There's More than One Way to Cool/Heat Spaces

modular coldrooms and walk-in chillers

Icecool Trailers is constantly on the lookout for industry-related developments that could make the service we provide in Berkshire, London, and the Thames Valley better. One of the latest developments, though not directly related to the freezer and refrigerated trailer rentals we offer, is still important nonetheless. The development we are referring to is that of a new ammonia-based heat extraction system now providing all of the heat needed by a Norwegian town 40 miles north of Oslo.

The system provides heat to both residential and commercial customers by way of a plant that utilises a heat pump submerged in a nearby fjord. The most unusual thing about this system is that it uses ammonia rather than HFCs to take the heat from the water and use it to provide space heat in the town. Allow us to explain how it works.

Liquid to Gas to Liquid

Our refrigerated trailer rentals operate on the very simple principle of compressing and expanding a refrigerant gas. When the gas is compressed, it absorbs a tremendous amount of ambient heat; when expanded, the gas releases that heat. By using this principle, we can extract heat from the inside of one of our units, transfer it to a heat exchanger, and then disburse it outside the trailer or walk-in cold room. The heat pump system in Norway works the same way.

Liquid ammonia enters the underwater heat pump, absorbing heat from the water that remains at a consistent temperature of no lower than 8°C. Absorbing heat from the water causes the ammonia to begin boiling at 2°C, at which point it converts to a gas. Additional equipment puts further pressure on the gas in order to increase its temperature to 120°C. The heat produced by the process is then transferred to water inside the plant, which is, in turn, transferred to the town's buildings at 90°C before returning to the plant at 60°C.

What makes the process so efficient is the relatively low boiling point of ammonia. In theory, the same system that provides heat for the Norwegian town can be used in reverse to provide cooling for any number of applications. The best thing is that ammonia does not present any carbon issues.

Temporary Refrigeration Systems

We do not envision a day when a water heat pump powered by ammonia has any practical applications for temporary refrigeration. Nevertheless, we decided to bring this to your attention for two purposes. First, to further explain how the refrigeration/heating process works so that you better understand how our walk-in rooms and refrigerated trailers do what they do.


Second, we wanted to demonstrate that the science of refrigeration and heating is constantly evolving. Exciting projects such as the one we mentioned here are paving the way for a future of refrigeration that is significantly more environmentally friendly while still being energy-efficient and cost-effective.

In the same way engineers in Norway worked hard to develop an innovative heating system we work hard at Icecool Trailers to provide our clients with reliable temporary refrigeration solutions. We offer both trailers and walk-in rooms of various sizes, capable of meeting your emergency needs or providing refrigerator or freezer capacity for planned events. We specialise in working with the hospitality and food service industries throughout London, Berkshire, and the Thames Valley. Beyond our local service area, we also provide service throughout most of England and South Wales.


1. BBC –