Introduction to Ammonia Refrigeration Systems

Upcoming dates (5)

Oct. 2-4, 2024

Madison, WI

Course Overview

In this course, you will establish a foundational understanding of ammonia refrigeration systems, components, and best practices that you can use immediately.

Who Should Attend?

  • Refrigeration system operators 
  • Plant engineers 
  • Maintenance supervisors 
  • Facilities engineers 
  • Contractors 
  • Application engineers 
  • Refrigeration service technicians 

Additional Information

This course is part of the Process Safety Management Professional Certificate. Increase your knowledge and effectiveness at managing PSM/RMP programs for your ammonia refrigerated facility, while earning a recognized credential. Course can be taken individually as well.

Attendees participating in this course will be able to earn a digital badge as evidence of the knowledge they obtained during the course. Digital badges are micro-credentials that can be earned by successfully passing a final quiz administered online after completing the course. Click here for information on digital badges.

Course Outline

Refrigeration Systems Overview

  • Refrigeration technology alternatives
  • Refrigerants and refrigerant selection criteria
  • Introduction to system types: direct expansion, flooded, and overfeed

Overview of Refrigerant Properties

  • Fundamental properties: pressure, volume, and temperature
  • Derived properties: enthalpy, internal energy, and transport
  • Refrigerant phases and behavior during phase change
  • Latent and sensible energy changes
  • Diagrams: pressure vs. enthalpy
  • Flash gas concepts

Refrigerant Property Workshop

Safety in Ammonia Refrigeration

  • Safety and health issues associated with refrigerants
  • Flammability considerations
  • Prevention of incidents and accidents

Overview of Process Safety Management and Risk Management Programs

  • Applicability
  • Key elements of OSHA''s Process Safety Management program
  • EPA''s Risk Management Plan rule

Machinery Room Safety Practices

  • Equipment
  • Key safety systems: ammonia detection, ventilation, emergency controls, and eye wash and shower stations
  • Related standards

Refrigeration System Components: Compressors

  • Technology alternatives
  • Configuration: open drive vs. semi-hermetic or hermetic
  • Theory of operation screw (single/twin) and reciprocating
  • Capacity control/unloading
  • Volume ratio concepts

Refrigeration Systems Workshop

  • How to identify cycle state points
  • How to complete cycle layouts

Refrigeration System Components: Condensers

  • Types of heat rejection equipment
  • Principles of operation
  • Operational considerations

Refrigeration System Components: Valves

  • Stop valves
  • Check valves
  • Regulators
  • Expansion valves: thermostatic, electronics, hand, and floats
  • Safety relief

Refrigeration Cycle Review

Refrigeration System Components: Evaporators

  • Feed configurations: DX, flooded, and liquid overfeed
  • Air units: ceiling-hung, penthouse/high temperature, and low temperature
  • Chillers: plate-and-frame, and shell-and-tube

Refrigeration System Components: Vessels and Pumps

  • High-side vessels: high-pressure receiver, thermosiphon pilot, and controlled-pressure receiver
  • Low-side vessels: suction traps and transfer stations, recirculators, and surge drums
  • Transfer systems
  • Liquid refrigerant pumps

Open Discussion


"Excellent content and presentation."

"Now I feel I can safely and comfortably control our plant."

"This course provided and easy, logical explanation of refrigeration basics."

"This was a great class. Both teachers did a tremendous job in sharing their expertise."

"This will help me immediately in my job."

"Exceeded expectations. Direct application to my current responsibilities and gave me plenty to look at and hopefully improve when I return. I'm looking forward to future courses."

"Absolutely worth the time."


Todd Jekel

Todd Jekel, PhD, PE is the assistant director of the Industrial Refrigeration Consortium at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Jekel has been actively conducting research on refrigeration systems including vessel design practices, oil separators, and analysis of dehumidification alternatives for cold storage warehouses. He holds degrees from Calvin College and the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Marc Claas

Marc Claas is an Associate Researcher with the Industrial Refrigeration Consortium and has been involved in industrial refrigeration since 2009. His interests include refrigeration system maintenance requirements, criteria for safe system operation, troubleshooting systems for safe and efficient operation, regulatory compliance in refrigeration systems, and emerging cooling technologies. His teaching experience includes online operator training programs, and his field experience includes PSM related activities such as PSM audits and PHAs. He also has experience investigating energy efficiency and other operational opportunities. Claas holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from UW-Platteville and Master’s of Mechanical Engineering in Thermal Science from UW-Madison. He is an active member of the International Institute of Ammonia Refrigeration.

Douglas Reindl

Douglas Reindl, PhD, PE is a professor at the Department of Mechanical Engineering and a Program Director at the Office of Interdisciplinary Professional Programs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has extensive experience in mechanical systems – including industrial ammonia refrigeration systems. As the founding director of the Industrial Refrigeration Consortium, he works extensively to improve the safety, efficiency, reliability, and productivity of ammonia refrigeration infrastructure. Dr. Reindl received his BS in mechanical engineering technology from the Milwaukee School of Engineering, MS in mechanical engineering from UW–Madison, and PhD in mechanical engineering from UW–Madison. He is a registered professional engineer in the State of Wisconsin.

Upcoming dates (5)

Program Director

Douglas Reindl

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