Process Cooling: Mechanical Or Cryogenic Cooling?

When it comes to industrial cooling, there are two main forms. The first is mechanical cooling, and the second is cryogenic. Each has its own benefits and disadvantages, listed below. 

What Are the Benefits of Mechanical Cooling?

There are a number of benefits of mechanical cooling, which include the following:

  1. With mechanical cooling, it's not necessary to have liquid nitrogen or liquid carbon dioxide at the ready. 
  2. If it doesn't matter how fast the item cools, then mechanical refrigeration can slowly lower the temperature over time.
  3. If spent carbon dioxide or nitrogen could be a danger to workers, then mechanical refrigeration is a better option. 

What Are the Disadvantages of Mechanical Cooling? 

Mechanical cooling has a few disadvantages.

  1. The ability of the refrigerator to reduce temperatures is related to the temperature it currently is and the current temperature of the evaporation unit. If the temperatures are approaching maximum or are at the limits of the system, then the unit could fail or take substantially longer to reach the cooling level you need. 
  2. The cooling chamber is more expensive than a cryogenic chamber. 

What Are the Benefits of Cryogenic Cooling?

Cryogenic cooling systems have a number of benefits.

  1. They reduce the need for a compressor. The coolant itself does all the necessary processes in a cryogenic system.
  2. Cryogenic cooling produces extreme temperatures when necessary. For example, liquid nitrogen can get as cold as -320°F. If it's boiling, it reaches -346°F.
  3. Liquid nitrogen and liquid carbon dioxide both come from the atmosphere. When they are exhausted, they simply return to the atmosphere with no ill effects. 
  4. Neither carbon dioxide or nitrogen are poisonous to humans.
  5. It's less expensive to move the cooling unit for a cryogenic freezer than a mechanical freezer. 
  6. Cryogenic cooling chambers are less expensive than mechanical cooling chambers. 

What Are the Disadvantages of Using Cryogenic Cooling?

There are also a number of disadvantages to consider before purchasing a cryogenic system.

  1. There are few health risks when it comes to using liquid nitrogen or liquid carbon dioxide, but they can cause headaches or dizziness. Usually, there will be no ill effects from this, but the two can displace oxygen in a closed room, so the unit needs to be vented to the outside. 
  2. Cryogenic cooling is best for short-term, quick cooling. It is less cost effective than mechanical cooling when used in the long term. 

These are just some of the disadvantages and advantages of mechanical and cryogenic cooling. Consider the options, and you'll find what works best for your company. Click here to find out more information.