoPhase Flow in Vertical Suction Risers, covers the influence, appropriate use and benefits of a P-trap versus a 90-degree elbow inlet on a two-phase vertical suction riser. The second project, titled Optimum Pipe Sizing, revisits the economic sizing methodology the industry uses to determine optimum pipe sizing.

With the first project, focused on two-phase flow, researchers are hoping to more fully understand how different configurations affect fluid flow behavior and how liquid is collected before being swept up the pipe. “The study examines the effect of the entrance to two-phase suction risers on flow patterns and on pressure drop,” said Bruce Nelson, a member of the research committee, and the project’s monitoring subcommittee chairman.

Researchers are currently examining the differences in pressure drop produced by using a simple 90-degree elbow to a vertical two-phase suction riser versus the pressure drop produced by a P-trap installed at a vertical two-phase suction riser. No such comparison exits today, Nelson said.

“The arrangement and the design of piping in an ammonia refrigeration system are very important to the proper operation of evaporators,” Nelson said, adding that evaporator performance is very sensitive to pressure drop in two-phase suction risers.

The research project – which is being conducted by the Danish Technical Institute – is utilizing equipment and information from research into refrigerant flow that DTI is conducting for ASHRAE. “That study is examining the two-phase flow in the riser itself,” Nelson said. “What we’re doing is putting a P-trap at the exit to the evaporator, and that forms a liquid seal and also serves to aspirate liquid so that liquid droplets can be carried up the vertical suction riser, carried away by the piping and carried to the liquid recirculator package.”

The information will help designers configure vertical suction riser systems in a way that minimizes pressure drop, Nelson said. The research should be complete by March. “The study results will provide designers and engineers with guidance on the appropriate use and benefits of utilizing a P-trap versus a 90-degree elbow,” Nelson said.

Meanwhile, the Optimum Pipe Sizing research project will provide an up-todate, electronic means of determining pipe sizing for industrial refrigeration systems using a software program. The study will also revisit the economic sizing methodology the industry uses to determine optimum pipe sizing.

The goal is to produce a computerbased tool that takes into consideration construction costs, system energy costs and life expectancy, and will allow end users to determine optimum pipe sizing based on input data. That input data would include the initial cost of a piping system, energy cost, life expectancy and refrigeration system operating efficiency, said Wayne Wehber, chair of the IIAR research committee.

Under the project, researchers will also evaluate and document economic sizing bases for a number of industrial refrigeration piping subsystems, including vapor-only piping, suction piping, overfeed return piping and liquid-only piping. Researchers will use current piping system cost data, including current figures for materials and labor. The capital cost analysis will also consider specialty piping materials that are commonly used for low temperature piping systems. Stainless steel piping, currently popular among end-users and contractors, will also be studied.

Ultimately, the computer tool will help facilities make the decision on how much to spend on piping initially, and will help to determine the return on investment.

In addition to creating a computerbased tool, the research will be used to update and expand the recommended pipe sizing in the IIAR Piping Handbook. “Inside our piping handbook there is a table or guideline on the recommended pipe sizes to use based on a combination of costs— and that was put together last in the 1960s. One can imagine that there is a lot more to it now,” Wehber said.

IIAR is also in the process of reviewing and drafting additional work statements on potential research projects, and has set the goal for several of them to become ARF-funded projects in the upcoming year.

One such project, if approved, would monitor a dispersion event to help determine the location and level of ammonia to help researchers determine the best locations for ammonia level monitoring detectors.

ARF Trust Fund Tops $2.2 Million

The Ammonia Refrigeration Foundation reported that it has raised $2.2 million to fund research and education in the industrial refrigeration industry. The number represents nearly two-thirds of ARF’s $3.5 million funding goal, which it expects to reach in the next three years.

“The [$2.2 million] that we reached this year is the highest that the ARF endowment has ever been,” said Tim Facius, ARF Executive Director. “It’s particularly exciting now because there are many activities and developments currently taking place within ARF.”

ARF funding drives IIAR research activities and scholarship programs. Among several goals for 2015, ARF announced a new scholarship program administered by a subcommittee of the IIAR Education Committee. The new program will deliver larger scholarship awards geared towards creating higher levels of engagement from scholarship awardees within the industry.

“The scholarship program has been completely revamped and is now being administered by an education subcommittee,” said Facius. “The key is that we are providing larger awards, and we’re working harder to get much better engagement of our awardees in our industry.”

Among a few new goals of the scholarship program are an increased emphasis on getting awardees to attend the IIAR conference and setting up programs so that more mentorship is available.

“We are working to make sure our scholarship awardees are motivated to seek fulltime involvement in this industry when they graduate,” said Facius.

In addition to the scholarship program, IIAR’s ARF-funded research program is delivering two important research projects that are currently underway, and recently announced a new method of vetting future potential projects.

Meanwhile, ARF’s growth is expected to continue as the foundation nears its $3.5 million funding target in the next three years. Recently, ARF contracted with Graham-Pelton Fundraising Consultants for help in structuring ARF to meet that goal.

“We’re not complacent at our current $2.2 million endowment level,” said Facius. “Our goal is to reach $3.5 million because that is the level we need to sustain growth in our research and education areas.”

Facius added that ARF expects Graham-Pelton to help the foundation structure itself for growth and provide the infrastructure to better communicate ARF successes and better reach potential contributors.

“This is such an exciting time for ARF, and for our organization,” said Facius. “This effort significantly benefits our industry. So many great things are going on, and those efforts are laying a strong foundation for the years to come.”

ARF Names Scholarship Recipients

he Ammonia Refrigeration Foundation, which supports research and education programs benefiting the industrial refrigeration industry, has honored Munier Francis, a senior at California’s Polytechnic Institute at San Luis Obispo, with its annual scholarship award.

Francis is pursuing his degree in mechanical engineering. “My real passions within mechanical engineering are thermodynamics and heat transfer, so naturally I’m very intrigued with refrigeration,” Francis said. ”It means a lot that I won since I truly feel passionate about this field of mechanical engineering.”

The goal of the ARF scholarship program is to encourage young engineers to pursue careers in industrial refrigeration and help develop new interests for natural refrigerants. Bob Port, chairman of the IIAR scholarship committee, said college students often have little exposure to industrial, ammonia refrigeration in college. “There is not really a vehicle in colleges where students get exposed to the industry at all. This whole program is a way to allow young men and women to become more aware of the industry while they are in college,” Port said.

Francis received a $3,000 base scholarship for the year and will receive another $3,000 if he attends the IIAR convention, which he is looking forward to. “I’m very excited about the meeting because I will get a very close look into the organization and the industry. I also look forward to meeting others in the organization and learning about what opportunities exist for someone in my position,” he said. “Industrial refrigeration is such a critical part of our economy and civilization as a whole. I’m excited to see what’s in store and what potential roles I can fill.”

Going forward, ARF will present three scholarships annually to students who are entering their junior year, Port said. “In broad terms, they are a base scholarship of $2,000 a year for two years. If an individual goes to the IIAR annual meeting—we will include the invitation as the part of the scholarship in the junior year—then we will kick in another $2,500 a semester, or $5,000 for the year, into their senior year scholarship,” he explained, adding that ARF’s goal is for six students to be receiving the scholarship at one time.

ARF’s goal is to announce three scholarship recipients in March 2016, and is targeting Feb. 1, 2016, as the application deadline. “We want to get in a cycle where on the last day of the annual meeting, we would announce three additional scholarship students,” Port said.

To promote the scholarship, ARF sends the announcement to the general membership and to a list of contacts at a number of universities. “Start looking for an online application around the first of October on the ARF website,” Port said, adding that applicants need to have a B average in an engineering discipline applicable to the refrigeration industry to apply.

ARF will also be presenting a second scholarship opportunity this year to allow disadvantaged students to attend the IIAR annual meeting. The opportunity is meant to give them a greater understanding of the industry. Applications for the conference scholarships, which are funded with a grant from Praxair, will be available in October, and will be due mid-December.