Retrofit refrigeration and heating projects - Star Refrigeration Services

Retrofit refrigeration & heating projects

Star work with a variety of industry sectors to accommodate our customers’ increasing capacity demands, deliver system upgrades for energy efficiency, and reduce electricity and carbon costs.

With no need to overhaul your entire plant, we can offer retrofit solutions that utilise all existing connections and installations and ensure minimal disruption to business during the installation process.


Rob Lamb

Group Sales and Marketing Director

Related Case Studies

  • Primula Cheese

    Star Refrigeration have overseen the replacement of two refrigeration plants serving Primula’s principal cheese store facility in Team Valley in Gateshead, near Newcastle. As well as transitioning the facility from refrigerant R422D to R513A, Star also modernised its systems to achieve greater efficiency and reliability.

    Having worked closely with Primula for over 15 years and already completed an upgrade of the same plant in 2008, Star were well-placed to undertake this project. Star successfully transitioned the plant from R422D – which will soon become untenable under new F-Gas Regulation – to the more future –proofed R513A.

    About Primula

    Primula is a well-known manufacturer of cheese spread that is popular in over 40 countries in Europe and beyond. The maker of ‘a cheese with a difference’ are owned by the Kavli Trust, a charitable organisation which each year donates thousands of pounds to supporting research, humanitarian and cultural projects which improve people’s lives. This means every time you buy Primula Cheese you are helping to support worthy causes, right here in the UK and across the world.

    In the UK, Primula is based at the Team Valley Trading Estate in Gateshead, where its cheese store refrigeration facility, which operates at +4°C is used to store all incoming product prior to processing. The facility is served by two independent refrigeration plants for reasons of resilience, both of which were originally designed for operation with R22 refrigerant. In 2008, Star converted the plants to enable operation with R422D refrigerant which extended the life of the plants by over 10 years. However, with upcoming legislation and the plant’s age in mind, Star’s advice was to replace the plants with new equipment utilising a refrigerant with a far lower Global Warming Potential (GWP).

    The challenge

    From January 1st 2020, the EU will introduce a service ban on all refrigerants with a GWP of over 2,500. Since R422D has a GWP of 2,729, it would have become problematic for Primula to continue running their cheese store. This, in conjunction with the age of the plant, prompted Primula to opt for a complete replacement of the two plants to achieve regulatory compliance, optimise efficiency and ensure its viability going forwards.

    Primula specified that the facility should retain its two-plant design to maintain resilience, while they also stipulated that each plant should comprise of a single air-cooled condensing unit and four evaporators, with these latter units positioned in the same location as the existing ones to minimise disruption to the current infrastructure of the building. The two air-cooled condensing units were to be located externally and positioned end-to-end, so as not to block pedestrian access on that side of the building. Finally, all work had to be carried out within normal business hours, but had to focus only on one plant at a time to ensure that continuity of operation was maintained with no downtime at all.

    The right solution

    In this instance Star determined that R513A was the most suitable solution for the customer. R513A has a comparatively low GWP of just 631, which is well below the 2,500 threshold and should ensure the plant remains viable in its current state for the foreseeable future.

    The solution involved the supply and installation of two independent plants each comprising a single bespoke manufactured air-cooled condensing unit and four draw-through evaporators. The condensing units incorporate a single semi-hermetic reciprocating compressor mounted within a weatherproof housing and an air-cooled condenser with extended legs designed for vertical air throw.

    Given that the work had to be carried out during operational hours, Star scheduled the project to take place in the first quarter of 2019 to take advantage of low ambient temperatures and reduce the workload place on the one operational plant while the other was being upgraded.

    The benefits

    Each plant provides 45.9kW of refrigeration capacity and absorbs 15.1kW. Given that the maximum workload of the cheese store is 61kW, each individual unit is capable of meeting almost three-quarters (75%) of the maximum required duty. The additional cooling capacity gives Primula increased efficiency and low operating cost.

    Star made every effort to provide a solution that increased Primula’s competitive advantage with the use of components that qualified for Enhance Capital Allowance and could afford the customer tax breaks for its use of energy-efficient technology.

    In addition, the plant was designed with efficiency in mind and comprised energy saving technology such as electronic expansion valves, condenser EC fans and evaporator controllers equipped with skip-defrost functionality to avoid defrosting operation when unnecessary. It’s estimated that this functionality could help the company achieve savings of up to £6,000 per annum.

    Finally, the proximity of Star’s Newcastle branch at less than 10 miles away from Primula allowed the project to run smoothly, on time and on budget. The branch’s seven qualified industrial refrigeration service engineers and two apprentices will ensure the plant is properly maintained for years to come while on hand to respond to any queries or concerns.

    The successful supply and installation of the new plant has provided Primula with a reliable, energy-efficient solution which will save them money in the short-term and comply with international legislation in the medium to long term.

    Matt Cumming, Facilities Manager at Primula said, “Star’s commitment to ensuring our business is fully compliant with F-gas regulations and their willingness to share their expertise with us helped us installed a commercially viable refrigeration solution which will have considerable benefits both in terms of environmental impact and efficiency. The brand new installation means we are well-placed to continue to serve the needs of our customers across the UK for years to come”.



  • Murrayfield Curling Ltd

    Star Refrigeration were appointed as principal contractor for the replacement of Murrayfield Curling Ltd’s ice rink floor in central Edinburgh The new solution has significantly improved the levelness and efficiency of the ice floor while safeguarding it from future renovations.

    Murrayfield Curling Ltd is a seven-sheet curling rink in the heart of the Scottish capital, which is home to more than 80 individual clubs and over 1600 members. The club host prestigious tournaments and events throughout the year. It has been operational for almost seven decades and open to the public in its current format for almost 40 years, with curlers using it to play matches and practice their skills all through the calendar year.

    As a result, Murrayfield Curling Ltd has received a lot of traffic over the decades and Star Refrigeration were called in for some well deserve renovation. Specifically, the floor had become uneven and the ice layers had thickened over the years which meant the plant was inefficient due to increased energy consumption.

    In the role of principal contractor, Star were in control of the execution of the rink floor replacement works on site, from the removal and controlled disposal of all of the existing elements to the design, supply and installation of their replacements. In addition to the ice rink floor itself, Star also oversaw the installation of a header system designed to supply the cold and warm glycol mats, as well as a heat recovery pump skid to feed the latter and all of the associated pipework to connect the various components to one another.

    Throughout the works, the main challenge was that the rink floor surface had become uneven and inefficient due to overuse, resulting in issues surrounding the irregular formation and thickness of the ice. The greater the thickness of the ice, the greater the impact in the ability of the plant to freeze the ice surface will be, thus occasioning higher running costs and difficulties with the playability of the surface.

    Star Refrigeration provided consistent technical support and guidance to all involved parties and was able to bring the rink floor to the desired temperature and allow the facility to become operational.

    The first phase of the project consisted of the removal and disposal of the existing ice rink floor. This included the current brine charge from the cooling floor, the rink headers and the site pipework, as well as isolation of the cooling mat pipework and the stripping away of the ice rink floor itself down to the sub-base. With the sub-base exposed, Star ensured that its condition was “made good” to comply with the new installation and consequently laid the standard composite floor. This consisted of a 1,200 gauge Visqueen vapour sealing membrane atop the base slab, with all joints (including those along the perimeter edge) adequately lapped and sealed. On top of that, the team laid two layers of overlapping insulation.

    As well as putting the floor in place, Star also designed, manufactured, and installed a glycol pump skid for the warm mat circuit.  By pumping glycol through a heat exchanger which obtained it’s heat source from a warm water circuit and distribute it through the underfloor heater mat matrix across the ice rink.

    Additionally, Star were also responsible for all mechanical and electrical services, including the supply and installation of all interconnecting pipework to and from the existing hire chiller.

    Star Refrigeration’s project manager in charge of the works from start to handover, Stuart Rankin, lead an on-site team of up to 15 people in order to coordinate all subcontractors over the five-month period the project lasted. Mr Rankin said, “The new ice floor installed is first and foremost more level than the old one, creating more consistent conditions and improving its playability. This allows for a better curling experience, ensuring loyalty from existing customers and increasing the likelihood of attracting new ones.”

    “The solid foundations put in place also safeguard the floors longevity, reducing the need for future maintenance or renovations, both of which are further guaranteed by the incorporation of a warm heater mat which will prevent any frost heave from damaging the floor in the future.”

    The finished product significantly improves upon the previous floor both in terms of quality and consistency. The new floor has also reduced the site’s refrigeration plant energy consumption by up to 9% due to the consistent layer of ice - being significantly thinner than the previous floor allowed- that needs to be formed to deliver a level playing surface.

    Star’s Bellshill service and maintenance branch are currently in discussions with the site to agree a maintenance plan to ensure the system continues to run reliably and efficiently for years to come.

    Paul Stevenson, Director of Murrayfield Curling Ltd “We chose Star Refrigeration to carry out this project based upon their excellent reputation in the refrigeration and ice leisure community and we have been very pleased with their work.”

    “The old floor has been efficiently removed and disposed of and the new one put in place on time and within budget, meeting all our expectations and specifications. We’re looking forward to many years of playing on this top quality new surface, allowing us to attract a wider number of curling enthusiasts and raising the standard of the game here in Edinburgh.”



  • Snozone Milton Keynes

    Snozone provide the UK’s leading snow centres for indoor skiing and snowboarding on real snow. Snozone’s two indoor snow centres, located in Milton Keynes and Castleford, offer skiers and snowboarders an authentic slope experience. The facilities suit first time skiers or experienced snowboarders, and have taught nearly 2 million guests since opening in 2000.

    The facility in Milton Keynes has a run 170m long is maintained at -4C air temperature and contains 1500 tonnes of Snow and Ice.  The cooling system provides low temperature glycol for circulation in pipework under the slope, to air coolers in the room and snow guns to maintain the Alpine environment for the customers enjoying their winter sports.

    The facility is also an anchor tenant in the purpose built Xscape leisure and retail complex and is a key attraction in Milton Keynes which celebrated its 50 year inauguration in 2017.

    Snozone contacted M&E Building Services Consulting Engineer, Hulley & Kirkwood, to help them with problems they were experiencing with the refrigeration system.  In recent years the plant was becoming more unreliable and was having difficulty coping with Summer ambient temperatures.  This resulted in problems with maintaining temperatures in the snow chamber and meant that temporary chiller plant was required on a seasonal basis to augment cooling from the R404A chillers installed in 1999. 

    The striking architectural line of the Xscape roof structure mean that all building services were located inside the building with air intakes/ outlets taken through the perimeter walls.  The plant comprised 2 x 100% primary circuits with screw compressors and shell and tube evaporators inside the machinery room.  Heat rejection equipment comprised air cooled condensers located in a dedicated chamber and air blast oil coolers also in the plant room.   The secondary refrigerant system pumps glycol through the chillers to 16 coolers mounted in the roof of the ski slope and to the underfloor pipe grid.

    The screw chillers were rated for 360kW at -16C glycol off temperatures.    As the original manufacturer, Tri-Therm are no longer in business the plant was being maintained by a local contractor.

    For this reason, it was difficult to obtain information about the plant so site surveys and some original drawings provided some background data.

    The customer decided to invest in a future-proof, brand new refrigeration plant and since they had good experience using ammonia at their other location in Castleford, they sought to use this refrigerant at Milton Keynes.

    The existing plant room was unsuitable to retrofit a new ammonia plant so the decision was taken to locate the new system outside.  A site survey revealed that it was impractical and costly to install the chillers in the car park so a location was chosen on the public thoroughfare outside the existing plant room.  This location offered short tie in connections for power and glycol but also allowed improved airflow for the new chillers and  the ability to create a secure compound.

    It was recognised early in the project that it would be necessary to engage a specialist consultant to conduct an Ammonia Hazard Assessment to identify all safety measures required for installation of the new outdoor refrigeration system. Star Technical Solutions (STS) attended site and specified a number of project enhancements for the safety of building employees and the general public.

    • Secure compound which did not obstruct fire exit stairway
    • Relief valves piped to a dispersion tank sized to absorb any ammonia releases
    • Ammonia gas detection sensors on both chillers tie back to a building alarm system
    • Alarms to isolate air intakes in the vicinity of the chillers
    • Delivery of ammonia awareness training to Snozone staff


    H&K arranged for planning approval for the new external plant.  Noise surveys were taken before and after the installation to prove it was no worse than the existing installation to the surroundings, particularly considering a new hotel was being built across from the facility.

    Liaison with the Landlord and affected tenants was also a key consideration to minimise the impact of the refrigeration upgrade during and after installation.

    Continuity of business was extremely important to Snozone.  Not only did they want to avoid any loss of skiing amenities for their customers, they could not afford to have any sustained cooling outage as it would result in loss of their ski slope and possible adverse release of water into the centre’s shopping and restaurant outlets.

    The location of 2 off 9.7m long chillers on the paved area outside the plant room required careful survey to ensure that they did not obstruct any underground services or impact on traffic movement or parking adjacent on the site access road.  A louvered perimeter wall was specified to screen the chillers from public access that also allowed adequate air flow onto the air cooled condenser coils.

    Break ins to the glycol system were made in advance of the chillers being installed to provide secure isolated connection points for the new interconnecting piping between cooling plant and chillers.  The piping was carefully routed to ensure one of the existing chillers was useable for as long as possible before being decommissioned. 

    A Programme was prepared to manage overall works and the changeover from new Star chiller from hire chiller was achieved without any cooling outage.

    The original hydraulic circuit was arranged to circulate 50% of the flow through one running chiller which cooled from -10 to -16C and then mixed with 50% bypassed flow to achieve an aggregate glycol temperature of -13C pumped to the ski-slope.  The upgraded system was designed to circulate full flow through 1 chiller giving a glycol off temperature of -13C for improved efficiency.

    The new installation included 2 off Star AA415MTE-1 Azanechillers 2.0 rated for 360kW capacity chilling ethylene glycol to from -10 to -13C.  The chillers were equipped with Sabroe reciprocating compressors with flange mounted VSD electric motors allowing capacity control down to 17% load.  Vahterus plate and shell evaporators allowed a close refrigerant approach while minimising ammonia charge to only 85kg per chiller.  Acoustic enclosures around the compressor/motor assembly combined with EC condenser fans to present the lowest noise signature for the retrofit installation.

    The new chillers have been operational since September 2017 and the effect has been transformational for site.

    The new equipment has been easily able to maintain -13C glycol temperatures in the ski slope even on warmer days, whereas the previous equipment was struggling to achieve -8C at peak times.

    Reliability of the installation is enhanced with a full 100% standby chiller available and no need to bring in hire chillers due to down time with original R404A chillers.

    Energy savings have been dramatic.  The table below shows monthly energy bills before and after the plant was changed over including refrigeration, pumps, lighting, electric defrosting and chairlifts. In the first 4-month period of operation, the electricity usage was 661,255kWh compared to 1,511,062kWh for the same period in 2016.  This 56% saving improved the profitability of the business and helped to justify the investment in new plant.

    The environmental impact of operations has been much improved with almost 700 tonnes of CO2 saved in indirect emissions from electricity in the initial 4 months running and saving of approximately 30kg of R404A per month for top up refrigerant on the old plant.

    Given the uncertain future of HFC refrigerants, the chosen ammonia chiller solution offered a high integrity industrial plant with 20 year life and was future proof with no risk of phase out in future.  This also allowed Snozone to fund their investment over a longer term in line with their financial targets.

    Better operation control of cooling has allowed Snozone to manage the snow environment in the chamber and to optimise snowmaking and defrosting activities for an improved customer experience.  On their company website Snowzone advertised “ they now have a £1m investment in new chillers and have the best snow ever!”


  • Proper Cornish

    Proper Cornish is the UK’s leading handmade pasty manufacturer and supplier of food products including sausage rolls, pies, and the Cornish pasties where they get their name. The company was looking to replace an aging refrigeration system using R22 at their factory in Bodmin, Cornwall.

    The handmade Cornish pasty makers were looking for a solution that would increase the amount of produce passing through their refrigeration processing site and secure the business operations for the long term with a brand new installation and the use of efficient, natural refrigerants.

    The new system requirements included F-Gas compliance, high efficiency and minimal life cycle costs. Also, the existing food processing capacity of the freezing system was limited and it was critical that the new replacement unit could meet the requirement for increased produce demand.

    John Lane, Project Manager at Proper Cornish, said, “We recognised the need to upgrade our current refrigeration solution to comply with all relevant legislation on refrigerant phase outs and HFCs restrictions. It was crucial to us that the new system was able to accommodate the business’ expansion plans and increase in demand for the next two decades. Star Refrigeration supplied an excellent solution that we feel meets all the criteria to secure an ultra-efficient operation with reduced energy and maintenance costs in the long-term.”

    In a competitive tender with other refrigeration contractors, Star’s Glacier solution was proven to be 25% more efficient than the next best inline freezer alternative and provided a lower running cost per tonne of product. 

    Instead of using R22, Star installed a complete refrigeration package, providing -400C ammonia to a Starfrost spiral freezer with a cooling capacity of 278 KW to accommodate the increased throughput. With dual-purpose freeze/chill, the “all in one” package unit, containing an LPR unit, a condenser and a spiral freezer, was configured to be installed with minimal disruption to existing site operation.

    There was no requirement for plant room as the compact footprint LPR cooling system was externally housed, adjacent to the spiral freezer with all pipe and electrical connections between the two pieces of equipment commissioned together to reduce installation time and costs. 

    For the food wholesaler, this unique approach represented a range of benefits. James Ward, Director of Sales – Food Market at Star Refrigeration, said, “Combining a spiral freezer and a low charge ammonia refrigeration plant into one complete package offered Proper Cornish access to the most efficient and competitively priced solution available in the market today.”

    “The use of high quality industrial components will secure the business operation for another 25 years and also ensure that maintenance costs are kept to a minimum over the life of the system.” 

    “The Glacier features Star’s patented Reverse Cycle Defrost (RCD) system – currently the only solution to offer this – defrosts in only 30 minutes, which allows maximum production time (20+ hours), and reduces the customer’s energy bill.” 

    “The system is safer to run than a traditional ammonia system since the low-pressure receiver allows a very low refrigerant charge, equivalent to only ¼ of the charge of a pump circulation system. It also provides an ultra efficient operation. The choice of the highly efficient, natural refrigerant ammonia will free Proper Cornish from future environmental legislation burdens.”

    As with Star, Proper Cornish prides itself in creating long-lasting partnerships with its customers, for whom they have developed hundreds of products over the years. While it is the first time Star Refrigeration has had the opportunity to work with the food manufacturer, the success of the installation is expected to strengthen the new relationship, which will begin with a 12 month maintenance contract from Star’s local South West team.

    In addition, to guarantee Proper Cornish receives an airtight solution, Star’s consultancy arm Star Technical Solutions carried out comprehensive DSEAR and WSE assessments to ensure the company meets legal and insurance requirements.

  • Lunar Freezing

    Lunar Freezing and Star Refrigeration have worked together for over 25 years to develop effective and efficient Blast Freezing and Cold Storage solutions.

    Based in the fishing ports of Peterhead, Fraserburgh and Aberdeen, Lunar Freezing and Lunar Fishing are in a commanding position to supply herring, mackerel and whitefish products from catching to freezing to cold storage to final delivery worldwide.

    The Lunar facilities at Peterhead and Fraserburgh mainly process the pelagic fish species Herring, Mackerel and Blue Whiting. Pelagic fish live in the pelagic zone of the ocean being neither close to the bottom nor near the shore. The fishing is seasonal due to the fish migratory movements and the fishery management catching season and quotas. 

    A world leader in cooling and heating system innovation, Star worked with the Lunar team to design high performance blast freezing solutions for both facilities.

    Star engineered and modified the existing pumped circulation ammonia systems for Lunar installing 3 new and 2 remodelled Blast Freezers at Peterhead and 4 new Blast Freezers at Fraserburgh for freezing fish packed in cardboard boxes.

    Operational since Autumn 2015, the new freezers have expanded the capacity enabling Lunar to freeze over 1,000 tonnes of fish per day. Each blast chamber freezes around 64 tonnes of fish in 20 hours, the evaporators and refrigeration plants to achieve this are by necessity very large and must be carefully designed and installed.

    The Star blasts outperform existing blast freezers installed by others in Fraserburgh and the Star blasts have only 35% of the installed fan power of the competitor.

    Lunar Director Sinclair Banks said “These were challenging projects both carried out in the same short timeframe and both involved working on existing equipment.

    Star, Lunar and all the other contractors involved worked alongside each other to complete the work in time for the mackerel freezing season. The new freezers have shortened the freezing time allowing us to process the catch quicker and expand our business by supplying new customers”

    Star’s system ensures optimum plant performance, with PLC control and HMI touch screen interface with a range of built-in systems including pressure, temperature and gas detection monitoring.

    When it comes to designing and installing energy efficient cooling and heating systems, Star is a natural innovator.  

  • Lucite International

    A global leader in the design, development and manufacture of acrylic-based products, Lucite International demands the highest industry standard equipment. Due to the 2015 phase out of R22 systems, the company needed to replace its old R22 plant at Cassel Works, their largest European site, with a more eco-friendly option.

    Working closely with Lucite, Star’s engineers developed a cost effective, bespoke industrial refrigeration system to replace the aging system. As well as complying with new R22 phase out regulations, Lucite requested increased plant reliability, equipment longevity and a plan that allowed the new cooling system to be designed, constructed and commissioned while the existing plant was still operational to avoid any loss of productivity.

    Graham Wallace, Lucite’s Project Manager, said, “Lucite wanted to replace the R22 chiller and increase capacity. Star delivered an energy efficient system that ensures plant reliability and future proofs the business to meet our environmental and legislation needs over the next 25 years.”

    “Other challenges including space restrictions on site were met by laying out the packages and carring out all inter-piping at their factory in order to replicate the site footprint. This gave us the confidence that the site installation would prove successful.”

    “Finally, all match-marked parts were shipped separately and final connections were made once the packages were positioned on site.”

    Alan Walkinshaw, Star’s Sales Manager – Process Industries, said, “Installing the new system without jeopardising the functionality of the old one did have its difficulties. However, the team is always up for a challenge and as usual, innovation and perseverance finally paid off and we came up with an effective solution.

    The major upgrade consisted of the installation of a 3.9MW – 10oC Glycol chilling system, running on environmentally friendly future-proof refrigerant ammonia (NH3). The entire system comprised of 3 off packages and 2 off screw compressor packages, each Leeds teams  with 600KV 3.3 drive motors. Star also installed an innovative outdoor heat exchanger package equipped with water-cooled ST condenser, economiser and PSHE evaporator/separator.

    Post project completion, the company stands to profit from three major benefits:

    • The new system has significantly increased plant capacity, which will allow for greater productivity of present and future process needs. 

    • Ammonia is a climate-friendly refrigerant with zero GWP and zero Ozone Depleting Potential, hence extending the longevity of the plant and boosting Lucite’s eco-credentials.

    •The installation of multiple compressors will allow Lucite to process varying loads. This will enhance plant reliability as well as increase operational efficiency.

    The new system has significantly increased plant capacity, which will allow for greater productivity of present and future process needs. 

    Lucite International now enjoys complete control over the refrigeration plant using Star’s next generation control system “TELSTAR”, as well as a condition system for vibration monitoring.

    When it comes to designing energy efficient cooling and heating systems, Star is a natural innovator.  Star works with strategic partners across the globe to deliver low carbon, cost saving solutions.


  • Investment Bank, London

    Star Refrigeration has supplied a bespoke plant for HVAC cooling at the London offices of a global investment bank. 

    The existing refrigeration plant at the firm’s client administration centre in the City’s Square Mile was due for replacement. The plant operated on R22, an ozone-depleting HCFC refrigerant currently being phased out by EU regulations.

    Working alongside a leading building services consultancy, Star designed a new low maintenance cooling plant to improve efficiency, reduce noise and ensure the highest reliability for the building’s heating, air conditioning and ventilation system.

    The challenging aspect to the project was retaining five air handling units (AHUs) which form part of the fabric of the building. The cooling coils in these AHUs were supplied directly with R22 refrigerant.

    A detailed study was carried out into the possible use of chilled water cooling coils to remove the use of direct refrigerant. The investigation concluded that the AHUs would have to be replaced to accommodate chilled water, so a similar solution using a non ozone-depleting refrigerant was necessary.

    A world leader in cooling and heating system innovation, Star determined that a specialist flooded evaporator design was required that enabled the existing AHUs to be retained and ensured no loss of cooling capacity. Star developed a flooded evaporator coil design that could be retrofitted to the existing AHUs. This was achieved using Star’s patented Low Pressure Receiver (LPR) system design.

    Star designed, built, installed and commissioned a bespoke air cooled LPR refrigeration plant comprising four 600kW chillers operating on synthetic refrigerant R134a. The system features revolutionary Turbocor oil-free compressors to provide high efficiency, reliability and low noise operation. 

    Star’s specialist contracting team installed new R134a AHU evaporator coils in a phased installation programme to ensure adequate cooling was maintained within the building. The new cooling plant is located on the roof of the building and was designed to fit within the footprint of the previous refrigeration system.

    The project was completed within six months from order to commissioning. It was vital that there was no adverse affect on the investment bank’s business activity or interruption to HVAC supply during this period, and this was achieved. 

    When it comes to designing energy efficient cooling and heating systems, Star is a natural innovator. Star works with strategic partners across the globe to deliver low carbon, cost saving solutions.

  • John Lewis

    Star Refrigeration has installed a high efficiency cooling system at the flagship John Lewis department store in central London.

    The state-of-the-art Indigochiller system forms part of an ongoing refurbishment by the leading UK retailer at its Oxford Street store. Project Beacon aims to futureproof the 50-year-old building and provide a platform for further development by the John Lewis Partnership. 

    Cooling solutions specialist Star has completed the installation of three Indigochillers on the sixth floor roof, each with a 1,000kW capacity. The air-cooled units circulate chilled water for air conditioning, providing comfort cooling throughout the building.

    The John Lewis Partnership was looking to improve the instore environment for shoppers and staff by installing a larger capacity high efficiency cooling system. It was vital that the comfort cooling system allowed year round temperature control, particularly during summer months. As well as an environmentally conscious design, low starting current, quiet operation and minimal maintenance were key requirements.

    John Lewis Partnership Development Engineer Stuart Watson says: "Star’s new roof-mounted Indigochillers are more efficient and will allow us to increase cooling capacity with no increase in electrical demand. They form part of a heating and cooling efficiency drive that will allow John Lewis to meet energy reduction targets and reduce its carbon footprint."

    Star’s Indigochiller was developed in direct response to proposed F-Gas regulations, which aim to limit fluorinated gas emissions. The unit’s unique design aims to eliminate refrigerant leakage and have minimal effect on the global environment. Star’s research shows the Indigochiller uses only 60% of the energy required by a standard chiller operating on typical load and ambient profiles. This offers end users a significant saving in energy and running costs.

    As well as Star’s new cooling system, additional work on infrastructure at the John Lewis Oxford Street store includes the installation of more efficient boilers, cabling and an electricity substation. Project Beacon also includes new retail departments, restaurant facilities and escalator banks to improve access and open up the building.

    Work on the overall 18-month refurbishment project is due to be completed in Autumn 2007, with trading continuing throughout. It is currently the largest retail project within an operating store in Europe.

    Star’s Indigochiller is a complete refrigeration package housed in one unit. Typical applications include new and retrofit air conditioning systems in the building services and process cooling industries. Ideal for medium to largescale applications, unit capacities range from 250kW up to 1,500kW. 

    Each Indigochiller features the revolutionary oil-free Turbocor centrifugal compressor, designed to offer reliable operation and low maintenance. The compressor operates on electromagnetic bearings and uses the synthetic refrigerant R134a. This ensures minimal vibration and noise, even when running at very high speed. The air-cooled unit is available in two noise ranges: Standard and Residential.

    All Indigochiller components are selected to minimise the risk of refrigerant leakage. Each unit features a welded plate and shell heat exchanger, sealed expansion valve and welded steel pipework. Leak detection requirements have been reduced to a few simple checks.

    The Indigochiller features a robust PLC control system to monitor running conditions and optimise efficiency. Additional options include remote access and email alerts via a built-in modem, as well as a direct link to Star’s 24/7 call out facility.

  • Brakes reduces ammonia refrigeration charge by 96% with Star’s Azanefreezer

    A leading distribution company has recently upgraded its existing freezer plant system to the modular air-cooled, low charge ammonia Azanefreezer. Located in Bishop's Stortford, Brakes supplies the UK food service industry with a comprehensive range of fresh, grocery, frozen and non-food products.

    The existing 40 year old ammonia refrigeration system had come to the end of its operational life and replacement equipment was required. The traditional approach would have been to replace with a pumped circulation ammonia system but the customer wanted to improve operating efficiency and reduce refrigerant charge. Star was invited to propose an upgrade solution focusing on these two key criteria.

    The solution was to install Star’s AF250 Azanefreezer. This air cooled, packaged unit incorporates twin screw compressors, air cooled condenser, electrical panel and reverse cycle defrost system inside a compact housing. This avoids the need for a new plant room and minimises installation time, with the package being installed on the roof of the existing refrigeration plant room.

    The high performance industrial freezer boasts a range of eco-friendly benefits, including the low ammonia charge requested by Brakes. Azanefreezer reduces Brakes existing ammonia system refrigerant charge from an estimated 5,000kg to just 188kg. 

    Alex Henderson, Key Account Manager - Food Market, says: “This reduction in charge, coupled with zero global warming potential, provided Brakes with the environmentally responsible solution they were looking for.”

    He adds: “As a natural refrigerant system, Brakes have invested in a long term solution that will be exempt from any future environmental legislation laws. With a 25 year life cycle when run at maximum operational performance, the system is a cost effective choice that will ensure Brakes produce stays fresh.”

    Modular, air cooled and incorporating a range of energy efficient features, the new system will help to reduce running costs as well as combat greenhouse gas emissions.

    Azanefreezer combines efficiency, reliability and unrivalled build quality, which will ensure Brakes continues to deliver its clients an unmatched level of service. The innovative modular design makes it efficient to relocate if necessary, thereby making it a cost effective option in a dynamic business. Also integrated into the system is an exclusive reverse cycle defrost function - currently the only system to offer this – which defrosts more efficiently as opposed to the alternative of installing electric heaters in the cooler.

    The upgraded system complies with European health and safety regulations and offers Brakes operators and management the peace of mind that they are working with premium quality equipment.

    Over the years, Star has built a strong working relationship with Brakes and is the food service supplier’s go-to solution for refrigeration upgrades, new built facilities and maintenance contracts across its UK plants.

    Ian Hunt, Brakes' Group Engineering Manager, said, “Star has a long history of installing and maintaining plants for Brakes. The Bishop’s Stortford Azanefreezer represents another successful collaboration and follows on from the recently completed distribution centre at Newhouse, Glasgow, which in turn followed on from Warrington last year and Reading before that.” 

  • Pinneys Annan

    Pinneys of Scotland, part of the Youngs Seafood Group, is a leading processor of Scottish smoked salmon and are based at Annan, Dumfriesshire. Cooling is a key requirement for their production processes and the majority of the factory was installed using systems operating with R22 refrigerant. Under the Montreal Protocol and subsequent European and UK legislation, the phasing out of R22 comes to a conclusion at the end of 2014 and so Pinneys needed to develop a strategy to meet this deadline.

    Pinneys asked their existing maintenance provider, Star Refrigeration for support with their phase out strategy. This involved looking at a variety of high, medium and low temperature cooling requirements on site currently running on R22 and assessing an appropriate alternative solution. Key requirements were to keep the facility operational during the changeover from R22, provide  a solution that offered long term cooling security for the site and to deliver a solution that balanced efficiency and capital cost.

    A number of options were considered including retrofitting systems with alterative gases, installing new HFC refrigeration systems and switching to natural refrigerants. 

    A critical part of the R22 strategy was conversion of the factory’s cold store where frozen product is stored at -25°C before further processing.  This chamber was cooled by two existing R22 refrigeration plants housed in different plant rooms. Both plants were assessed for possible gas conversion but due to their age, condition and the need to retain the cold store operation during any conversion works, this was ruled out. A decision was therefore made to look at new equipment.  

    One of the R22 plant rooms had been earmarked as the location for a new ammonia/glycol refrigeration plant which would serve other areas of the factory and the other was ruled out due to access issues. This meant that any new equipment would need to be located elsewhere. Pinneys were keen to avoid the added cost of building a new plant room and so packaged equipment with its own enclosure was preferred.

    Options for refrigeration plant using synthetic refrigerants such as R404A and R407F were considered but Pinneys were concerned about the long term availability of these refrigerants following news of the phase down programme detailed in the European f-gas regulation earlier in 2014. A decision was made to look at natural refrigerant alternatives.

    Star proposed their Azanefreezer system, an air-cooled, ammonia refrigeration system for cold storage applications.  Its packaged design avoids the need for a plant room and it can be located at ground or roof level on either a concrete plinth or steel frame. Azanefreezer’s combination of ammonia refrigerant, Star low pressure receive technology, EC fan and PLC control technology delivers efficiencies 15% to 20% higher than traditional HFC technology and with a refrigerant charge that is 80% less than pumped circulation ammonia.

    Two pipes between the Azanefreezer package and cold store evaporators keeps site installation time to a minimum. All equipment requiring regular inspection is located within the package, simplifying maintenance and eliminates the need for roof void valve stations.

    Alex Henderson, Key Account Manager at Star Refrigeration said, “As a long standing maintenance customer, we have been working with Pinneys for a number of years. The latest project involved the development of a long term refrigeration solution for the Coldstore plant as well as the rest of the site. It has reduced the amount of refrigeration equipment and helped improve both operating temperatures and efficiency.

    Using our packaged Azanefreezer concept avoided the need for a new plant room and we were able to position and commission the new coldstore plant before decommissioning the existing equipment.”

    Gary Parker, Pinneys Engineering Manager, said “Star Refrigeration have a long history of installing and maintaining plants both at Pinneys and also across the wider Young's Seafood group. 

    This is our first ammonia system at Annan and Azanefreezer’s low ammonia charge was a big reason for selecting it over more conventional ammonia solutions. Since its installation, our cold store temperatures have noticeably improved.”

    Star Refrigeration is the UK’s leading independent industrial refrigeration engineering company. Star focuses on the design, manufacture, installation, commissioning and maintenance of industrial refrigeration systems. The company offers a turnkey package to all users of refrigeration plant.

    Established in Glasgow in 1970, Star has over 300 employees nationwide and provides fast response 24-hour technical support from a network of nine branches to customers throughout the UK. Star’s technical advisory arm, Star Technical Solutions (STS), operates as an independent consultancy providing advice on engineering issues. Star also owns food freezing and chilling equipment specialist Starfrost; mechanical and electrical contractor Star Mechanical and Electrical Solutions; internet-based learning solutions; and Star Renewable Energy providing natural fluid district heat pump technology.

  • Apetito

    Star Refrigeration has completed a refrigeration plant upgrade for frozen food and catering specialist Apetito at its manufacturing facility in Trowbridge, Wiltshire.

    Star undertook a major overhaul of Apetito’s existing refrigeration system to boost reliability and reduce equipment downtime. By updating the plant control system and replacing ageing components, Star has also improved energy efficiency and reduced running costs for Apetito.

    For over 50 years, Apetito has provided frozen food and catering solutions to care homes, local authorities and hospitals. The award-winning company also provides a frozen meal home delivery service across the UK via the Wiltshire Farm Foods franchise network.

    Originally installed by Star in 1995, Apetito’s bespoke ammonia LPR (Low Pressure Receiver) system features four refrigeration plants providing multi-temperature cooling. The system supplies over 800kW of cooling for blast freezing and chilling, production areas, a cold store and series of chill stores at the Trowbridge manufacturing facility.

    Star was awarded the Apetito contract following a competitive tender process. The Total Solution project was completed over 15 weekends, with all work taking place outside factory operation periods to prevent any disruption to production. Star acted as principle contractor throughout the project, with Star Technical Solutions (STS) acting as coordinator for CDM (Construction Design & Management) regulations.

    Operations Manager Andy Bone of Apetito says: “Star Refrigeration worked closely with Apetito throughout the project, and a carefully phased programme of work ensured there was no disruption to production. We’re confident that the plant upgrade and new energy enhancing control system will enable us to operate more efficiently, with less production downtime and lower running costs.”

    The Apetito cooling plant upgrade included the removal of evaporative condensers and associated ducting from inside the factory. Star replaced these condensers with 10% larger models to reduce compressor power consumption. The new condensers are supported on a steel frame outside the building with access gantries for ease of maintenance.

    The project included the replacement of an obsolete control system with a new Star PLC control system. This provides Apetito with the very latest refrigeration management system, with broadband enabled remote monitoring.

    Star also fitted its energy efficient Aether control system to optimise condenser fan operation. This computerised PLC motor and pressure control system features a night-time function to reduce fan speed and noise to help meet the site’s environmental requirements.

    Star was also responsible for installing a new water treatment system for the condensers and a new ammonia detection system. A new corridor cooling/dehumidifying system was designed to reduce moisture ingress to the cold store and increase operational efficiency.

    Following the completion of the upgrade project, Apetito is now benefiting from Starcare, Star’s planned, preventative maintenance (PPM) programme for refrigeration plant operators. This proactive PPM programme ensures optimum longterm performance and reliability, to increase energy efficiency and reduce lifecycle costs.

    When it comes to designing energy efficient cooling and heating systems, Star is a natural innovator. Star works with strategic partners across the globe to deliver low carbon, cost saving solutions.

  • BSkyB

    Star Refrigeration has completed the installation of its revolutionary Indigochiller cooling system at BSkyB’s headquarters in London.

    BSkyB is a leading broadcaster of sports, movies, entertainment and news. The company operates the UK’s largest digital pay television platform from its headquarters at Grant Way in Isleworth. Cooling solutions specialist Star has installed a range of Indigochillers to provide chilled water for air conditioning and computer server cooling in two studio buildings on the BSkyB site. 

    Three state-of-the-art Indigochillers were installed to replace existing package chillers located in a compound between the Sky Sports and Sky News buildings. Star combined two existing independent chilled water circuits serving both buildings into a common system, boosting operating efficiency. 

    The Indigochillers provide chilled water, which is then pumped through insulated pipework to wall or ceiling mounted air handling units (AHUs). Air is circulated across the chilled water coil in each AHU to provide cooling throughout both BSkyB buildings. Broadcast facilities within the two buildings include TV studios, production suites, general offices and computer server rooms.

    A carefully phased four week installation programme ensured no disruption to broadcast operations. Temporary chillers were installed to provide supplementary cooling whilst the existing chillers were removed to make way for the new Indigochillers. 

    Star’s Indigochiller was developed in direct response to proposed F-Gas regulations. The unit’s unique design aims to eliminate refrigerant leakage and have minimal effect on the global environment. 

    All components are selected to minimise the risk of refrigerant leakage. Each unit features a welded plate and shell heat exchanger, sealed expansion valve and welded steel pipework. Leak detection requirements have been reduced to a few simple checks.

    Each Indigochiller features the revolutionary oil-free Turbocor centrifugal compressor, designed to offer reliable operation and low maintenance. The compressor operates on electromagnetic bearings and uses the synthetic refrigerant R134a. This ensures minimal vibration and noise, even when running at very high speed.

    The high efficiency, low noise Indigochiller range is ideal for medium to large-scale applications, with capacities ranging from 250kW up to 1,500kW. It features a robust PLC control system to monitor running conditions and optimise efficiency. Additional options include remote access and email alerts via a built-in modem, as well as a direct link to Star’s 24/7 call out facility. The air-cooled unit is available in two noise ranges: Standard (57 dB(A) to 61 dB(A) @ 10m) and Residential (50 dB(A) to 53 dB(A) @ 10m).

    Star’s research shows the Indigochiller uses only 60% of the energy required by a standard chiller operating on typical load and ambient profiles. This offers end users a significant saving in energy and running costs.

    Following on from the success at Isleworth, two further IA500 units have been installed at the same site and a further three have been installed at BSkyB’s offices in Dunfermline.  

  • International Maritime Organisation

    The International Maritime Organisation building in Lambeth is headquarters to a world-renowned institution, and is the venue for many major global conferences. With the phase out of CFCs reaching its conclusion, it was necessary to replace the old R-11 chillers which provided cooling to the offices and conference suite. In making this change the efficiency of the new chillers was a key factor, because R-11 used as a refrigerant makes for an extremely efficient system. In addition, the air handling units on the building were configured to provide free cooling to the chilled water circuit in low ambient conditions. The chiller replacement project was also required to follow the Government’s policy of avoiding fluorocarbon refrigerants unless necessary. As stated in the DETR report Climate Change: The UK Programme: "HFCs should only be used where other safe, technically feasible, cost effective and more environmentally acceptable alternatives do not exist."

    Consequently, a system using ammonia as the refrigerant was specified. After careful analysis of the building and the surroundings, it was concluded that the most suitable solution was to place two chillers in an acoustic housing on the roof of the offices, close-coupled to two evaporative condensers.     

    To keep the ammonia charge to a minimum and to enable the chiller to fit within the reduced headroom space below the condensers, each unit is equipped with a low pressure receiver and plate heat exchanger. The advantages of using a low pressure receiver are:

    • The charge of ammonia is reduced, the receiver vessel normally runs empty. 
    • The full surface of the heat exchanger is used, so it runs efficiently.
    • The refrigerant flow is not dependent on height difference, as it would be in a gravity fed design.

    The two chillers are contained within separate compartments of the housing, with a total footprint of 6.5m x 6.5m and with an overall height of 3.6m. This provides ample space for safe maintenance, while keeping the installation within the roof area previously occupied by the cooling towers.

    Each chiller has a capacity of 1400kW when chilling water from 11°C to 5.5°C, with an evaporating temperature of 3.3°C on full load. To maximize efficiency the chillers are piped in series, giving a CoP on the lead unit of 6.52 and on the lag of 5.88 at design ambient conditions. The units are also configured to make best possible use of floating head pressure – a further advantage of the low pressure receiver system. Despite the series arrangement, the chillers are selected to give low pressure drop on the water side, and the total pressure difference across the units is less than 0.5 Bar. The evaporative condensers use two speed fan motors so that power consumption can be reduced to a quarter of the design load when the duty or the ambient are sufficiently low. With these features the annualised coefficient of performance was expected to be about 10, as a result of the improved efficiency achieved through allowing reduced head pressure operation.

    The amount of time allowed for the site installation was to be kept to a minimum, due to the existing conference commitments booked by the IMO. In particular, a major international conference was due to take place on site in April, so it was imperative that all work was complete and the plant was in first class condition for this date. The units were delivered with as much pre-assembly as possible, and lifted into place on the roof in the first week of January 2002. The condenser support steels and the housings were then constructed around the chillers. The condensers were lifted into place mid February and the piping and wiring were then completed. Ammonia was charged to the units at the end of March and they were handed over, fully tested, on 10 April 2002.

    Since installation, the plant has run reliably and efficiently throughout the summers of 2002 and 2003. Data monitored by the building manager indicates that the power consumption of the ammonia chillers is significantly less than his previous system.

    The apparent risk with this approach is the use of ammonia in a heavily occupied building within a city center. In fact, this risk was minimised:

    • By locating the plant on the roof
    • By minimising the charge
    • By restricting access to the roof area
    • By ensuring that ammonia could only be released to atmosphere in a controlled manner.

    There is no significant volume of liquid outside the housing, as the high-pressure float control system automatically transfers the condensed liquid to the low pressure receiver. This means that in the event of an ammonia liquid leak, the liquid will be contained within the housing and only transferred to atmosphere in a controlled manner over a period of time. The housing is also equipped with ammonia detection equipment, so that, in the event of a leak, an alarm signal can be provided to ensure a quick and appropriate response.

    The hazard analysis conducted for the installation concluded that, with reasonable control measures in place, the only significant hazard for the installation was the risk of injury to bystanders in the event of a leak during maintenance. For this reason, the roof area in the vicinity of the chillers is administered as a "permit to work" zone.

    Although the capital costs of the chillers is high compared with standard chillers, the integrated roof top solution minimised the additional infrastructure cost so the overall project was not significantly more expensive than the building refurbishment would otherwise have been, even if standard chillers had been selected. For this building, the chillers are estimated to be over 30% more efficient than the previous installation. The project has already exceeded the expectations of the project management team who have subsequently applied similar thinking to another London refurbishment for the same client, and would very much like to do more in future.

  • MKG Foods

    MKG Foods are a leading UK independent, family-owned, frozen food distributor. A multi-million pound turnover company, MKG Foods pride themselves on fully understanding the requirements of today’s catering market and their ability to maintain a personal service that delivers consistent reliability, quality, innovation and value to their customers.

    MKG sought expert advice from Star Refrigeration, to investigate and to offer replacement plant solutions.

    The depot’s distribution function, a 24 hour operation, could not be compromised and storage temperatures within three separate stores had to be maintained throughout the project. The replacement refrigeration systems were to be installed in conjunction with de-commissioning, removal and disposal of redundant R22 systems. 

    Star carried out a thorough investigation into the existing plant, its operation, configuration and available space for locating replacement components. Star proposed a selection of viable schemes, based on a variety of refrigerants and plant configurations; the individual merits and operational economics of each were then presented to MKG.

    A decision was made to replace the existing refrigeration systems, associated with the three low-temperature cold-stores, with six individual air-cooled R404a systems. This solution provided a number of benefits with regard to MKG’s project.

    The compressor/condenser units, a bespoke design unique to Star, are delivered pre-packaged and fully weather-housed; they could therefore be located immediately without any additional plantroom being required. 

    Although each system represented only a portion of the final capacity requirement, each would be capable of independent operation as soon as installed. This enabled a significant portion of the new plant and replacement services to be installed prior to decommissioning the existing systems.

    A replacement sequence, across all three storage chambers, was planned in collaboration with MKG’s distribution and operations management. The plan protected chamber temperatures and product integrity throughout, by ensuring sufficient refrigeration capacity would always be available. 

    By employing multiple independent systems, Star ensured each chamber had sufficient new plant in place to satisfy the full cooling demand prior to the sequential removal of the redundant R22 systems. The independent systems approach also provides MKG Foods with a degree of “plant failure” security, should this ever become a necessity.

    The project was managed throughout by Star, and all planned objectives were achieved. A summary of Star Refrigeration’s responsibilities and involvement was:

    • Replacement plant design, supply and install.
    • Project planning and supervision.
    • Pre-preparation, builders / civil works.
    • Removal of the existing redundant refrigeration plant.
    • The decanting and legal disposal of R22 refrigerant.
    • Re-working and routing existing power supplies and electrical services.
    • Installation of six individual R404a systems, each complete with fully automatic controls.

    The project was delivered in accordance with the agreed programme, with all new plant being fully operational within 8 weeks of commencing onsite.

    Star Refrigeration is the UK's largest independent industrial refrigeration company. Star focuses on design, manufacture, installation, commissioning and maintenance of industrial refrigeration systems. The company can offer a total solutions package to all users of refrigeration plant.

  • GSK Stevenage

    Star Refrigeration has completed work as part of an award-winning £5million project at GlaxoSmithKline’s Medicines Research Centre in Stevenage.

    GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is one of the world’s leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies. GSK’s Stevenage site is one of nine pharmaceutical R&D facilities in the UK. The site houses GSK’s largest chemistry pilot plant, which is used to scale up drug substances.

    GSK was looking to boost cooling capacity within the pilot plant to carry out an increased number of pharmaceutical processes. As well as upgrading its refrigeration plant, the company also wanted to replace two existing chiller units in line with the phase out of R22 refrigerant. It was vital that the new refrigeration plant would be environmentally sound and energy efficient.

    Star Refrigeration was chosen by project management specialists PROjEN Plc, the main contractor on the GSK project, for their specialist knowledge of the refrigeration process. Star specialises in bespoke systems for industrial cooling and is committed to pioneering natural refrigerant solutions.

    In August 2004 Star successfully replaced the two R22 chiller units with a central ammonia refrigeration plant. The new refrigeration plant was commissioned within a short timeframe to coincide with a planned 30-day shut down period at the pilot plant.

    PROjEN’s Senior Project Manager Steve Campbell says: “This was a time critical, flagship project for GSK. The client was looking to invest in an environmentally sound and energy efficient refrigeration plant. We strive to work in partnership with the leading suppliers of professional services on all projects and felt Star had the best ability to provide a quality service for both ourselves and GSK.”

    The new plant features state-of-the-art components, including two screw compressors, two evaporative condensers and plate and shell heat exchangers. Star also connected two existing ammonia compressor systems to the new refrigeration plant. The new plant has a total cooling capacity of around 2,000KW. A computerised control system with dual display panels ensures built-in reliability and continuous operation.

    The new refrigeration plant is designed to cool a secondary heat transfer fluid (HTF) to –30°C, with the facility to reach –40°C for low temperature applications. This HTF is then circulated to meet cooling requirements in reactors and modules throughout the pilot plant. Star was also responsible for decommissioning, removing and safely disposing of the existing R22 refrigerant.

    The new refrigeration plant forms part of a £5million project being managed by PROjEN at GSK’s Stevenage site. Further investment managed by PROjEN includes new HTF pumps and a purpose built plant room to house the new refrigeration system.

    PROjEN was recently presented with the Project of the Year title for the GSK project in the European Construction Institute’s ACTIVE Awards 2004. The ECI ACTIVE Awards recognise outstanding projects undertaken by some of the largest contractors and project support organisations in Europe.

    Star Refrigeration is the UK’s largest independent industrial refrigeration engineering company. Star focuses on the design, manufacture, installation, commissioning and maintenance of industrial refrigeration systems. The company offers a turnkey package to all users of refrigeration plant.

    Established in Glasgow in 1970, Star has over 250 employees nationwide and provides fast response 24-hour technical support from a network of nine branches to customers throughout the UK.

    Star's technical advisory arm, Star Technical Solutions (STS), operates as an independent consultancy providing advice on refrigeration engineering issues. Star also owns food freezing and chilling equipment specialist Starfrost, as well as mechanical and electrical contractors Penec.

  • Financial Institution Data Centre

    Star Refrigeration has installed a bespoke cooling system at a UK data centre operated by a major financial institution for retail and commercial banking.

    A world leader in cooling and heating system innovation, Star replaced an existing R22 refrigeration plant with a highly energy efficient, low maintenance solution. Star has provided the banking client with a state-of-the-art data centre cooling system designed for low carbon, cost saving operation.

    Operating as a data centre since 1990 in a confidential location, the building features two main data halls, each with independent power and cooling infrastructure. Earlier this year IT and computer server systems in one of the data halls were being replaced as part of a major refurbishment programme.

    Elevated air temperature within the refurbished hall due to the new server equipment demanded a new cooling system with a total capacity of 4,400kW.

    The existing plant had a total cooling capacity of 2,700kW and operated on R22, an ozone-depleting HCFC refrigerant currently being phased out by EU regulations.

    The new cooling system features four 1,100kW chillers operating on the synthetic refrigerant R134a. The innovative design incorporates revolutionary oil-free Turbocor compressors, with variable speed drives and high efficiency at full and part load. The chillers also feature an air-cooled refrigerant circuit configured for thermosyphon operation to provide “free cooling” when possible.

    Star Refrigeration’s Director of Sales – Process, Alan Walkinshaw, says: “Power consumption in data centres has quadrupled by some estimates over the last decade. Operators are increasingly looking to reduce energy usage by IT and associated building support systems such as cooling.”

    He adds: “In this case our banking client wanted a cooling solution with up to date technology, high efficiency and minimal environmental impact. The solution we adopted was an innovative design using revolutionary Turbocor R134a compressors and an air-cooled refrigerant circuit. The system is configured to provide free cooling by automatically switching to thermosyphon operation for much longer periods than the previous system.”

    Additional AHUs (air handling units) to deal with the increased heat load were mounted on the perimeter of the data hall to maintain room air at a supply temperature of 22°C. A new exterior deck was built alongside the existing plant room to accommodate flatbed air-cooled condensers.

    The condenser features variable speed EC fans for low noise operation and maximum efficiency, with epoxy coated fins for longevity. The chillers are fully packaged to minimise potential for refrigerant leakage, with welded steel piping and bellows seal valves.

    When it comes to designing energy efficient cooling and heating systems, Star is a natural innovator. Star works with strategic partners across the globe to deliver low carbon, cost saving solutions.

  • Granville Food Care

    Star Refrigeration has designed and manufactured an efficiency boosting cooling system for Granville Food Care Ltd in Northern Ireland.

    Star installed the energy saving refrigeration plant at Granville’s meat freezing and cold storage facility in Dungannon, County Tyrone. The innovative cooling system was designed to replace an existing R22 plant and increase production to meet demand from UK retailers.

    Star’s turnkey cooling solution for Granville comprised a state-of-the-art ammonia and carbon dioxide (CO2) cascade plant. Operating on natural refrigerants, the dual purpose plant provides cooling for both blast freezing and cold storage.

    The cascade plant supplies cooling to three cold storage areas and seven blast freezers at the Granville facility. Star’s refrigeration system is one of the first in Northern Ireland to use CO2 technology for blast freezing.

    Star Refrigeration Sales Director Rob Lamb says: “The ammonia and CO2 cascade plant has allowed Granville to reduce energy consumption and gain a significant increase in throughput, by improving product freeze times by 23 per cent. The plant also has a very low ammonia charge, which is isolated to the plant room.”

    He adds: “Overall, the new refrigeration plant has enabled the client to expand business without further investment in building infrastructure.”

    The Granville plant has a total refrigeration capacity of 1,227kW. The system was designed with sufficient in-built compressor capacity to allow future expansion of the existing cold store.

    The new plant is located in a purpose built plant room adjacent to the main building. It comprises two low temperature CO2 compressors and surge drum. Supplying liquid CO2 to cold stores and blast freezers. It also features two ammonia compressors and evaporative condensers, as well as two ammonia to CO2 cascade heat exchangers.

    The Granville project included the removal of R22 refrigerant from the site. Some of the original plant was designed by Star over 25 years ago and had served the client well. Star worked closely with Granville throughout the 34-week project to ensure the project was completed on time and budget.

    Two further phases of the project are currently underway, to increase both cold storage and freezing capacity on site and these are due to complete over the next six months. When complete, Granville Food Care will have a blast freezing capacity of 300 tonnes per 15 hour cycle to add to their 100 tonne per day of defrosting capacity.

    Star Refrigeration is the UK’s largest independent industrial refrigeration engineering company. Star focuses on the design, manufacture, installation, commissioning and maintenance of industrial refrigeration systems. The company offers a turnkey package to all users of refrigeration plant.

    Star's technical advisory arm, Star Technical Solutions (STS), operates as an independent consultancy providing advice on refrigeration engineering issues. Star also owns food freezing and chilling equipment specialist Starfrost, as well as mechanical and electrical contractors Penec.

  • Thwaites Brewery

    Star Refrigeration has recently completed a project to boost capacity and reduce energy costs for Blackburn based brewer, Daniel Thwaites.

    Following previous successful projects replacing heat exchangers and separator vessels, Star replaced an existing reciprocating compressor and added additional plate heat exchanger cassettes to a modular cooling plant. This increased capacity from 310kW to 400k and reduced weekly running costs. This nett effect is a return on investment of less than 18 months.

    This improvement in efficiency comes from a combination of using an inverter controlled reciprocating compressor in place of the original fixed speed machine and installation on a new compressor sequencing system.

    A comparison of fixed speed and variable speed replacement options at the tender stage demonstrated the benefits of using a variable frequency drive (see graph 1). Daniel Thwaites recognised the operating cost benefits from investing in the variable speed option and these have been realised on site following successful plant installation and comparison.

    Further enhancement of performance has been achieved through the installation of a new compressor sequencing controller. This measures the secondary IMS cooling medium temperature and sequences starting/stopping of the new inverter driven compressor and two existing fixed speed machines.

    Power measure on site demonstrates average weekly savings of around £2,000 on site electricity costs (see graph 2) following installation of the new compressor and sequencer. This results in a payback of less than 18 months based on current energy cost.

    "The replacement of our ammonia compressor had the potential to cause issues with production from both a temperature and logistics perspective. The thorough and detailed project management carried out by Star meant that neither of these became and issue. Star’s attention to detail continued through the commissioning stage, right up to running in of the unit during the initial 3 months. Customer queries were dealt with quickly and advice on efficient operation has been essential to reducing our electricity costs, which have been greater than anticipated," - Thwaites Projects and Utilities Manager, Mick Cockshott.

    The Daniel Thwaites installation is just one example of energy enhancing solutions from Star Refrigeration. Others include:

    • Azanechiller - Air and water cooled high efficiency packaged chillers.
    • Aether – Condenser and pump inverter controller.

    For more information and to arrange a site visit:

    • Contact our sales team at
    • Contact your local branch office.

  • Guinness Brewery Dublin

    Cooling specialist Star Refrigeration has completed a major project for RWE Solutions at Diageo’s Guinness production plant in Ireland.

    Diageo, the global leader in premium drinks, was looking to increase production of its world famous Guinness stout at the St. James’s Gate Brewery in Dublin. The company wanted to boost the production capacity of its brewing process plant and associated utility equipment to the equivalent of 12 million kegs per annum.

    A significant increase in refrigeration plant capacity was critical to the success of the scheme. It was essential that the upgrade of existing plant and additional refrigeration capacity required was achieved within a six-month programme of work, with minimal disruption to production.

    Star was contracted by RWE Solutions for the design and installation of a new industrial refrigeration system for the Guinness plant. RWE Solutions is the energy services company which owns, operates and maintains all utilities equipment at the Dublin facility, including refrigeration, under a fifteen year contract.

    Star’s engineering team worked with RWE Solutions to conduct an extensive evaluation of the existing ammonia refrigeration plant and associated glycol system. The solution was to design and install 3.5MW of additional refrigeration capacity to work in conjunction with the existing plant. It was vital that the extended and upgraded plant operated with enhanced efficiency and environmental benefits.

    The refrigeration plant upgrade was completed on time and on budget. The plant provides a total of 8.9MW of refrigeration capacity at an overall evaporating temperature of -4.5°C. This increase in refrigeration capacity has been achieved without adding a significant increase in refrigerant charge. As well as providing an environmentally friendly solution, the new refrigeration system was designed to enhance overall operating efficiency and reliability.

    Star’s project and site management team worked closely with RWE Solutions and Diageo to ensure that installation and commissioning work were programmed to prevent disruption to the brewing process. Careful planning enabled the duration of four programmed shut downs to be reduced from two days to twelve hours. This enabled production to be maintained throughout the project.

    Star Refrigeration’s Managing Director Andy Pearson says: “The Guinness project demonstrates Star’s strength in applying best practice and new thinking to create a first class installation. Our engineering team worked in close partnership with RWE Solutions to improve and optimise a traditional refrigeration system with a high level of technical innovation. We were also able to ensure major site works were expertly managed and completed without disruption to production.”

    The new refrigeration plant comprises two Star compressor package units with twin-screw compressors and high efficiency drive motors. A new surge drum and two gravity fed plate heat exchanger evaporators were also installed to work alongside four existing shell and tube evaporators. Existing evaporator glycol pumps were augmented with three additional pumps complete with variable speed drives, to pump glycol through the plate heat exchangers. Extra condensing capacity is provided by an additional evaporative condenser.

    Star also introduced a new computerised control system to optimise plant operation and ensure accurate temperature control. The Telstar PLC system is integrated with the plant’s existing control system and is designed to improve system management, reliability and efficiency.

    On completion of the Guinness project, Star conducted comprehensive on site training for RWE Solutions’ engineering staff and advised on safety management procedures. Star will provide specialist refrigeration plant maintenance services on site to RWE Solutions as required in the future.

    Star Refrigeration is the UK’s largest independent industrial refrigeration engineering company. Star focuses on the design, manufacture, installation, commissioning and maintenance of industrial refrigeration systems. The company offers a turnkey package to all users of refrigeration plant.

    Star's technical advisory arm, Star Technical Solutions (STS), operates as an independent consultancy providing advice on refrigeration engineering issues. Star also owns food freezing and chilling equipment specialist Starfrost, as well as mechanical and electrical contractors Penec.

  • Greggs Electrical Refurbishment

    A major incident occurred at one of Star Refrigeration’s key customers in the North East, Greggs PLC in the early hours of Monday 1st October 2012.

    A major electrical fire within one of the 250kW compressor starter control panels caused unrepairable damage to itself and also an adjoining control panel. This contained the Telstar MK3 control equipment for the 1215kW Ammonia Spiral Freezer plant, originally installed by Star in 1997.

    The Greggs factory at Longbenton, Newcastle, is the heartbeat of Greggs’ bakery production for the whole of the UK. The severity of the fire resulted in the 3 Spiral Freezers immediately being unavailable for production. As Greggs' specialist refrigeration contractor, Star had to react immediately to re-establish production at the earliest opportunity.

    Star was faced with several key challenges from the outset; the local branch engineers at Newcastle were immediately despatched to support the operation on the ground. This meant working 24 hour shifts in an attempt to establish and keep the plant running, albeit in manual operation with 24 hour site cover. Despite extensive water damage in all remaining control panels, this was achieved in a little over three days!

    The main challenge away from site saw Star designing, manufacturing and installing 4 new control panels complete with Telstar PLC controls in record breaking time, whilst ensuring 2 out of 3 WRV Howden compressors were kept running at all times. This was a huge test for both Star and Star Mechanical & Electrical Solutions (SMES) who, quite simply, rose to the challenge outstandingly.

    When Martin Price, Installation & Controls Manager of SMES, first heard about the incident at Greggs, he quite rightly indicated that this type of project would “usually take some 10-12 weeks from start to finish.”

    Greggs’ operation, with concerns of meeting customer demands for their products leading up to Christmas, could not accept this time period so they empowered their trust in Star and challenged the Star team to complete the project in just 6 weeks.

    The local branch was under immense pressure to deliver, so they called on the company’s vast array of resources to ensure that the project was completed on time.

    “It was a fantastic team effort, they did us proud” – George Barnes, Greggs Head of Engineering

    Team Star, which comprised the Glasgow design department, SMES panel design and manufacture team in Derby, Star’s national commissioning team, the local branch management team, engineering technicians from both Newcastle/Leeds branches and BMS electrical contractors each played their own pivotal role in delivering the project on time – in just 6 weeks.

    SMES’s expertise and capability enabled them to design and manufacture 4 new control panels in a record space of time – the first control panel being delivered and commissioned on site within 2 weeks of the fire!

    The Star team were able to meet the challenges set by Greggs in delivering the project on time and they also took the opportunity to improve the overall plant controls within the new PLC programme; redesigning it to help alleviate several plant issues which, due to the plants increased duty, were affecting production reliability.

    The main issue was the number of high/low surge drum level faults the site was experiencing due to the continued growth of the spirals to satisfy production.

    Star were able to improve the system so that controlling of the spiral freezers during start-up, freeze, defrost and unscheduled periods of downtime were all vastly improved.

    “This was the most severe incident I have witnessed in over 25 years. The hard work and long hours put in by our teams should not be underestimated” – Jeff Little, Operations Training Manager, Star Refrigeration

    The final piece of the jigsaw for the project was a new SCADA package, which captures every single plant event complete with data logging and VCR playback, thus ensuring the history of plant operation is visible at all times for both Greggs and Star.

  • Asda CO2 Cascade Plant

    Star Refrigeration has completed another innovative cooling plant installation for supermarket giant ASDA, at one of its network of UK distribution centres.

    Star has installed an energy efficient refrigeration plant at ASDA’s Central Distribution Centre in Lutterworth, near Leicester. The project is the latest cutting edge cooling solution designed by Star to ensure the efficiency of ASDA’s frozen and chilled operation.

    Star has partnered ASDA on a wide range of distribution centre projects since 1988, including a number of environmental award winning refrigeration systems. In 2006, ASDA was looking for a new refrigeration system to replace an existing R22 plant and meet increased operational demands at its 24/7 Lutterworth facility.

    Cooling solutions specialist Star was commissioned by ASDA in a contract valued at over £3million. The 10-month project formed part of a major refurbishment and extension to the chilled facility at Lutterworth. Star worked closely with ASDA and the building contractor to ensure the site remained fully operational and that the installation was completed on time and to budget.

    Star’s cooling solution for the Lutterworth site comprised an ammonia and carbon dioxide (CO2) cascade plant. The refrigeration plant is highly energy efficient, reliable and robust by design to meet ASDA’s key objectives. The system operates on natural refrigerants and avoids the use of ammonia in populated work areas.

    The cascade plant provides cooling to four main refrigerated chambers within the storage and distribution facility. The site has a frozen food cold store operating at -25°C and three large chill rooms, operating from +1°C to +13°C. 

    The new refrigeration plant is located in a purpose built Energy Centre adjacent to the main building. The system has an overall cooling capacity of 3.2MW and serves a total internal volume of around 270,000 cubic metres. Star’s patented TELSTAR computerised control system ensures optimum performance and efficiency.

    Star Refrigeration Sales Director Rob Lamb says: "Following the success of similar refrigeration plants for ASDA, this was naturally the best solution for the Lutterworth distribution centre. The ammonia and CO2 cascade system combines the very latest in design innovation with natural refrigerant technology."

    He adds: "The cascade plant’s refrigerant charge is predominantly CO2, with an ammonia charge of less than one tonne. Star has now completed the installation of this type of energy efficient and environmentally conscious refrigeration system for ASDA at four UK sites."

    The cascade plant operates with ammonia refrigerant in the high temperature stage and CO2 in the low temperature stage. CO2 is used as the low temperature fluid in a standard vapour compression cycle, rejecting its heat to the ammonia system. CO2 is then used as a high temperature volatile secondary refrigerant for chill areas and general air conditioning.

    The low stage CO2 plant has a cooling capacity of 820kW. It supplies low temperature liquid CO2 to six air coolers in the cold store. The high stage ammonia plant operates with a minimal charge. The plant serves 20 air coolers in 3 chill areas and has a capacity of 2.4MW.

    Star Refrigeration is the UK’s largest independent industrial refrigeration engineering company. Star focuses on the design, manufacture, installation, commissioning and maintenance of industrial refrigeration systems. The company offers a turnkey package to all users of refrigeration plant.

  • Tesco Retrofit

    Star Refrigeration has completed a six-year programme of environmentally conscious retrofit projects for Tesco, to increase energy efficiency and reduce its carbon footprint.

    In 2000 supermarket chain Tesco committed to phase out HCFC refrigerants from its estate, including its network of 11 distribution centres. The temperature controlled facilities are integral to the supply of chilled and frozen produce to over 1,900 Tesco stores across the UK.

    Four Tesco distribution centres had refrigeration plant operating on R22, an HCFC gas refrigerant currently being phased out due to its ozone depleting potential. As preferred supplier of cooling solutions for Tesco distribution refrigeration systems, Star was tasked to replace the R22 plants with energy efficient and environmentally conscious refrigeration systems.

    Star’s engineers reviewed cooling provision at each distribution centre and considered a number of system designs and refrigerant options. Environmental considerations coupled with the large plant capacity required (2.7MW to 3MW per site) resulted in ammonia as the clear choice as primary refrigerant.

    Star worked in partnership with Tesco to produce a generic central ammonia/glycol system that could be adopted on all four R22 retrofit sites. These included Tesco distribution centres in Hinckley, Leicester (completed 2001), Middleton, north Manchester (completed 2005), Harlow, Essex (completed 2006) and Snodland, Kent (completed 2006).

    As the main consumer of electrical power at any distribution centre, energy efficiency was a key aspect in the design of the new refrigeration system. Star worked to optimise plant efficiency and reduce energy consumption, in order to have a significant positive impact on running costs, carbon emissions and the environment.

    Star’s ammonia/glycol refrigeration plant for Tesco is a state-of-the-art system that provides cooling for cold and chill stores. Each plant comprises duplex screw compressors, low pressure receiver, glycol plate heat exchanger and evaporative condensers. Star’s patented TELSTAR computerised control system monitors plant trends and provides continuous data logging with remote access facility.

    It was vital that each distribution centre remained fully operational throughout the installation programme. The majority of plant removal and installation work was carried out over weekends and during the early hours. All works were carefully phased over a 12-month period at each site to ensure zero downtime.

    Star is currently involved in the design, build and installation of a refrigeration plant for a brand new Tesco distribution centre in Scotland. The temperature controlled facility in Livingston, West Lothian is due to be completed later this year.

    Star Refrigeration is the UK’s largest independent industrial refrigeration engineering company. Star focuses on the design, manufacture, installation, commissioning and maintenance of industrial refrigeration systems. The company offers a turnkey package to all users of refrigeration plant.

  • Braehead SFO

    A Scottish seafood processor has cut over 25% from its annual energy bill by investing in a high efficiency cooling system from Star Refrigeration.

    Braehead (SFO Enterprises) is a seafood processing company run by the Scottish
    Fishermen’s Organisation (SFO). The firm operates a large processing facility in the coastal town of Fraserburgh in Aberdeenshire, NE Scotland.

    Braehead (SFO Enterprises) is a key producer of high quality whole Scottish langoustine, landed by SFO members. The company processes and supplies the fresh and frozen Scottish shellfish to retail and food service markets across Europe.

    The company was looking for an energy efficient and environmentally conscious cooling system to replace aging refrigeration plant at its langoustine processing facility in Fraserburgh. The existing plant operated on R22 gas, a HCFC refrigerant with high global warming potential that is currently being phased out by European legislation.

    A world leader in cooling and heating system innovation, Glasgow-based Star designed and supplied a bespoke multi-temperature refrigeration plant for Braehead (SFO Enterprises). The plant supplies a total of 460kW of cooling to three cold store chambers, an in-line freezing tunnel and a blast freezer.

    Star handled the removal of the existing R22 plant and installed a single stage economised pumped circulation cooling system, with two Star built compressors and a surge drum/economiser package, all operating on natural ammonia refrigerant. The plant provides 270kW of cooling for the three cold store chambers (-25°C), 190kW for the freezing tunnel (-40°C) and 65kW of cooling for the blast freezer (-35°C).

    Star’s Operations Director, John Fraser, says: “Star secured the contract following a competitive tender process and recommendation from an independent survey by the Carbon Trust. Our competitors specified HFC refrigeration systems, but the client was ultimately looking for an environmentally sound and energy efficient solution.”

    He adds: “Star’s low charge ammonia plant uses an environmentally benign refrigerant in terms of global warming and ozone depletion. Highly efficient operation was key to the plant’s design and an advanced control system ensures an energy saving, low carbon cooling solution. We’re delighted that the client’s energy bills are less than 75% of the previous cost.”

    Star’s Telstar PLC computerised control system ensures optimum plant performance, with HMI touch screen interface. Plant operation can be monitored remotely and power consumption is measured and input into the Telstar system, which produces a graphic record of performance. The Telstar system hardware and control panels were supplied by Star M&E Solutions, Star’s mechanical and electrical contracting company.

    The operating efficiency of the plant is further enhanced by Star’s energy saving Aether system, which automatically reduces condenser fan speed and uses floating head pressure control to optimise performance. Further energy saving features include high efficiency motors, evaporative condenser, automatic leak detection and a hot gas defrost system.

    A new weatherproof plant room adjacent to the main building houses the plant’s compressor packages, whilst the surge drum and evaporative condenser are located outdoors. The new refrigeration plant at Braehead (SFO Enterprises) site is now benefiting from Starcare, Star’s planned, preventative maintenance (PPM) programme for refrigeration plant operators run form the local branch office in Aberdeen.

    When it comes to designing and maintaining energy efficient cooling and heating systems, Star is a natural innovator. Star works with strategic partners across the globe to deliver low carbon, cost saving solutions.

  • Nestle Halifax

    Star Refrigeration has been providing Nestlé UK with refrigeration solutions since 1990 and this strong partnership led to the latest challenge for Star. The challenge was to find a Heat Pump solution for reducing the Nestlé Halifax factories refrigeration and heating energy demands.

    The Nestlé Halifax team had previously completed an energy audit on their central coal fired boilers, the steam distribution and all of the end user heating systems throughout the factory. This enabled the team to clearly identify, grade and consolidate the various end user heating requirements which identified significant design and operational inefficiencies.

    Previously one central coal fired steam generation plant served all of the individual end users, where high grade steam would be degraded to suit the processes. The new concept was to simply heat the water to the desired process temperature and the Star Neatpump would serve to provide hot water to end users requiring 60°C and to preheat those operating in excess of 60°C.

    Nestlé’s global commitment to reduce the environmental impact of its operation, demands the use of natural refrigerants for all new factory process refrigeration equipment. This presented a number of challenges for Star as heat pumps until now had been either HFC dependent, which was not an option, or they had utilised reciprocating compressors which were beginning to show high regular maintenance costs or with screw compressors operating at their limit.

    Star Refrigeration, Vilter Manufacturing Inc (USA) and Cool Partners (a Danish consultancy) formed a collaborative effort to devise a high pressure heat pump solution using ammonia and screw compressors up to 90°C. This enabled Star to comfortably take heat from the 0°C process glycol at -5°C and lift it to 60°C in one stage for heating.

    Their challenge was to utilise a heat pump that drew electrical energy and thereby reduced the load on the proposed replacement gas fired equipment. Alternative solutions such as geothermal and CHP were considered, but the client recognised that these technologies imposed limitations to future land resale and/or development and high annual maintenance charges offsetting the predicated savings in cheaper electricity.

    A key stage for the Vilter/Star/Cool Partners (VSC) team was the establishment of bespoke selection software as it was essential to know how to assess the overall effectiveness of the system. Previous projects had been assessed in terms of COP. This project needed to be COPc for “cooling effect/absorbed power.” In addition, COPh for “heating effect/divided by absorbed power” was required, but the real measure of the heating efficiency is COPhi. This is the total heating capacity divided by the net difference in compressor absorbed power between the design cooling only condensing condition and the heat pump design condensing condition.

    Based on the clients' previously measured heating and cooling load profiles, the analysis showed that to meet the projected hot water heating demands from the ‘Total Loss’ and ‘Closed Loop’ circuits, the selected heat pump compressors would have to produce 1.25MW of high grade heat. To achieve this demand, the equipment selected offers 914kW of refrigeration capacity with an absorbed power rating of 346kW. The combined heating and cooling COP, COPhc, is calculated to be a modest 6.25. For an uplift of 17k in discharge pressure the increase in absorbed power was 108kW, boosting the COPhi to an impressive 11.57.

    Without Nestlé’s commitment to research and logging site energy performance, it would have been impossible to gauge how much can be saved by using the waste heat from the cooling process. Since plant handover in May 2010 Nestlé Halifax are heating around 54,000lts of towns water each day to 60°C, which costs around £10, saving some £30,000pa on gas. By late 2010 site will be utilising a further 250kW of waste heat for their Closed Loop systems and by mid 2011 the demand on all heating systems is set to double.

    Nestlé can save an estimated £143,000pa in heating costs, and 119,100kg in carbon emissions by using a Star Neatpump. Despite the new refrigeration plant providing both heating and cooling, it consumes £120,000 less electricity per annum than the previous cooling only plant.

  • Global Logistics Specialists, Wales

    Renowned for its expertise in sustainable cooling technology for the temperature controlled storage sector, Star has enabled another leading distribution firm to cut annual energy costs by 40% at its facility in Wales.

    Working with the company’s technical staff, Star designed and installed an environmentally conscious refrigeration plant for a cold storage facility at the site. The ammonia system replaced an existing plant that operated on R22 – an ozone-depleting refrigerant which is currently being phased out by EU legislation.

    The global logistics specialist was looking for an energy efficient cooling system to serve a frozen food coldstore. The facility has a throughput of over 600 frozen pallets each week, with products from the region’s food manufacturers being distributed to retailers and food service outlets across the UK.

    A world leader in cooling and heating system innovation, Star has a vast experience of distribution centre cooling solutions, spanning over 30 years. Star supplied a bespoke ammonia refrigeration plant for the coldstore, which houses six insulated chambers with fully automated doors and has a total volume of around 31,500 cubic metres.

    Star designed, built, installed and commissioned a single stage pumped circulation ammonia refrigeration plant. With a total capacity of around 450kW, the plant delivers cooling via 10 evaporators to maintain the coldstore temperature at -22°C.

    Star Refrigeration’s Director of Sales – Food Market, James Ward, says: “As part of the R22 phase out and a drive to reduce energy consumption across the clients estate, our system is designed for optimum operating efficiency at an affordable running cost. As well as operating on the natural refrigerant ammonia, the plant incorporates energy saving equipment and controls to provide significant electrical savings when compared to standard pumped circulation designs.”

    He adds: “We are confident that as well as having a refrigeration plant that complies with environmental legislation, the operator will save around 40% off its annual energy bill thanks to the design of the system.”

    Located in a new plant room adjacent to the cold store, the refrigeration plant features two screw compressors and one reciprocating compressor to give highly efficient part load operation. The ammonia system also includes surge drum, open flash intercooler and one common evaporative condenser. Star’s Telstar PLC computerised control and management system ensures optimum performance and energy efficiency, with HMI touch screen interface.

    Star’s energy efficient plant design package includes defrost on demand, floating head suction pressure, an Aether condenser fan inverter controller and intelligent compressor controls.  Star also improved the design of the existing cold store evaporators with graduated fin spacing to allow longer operation between defrosts.

    When it comes to designing energy efficient cooling and heating systems, Star is a natural innovator. Star works with strategic partners across the globe to deliver low carbon, cost saving solutions.

  • Nestle UK Hayes

    In Hayes, Middlesex towards the end of last year a world premiere occurred, but it passed with relatively little comment, no national press coverage, and certainly none of the razzmatazz that would accompany such an event on the other side of the Atlantic. For the first time, certainly in this generation of refrigeration engineers, a large, low temperature industrial refrigeration system had been commissioned using a cascade between carbon dioxide and ammonia as the working fluids in the plant. There is almost certainly no comparable system currently anywhere in the world; although the success of the Hayes project means that several more will undoubtedly follow in quick succession.

    The Hayes plant is used by Nestlé UK in the production of freeze dried and spray dried coffee, including the world famous Nescafe brand. The choice of such a system in such a high profile and product-critical system may at first sight seem unusual, but there were clear and strong imperatives which made the choice a simple one. Nestlé’s factory in Hayes has been in production since 1913, originally producing chocolate and more recently coffee. The freeze drying line was installed in the 1960s and has seen several refrigeration plant refits since then. Until now the refrigeration requirements have been met by a central plant using pumped R22 at several temperature levels, but for almost ten years it had been clear to a few of Nestlé’s refrigeration experts that the successful replacement of the R22 system with a more acceptable alternative would be necessary in order to continue coffee production on the site. The factory still makes chocolate, including Milky Bars, and this had to be unaffected by any coffee refrigeration work. In addition, the art deco building is a famous local landmark and is recognised as a work of architectural heritage.

    Paradoxically, the challenges posed by the existing production lines and the traditional style of the building were key to the selection of this mould-breaking system. The existing R22 plant requires extremely large suction pipework. Running ammonia pipework through the same spaces without first decommissioning the R22 plant would have been impossible – the ammonia suction pipes would have been over 800mm diameter when insulated. Using carbon dioxide as the refrigerant provided a much more dense gas for the suction pipes and enabled the line size to be reduced to 150mm diameter. In addition, the suction pressure is about 8 Bar, so many of the traditional problems of running low temperature refrigeration plant in a vacuum are completely avoided. An early design study conducted by Star Refrigeration showed that the carbon dioxide plant would be cheaper to install than any of the alternatives considered, including a two-stage ammonia plant.

    While carbon dioxide requires a cascade condenser (which acts as the ammonia evaporator), the higher cost of this vessel compared with a standard intercooler is more than offset by savings made in the price of low stage compressors and site pipework.

    The compressors required for carbon dioxide are roughly one-eighth the size of equivalent capacity ammonia machines. In fact the projected installation cost for the cascade system was about 13% less than the ammonia equivalent. The small size of carbon dioxide pumps required, and the relatively good efficiency of the compressors led to a predicted system coefficient of performance marginally better on carbon dioxide than on two-stage ammonia. The pre-study predicted a difference of 5% in overall plant efficiency, primarily because the carbon dioxide compressors were expected to be more efficient.

    The plant operates on two low temperature levels, -48oC and –54oC, and in addition has a small side load, also on carbon dioxide, at –16 oC. The total low temperature capacity, which is handled by the carbon dioxide compressors, is 2,400kW. The side load is met by pumping high pressure carbon dioxide from the HP receiver to the load and returning the evaporated gas to the compressor discharge line, so there is no load on the low temperature stage.

    One slightly unusual feature of this highly unusual plant was that the low temperature system pipework was all stainless steel. Although this gives some benefits in corrosion resistance, the main reason for its selection was the high strength of stainless steel at low temperatures. The pipework and fittings were therefore readily available, whereas special low temperature carbon steel could have been much more difficult to obtain. The stainless steel pipe can also be thinner wall and hence lighter and easier to handle than carbon steel. As a result it was estimated that there was no substantial cost penalty for the use of stainless. The only negative aspect to this choice was a concern about chloride attack on the outer surface, so great care was taken in surface preparation before insulating, and in the selection of suitable adhesives for the insulation.

    To gain experience of many aspects of carbon dioxide use at low temperatures, Nestlé UK installed a demonstration unit to chill air in a low temperature cold store before the main project. The demonstration unit was fitted with a Bitzer screw compressor and a Hermetique pump, and was connected to the existing R22 system using a brazed plate heat exchanger as the carbon dioxide condenser. 

    The demonstration plant used polyol ester oil, and gave very good performance characteristics for the evaporator. Although there were no problems with the oil in the low side of the system it was found to be difficult to return it from the surge drum, and as a result it was decided that the main plant should be equipped with oil-free compressors. Given the lack of experience world wide with oil injected compressors for this type of application at the time the Hayes project was being installed, this was a wise decision. However thanks to a huge development push in the last two years, at least four screw compressor manufacturers, including Grasso, Mycom and York, have introduced screw compressors for carbon dioxide, and it seems certain that many more enhancements will follow in the near future.

    The oil free compressors selected were by Quiri Refrigeration of France – a very traditional design of reciprocating compressor with three double acting cylinders in a W configuration. These compressors have a long track record of use on many recovery plants, typically raising nominally dry carbon dioxide from atmospheric pressure and temperature to about 20 bar. The machines selected were capable of 800kW at a suction pressure of -54oC, and were fitted with inverter drives to enable the capacity to be matched to the load at commissioning.

    The system commissioning started in December 2000, but the phased installation process required to avoid production disruption continued until September 2001, when the plant reached full load. Operating experience so far has shown both evaporator and compressor performance to be even better than predicted. Some early piston ring and shaft seal wear problems were experienced with the compressors as a result of the exceptional dryness of the carbon dioxide. These have been resolved by the selection of an alternative material with self-lubricating properties, and the compressors have now run for about 5,000 hours. One substantial benefit which was not foreseen is that the new system is significantly easier to operate than the previous R22 plant, despite the complexity of the distributed carbon dioxide network. This is because each stage of the cascade can be treated as an independent simple circuit.

    The successful completion of the project was celebrated by the Nestlé UK and Star Refrigeration project teams in January 2002. This included the world premiere performance of a fanfare called "Coffee Break" composed for the occasion in recognition of Nestlé’s world premiere. The fanfare may never be heard in public again, but the news of carbon dioxide in industrial installations will be repeated many times in the coming years.

    Star Refrigeration is the UK’s largest independent industrial refrigeration engineering company. Star focuses on the design, manufacture, installation, commissioning and maintenance of industrial refrigeration systems. The company offers a turnkey package to all users of refrigeration plant.

    Established in Glasgow in 1970, Star has over 260 employees nationwide and provides fast response 24-hour technical support from a network of nine branches to customers throughout the UK.

    Star's technical advisory arm, Star Technical Solutions (STS), operates as an independent consultancy providing advice on refrigeration engineering issues. Star also owns food freezing and chilling equipment specialist Starfrost, as well as mechanical and electrical contractors Penec.

  • RF Brookes Rogerstone

    Driving north from Newport towards Risca on the A467 along the banks of the River Ebbw you cannot fail to notice the new RF Brookes ready meals factory. Its smoothly curved roofline and sleek, silver cladding suggest a quiet confidence in a quality product.

    The factory, built by Bovis Europe at Rogerstone Park, covers 20,000 square metres. It provides sufficient capacity to relocate RF Brookes’ existing local facility from The Wern and will more than double the existing production capacity. This will provide a springboard for growth of their business with key brand name clients such as Marks & Spencer, Pizza Hut and Whitbread. The site will produce chilled and frozen meals for distribution throughout the United Kingdom and across Europe.

    The land, formerly the Pontyminster farm and hence a genuine “green field site”, was occupied early in 1998 for preliminary groundworks and a major construction project in the heart of a scenic Welsh valley, the project was subject to close scrutiny by the Welsh office and the Department of the Environment. Strict codes of practice relating to airborne, ground, water and noise pollution were laid down by RF Brookes and policed by Bovis. Design and construction work progressed rapidly, and the first services installations commenced early in November. The programme was driven by the need to meet key production dates in the third quarter of 1999, but the development of the RF Brookes business throughout the project meant that the design had to remain flexible for as long as possible.

    This required close contact between the RF Brookes team, the design team (architect, structural engineer and services consultant) and the squad of specialist sub-contractors who turned the plans into reality. This high degree of co-operation was achieved by Bovis through a management contract (JCT87) which brought the various groups together in regular services co-ordination meetings, and allowed frequent shifts in requirements to be incorporated into the scheme.

    Room temperatures are monitored throughout the factory to provide full traceability, and linked through the Allen-Bradley control system to a Rockwell RSView 32 control and data acquisition package. Control of the process environment and refrigeration systems is also achieved with Allen-Bradley plcs, with four separate plc racks in roof void control panels.

    The control software was designed on a modular basis to assist with initial commissioning and ongoing maintenance, but with over two hundred separate rooms to control there are many variations on each theme. All of the plant control is linked to the RSView 32 system allowing the site services engineer to check on the operation of process equipment, air handling systems and cooling plant from computers around the site. In the event of an alarm an auto-dial facility links to Star Refrigeration’s Bristol office to call out a standby engineer on 24-hour cover.

    Star provided a full Project Management, Design, Construction and Commissioning service for the factory’s refrigeration systems, air handling, heating, ventilation, extraction and office air-conditioning. All areas of the factory are climatically controlled to temperatures ranging from 3ºC to 18ºC and relative room air pressures are used to segregate low risk and high risk areas. With growing concern about the environmental effect of industrial installations, RF Brookes chose ammonia as the primary refrigerant. This gives high efficiency freezing at low temperatures and has no direct effect on ozone depletion or global warming. The secondary refrigerant used for chill areas and air handling units is a non-toxic, food-safe potassium salt solution.

    The main refrigeration plant comprises nine Howden ammonia screw compressors with ammonia pumped to the factory at –40ºC and –15ºC, and potassium brine at –7ºC and 0ºC. Star’s design for the compressor network optimised the flexibility of the plant, with compressors able to transfer from one cooling duty to another in order to keep the available capacity in balance with the load requirement.

    The services plant, including refrigeration, boilers, electrical distribution, sprinkler water storage tanks and maintenance workshop, is housed in a separate Energy Centre adjacent to the factory. The factory equipment includes five Frigoscandia Gyro freezers, four blast chillers, an 18,000m3 cold store and a 40,000m3 dispatch chill, as well as numerous smaller production rooms controlled at a variety of temperature and humidity levels. At the peak of the installation effort, Star had up to seventy five subcontract welders, pipefitters, insulators and electricians on site in addition to their own engineers.

    With a five-strong project team permanently on site, supported by a team of six designers at their head office in Glasgow, Star took on the task of co-ordinating all services in the roof void, including sprinklers, steam and water pipes, electrical services as well as their own primary and secondary refrigerant pipes, drains and air ductwork. This produced an integrated services installation with maximum flexibility and a minimum of unnecessary complication.

    In keeping with such an impressive facility the adjacent office building is well equipped to accommodate all the necessary support activities, including a test kitchen for new products, a restaurant and a 400 seat lecture theatre. The office air conditioning uses Mitsubishi splits with ozone-friendly R407C as the refrigerant.

    Four outdoor condensing units serve a total of fifty two fan-coil units which can provide heating or cooling to each zone within the office block.

    Despite the usual hurdles found on all major construction projects, Star Refrigeration’s team was able to start commissioning the refrigeration system in June 1999 as required. Process fit-out then started in earnest and the site is now well on its way to full production. The contract, for just under £7.5m, was the largest in Star’s thirty year history. It has provided a wealth of knowledge to an already experienced team.

    Star Refrigeration is the UK's largest independent industrial refrigeration engineering company. Star focuses on the design, manufacture, installation, commissioning and maintenance of industrial refrigeration systems. The company offers a turnkey package to all users of refrigeration plant.

    Star's technical advisory arm, Star Technical Solutions (STS), operates as an independent consultancy providing advice on refrigeration engineering issues. Star also owns food freezing and chilling equipment specialist Starfrost, as well as mechanical and electrical contractors Penec.