In 2015, the RedRock Brewing Company asked Commercial Refrigeration Services (CRS) – a Johannesburg-based manufacturer of CO2 heat pumps and chillers based in Johannesburg – about the possibility of installing a 100% natural refrigerant-based system for the new microbrewery in Linbro Park, Johannesburg.

Rising to the challenge, CRS proposed a CO2 chiller system. The technology is not only environmentally friendly but also highly cost-effective in terms of energy efficiency. The system was commissioned in June 2016.

“We were very excited and of course didn’t think twice to jump at this opportunity,” Wynand Groenewald, head of engineering at CRS, told HVAC&R Online, which reports on the African market.

“We were thrilled to have an end user like RedRock Brewing who values the implementation of natural solutions within an industrial application — they truly set an example that the rest of the industry can be proud of.”

Features of the system:

  • Cooling capacity: from 31kW to 174kW
  • Evaporating temperature: -6°C
  • Water supply temperature: -4°C
  • Three Bitzer compressors
  • Danfoss controls
  • A variable speed drive for energy efficiency
  • Capacity control

A small cold room is also operated by the chiller system. Heat reclaimed from the chiller is also used during the brewing process.

“With all our achievements concerning CO2 refrigeration and breaking boundaries within this industry, we value the implementation of the first CO2 chiller as one of our major achievements in taking CO2 to a different industry,” Groenewald told HVAC&R Online.

He continued: “CRS is hoping that this will be the first of many CO2 chiller applications. There has been a lot of interest shown from visitors to the brewery and we are confident that CO2 used for chiller applications will gain more traction after the successful implementation of the first one in Africa.”

Author Pilar Aleu