Southern Distilling Company, a family-owned and operated distillery located in Statesville, North Carolina, (U.S.), has purchased its third PROChiller CO2 (R744)-based system from Pro Refrigeration, an over-30-year-old company specializing in “instant cooling” for the dairy, winery, brewing and food processing industries.

With the natural refrigerant, the unit reduces greenhouse gas emissions and increases cooling efficiency “by effectively transferring more BTU/HR with reduced kW consumption,” said Pro Refrigeration in a press release.

“As leaders in the distilling industry, Southern Distilling has high expectations that have challenged us to provide the most efficient, next-level cooling solutions,” said Jim VanderGiessen, PRO Refrigeration’s CEO.

“I really appreciate that our new PROChiller uses a refrigerant that will never be phased out, unlike the refrigerant used in our current chiller systems and other options we’ve considered,” said Peter Barger, Southern Distilling’s CEO.

The chiller also serves as the primary heat source for the distillery’s hot water requirements by repurposing waste heat that is typically discharged to the environment. “The PROGreen system allows me to reduce my boiler load by almost 50%,” Barger said, adding that “this will change how distilleries are built in the future.”

The 100hp (74.6kW/21.2TR) unit comes with a 750gal (662.4l) dual chamber coolant vessel, with heat recovery generating 180°F (82.2°C) hot potable water, according to the product webpage, with Danish manufacturer Danfoss supplying the electronic refrigeration controls.

“We can’t wait to get this new system online and operating,” VanderGiessen added.

Since 2020

Tired of redesigning, retesting and recertifying its equipment for changing federal regulations regarding low-GWP refrigerants, the company established the PROGreen Solutions Team in 2020, dedicated to adopting natural refrigerants. In August 2022, Pro Refrigeration was awarded Danfoss’s 2022 EnVisioneer of the Year award for its PROGreen CO2 Chiller.

Last year the company installed CO2 chiller systems in a Californian dairy farm and an Alaskan brewery. In both cases, the end users traveled to Pro Refrigeration’s production facility in Mocksville, North Carolina, to learn about the system.

“To be involved as an owner and have an understanding of how the system operates and the fine-tuning, set the stage for a smooth commissioning,” said Christopher Jongsma, Owner of South Creek Dairy.

“Getting the opportunity to see the system at the factory allowed [us to] plan piping in the return and supply for the main process tie-ins and pre-piping for the heat recovery unit ahead of the equipment actually arriving,” said Duke Brandt, Service Manager at Arctic Refrigeration, who was involved in the installation of the unit in the village of Talkeetna, Alaska, for Denali Brewery and Spirits.

Established in 1990, Pro Refrigeration is headquartered in Auburn, Washington, and provides solutions for chilled fluids within a temperature range of -45 to 45°F (-42.8 to 7.2°C).

“Our new PROChiller uses a refrigerant that will never be phased out.”

Peter Barger, CEO, Southern Distilling