CASE STUDY: PN.3383.01.22

Multinational Pharmaceutical Specialist Engages ASED Consulting International to Provide Detailed Design and Consulting Services for Facility Electrification

Client: Confidential
Sector: Pharmaceutical
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Site Type: Brownfield
Process Heating System: Ammonia based (NH3 – R717) Heat Pump System
Configuration: Centralised Packages
Commissioned: 2022
Job Number: P.3383.01.22

Hydrocarbon Chiller

Consulting Services Provided:

  1. Detailed Design & Documentation – Ammonia (NH3) Heat Pump System
  2. Ammonia based (NH3 – R717) Heat Pump Plant and Equipment Specification
  3. Electrical & Controls Specification


ASED Consulting Engineers International was engaged to provide engineering and design specification services for a brownfield pharmaceutical facility located in Brisbane, Australia. The client advised that they required specialist advice for electrifying parts of their manufacturing facility. Mainly transitioning from gas fired boilers to energy efficient heat pump systems.

The client was advised of synthetic based refrigerant heat pumps, and as such queried ASED on the energy efficiency which could be attained by such a system.

ASED advised that a wholistic design approach is best suited for the project, as such ASED considered, energy efficiency, return on investment, required heating capacity, future heating capacity, the clients’ strategic goals in electrifying and decarbonising the facility, based on these considerations ASED proposed to model three system types so the client could make an informed decision into which system would be the most appropriate for their facility.

Systems included:

  • Ammonia refrigerant based heat pump systems.
  • Hydrocarbon refrigerant based heat pump systems, and
  • Low GWP synthetic refrigerant-based heat pump systems.

Once the task of advanced simulation and modelling was undertaken on the three system types, it quickly became evident that the Low GWP system would not be considered any further. Ammonia as the primary refrigerant was selected due to the superior energy efficiency of ammonia-based heat pump process heating systems.

The client was impressed with the high thermal efficiency and capacities of ammonia systems, whereby only two packages were required to replace four of the existing gas fired boilers.

Existing Equipment:

The existing facility was serviced by inferior energy intensive heated hot water heating equipment, as follows:

  • High temperature – Gas fired boilers. (x4)

The Process:

The existing gas-fired boilers and associated equipment would need to be in service whilst the upgrades took place within the facility. To minimise disruption the changeover and commissioning process was undertaken over a weekend. The changeover and commissioning works were managed by ASED, ensuring a streamlined process.

The Requirements:

  • One ammonia to water heat pump system, design with 100.0% redundancy.
  • Fluid pumping stations.
  • Fluid reticulation piping network design.
  • One thermal energy storage (TES) systems.

Gas-fired boilers, and other types of boilers are heavily oversized in industry. This is due in part to the low capital expenditure required to purchase such equipment. ASED undertook careful monitoring of the gas-fired boilers during operation.

The newly designed and implemented ammonia heat pump system provides a heating capacity of 1,200.00kW with 100.0% redundancy, the system has been integrated with a Thermal Energy Storage (TES) system to provide additional capacity when required on peak operational days.

The system is highly energy efficient, as a result ASED are working on additional electrification projects for the same client across Australia.


ASED Consulting provided theoretical and practical training which covered:

  • Introduction to Ammonia vapour compression systems:
    • Primary system components.
    • High- and low-pressure sides.
    • Basic system operations.
  • Working safely with Ammonia refrigerant based systems:
    • Risk management.
    • Hazard and risk control measures.
    • Safe handling of ammonia and system oil.
  • System startup and shutdown procedures.
  • First startup.
  • Emergency procedures.
  • Testing and commissioning.
  • Reactive and proactive maintenance.

System Commissioning:

ASED assisted the client’s mechanical service provider with full heat pump, connected loads, and control system commissioning, ensuring the highest level of total plant energy efficiency and operation.

Quick View – Refrigeration System and Heat Pump System Capacities:

Nominated Plant


  • Centralised Ammonia heated hot water heat pump system.


  • Full digital system integration into existing PLC – HMI equipment.

Heating Duty:

  • Process heating:           1,200.00 kWH @ 65.0°C
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