ITCL, within a research area on Energy Efficiency and Sustainability – Energy Models, inaugurates a new pilot industrial refrigeration plant, which will serve as a test base for the development of R&D projects in the area, as well as a technological demonstrator at the service of the industry.

In this way, ITCL reinforces its position as a leading technology center in industrial refrigeration facilities, completing his already wide range of services in this field of industry.

Installation description
It is a pioneering installation, above all, due to the great versatility of this operation, since it can work with different configurations:

  • With a screw compressor or piston compressor.
  • Both compressors with or without variation.
  • Water condensation or air condensation.
  • Different demand scenarios (adjustable in the freezing chamber and in the buffer tank).


Laboratory of tests / validation of R + D + i projects

The initial objective of the pilot industrial refrigeration plant is to serve as an auxiliary facility for testing and validating developments in ITCL’s Energy Efficiency and Sustainability – Energy Models area.

In this area, ITCL has been working on the Industrial Refrigeration Expert Supervision and Control System for more than 5 years (include link).

Through this system, which starts from the realization of a digital model of the installation (digital twin), average savings of 13% have been achieved in electricity consumption for the production of cold, thanks to the automatic adjustment, and in real time, of the main parameters of the installation (setpoints), seeking, at all times, the working point that improves the energy efficiency of the installation.

With this new pilot plant, ITCL will achieve:

  • Validate the behavior of the mathematical models developed, evolve and improve them.
  • Validate the automatic control strategies already implemented and develop new control strategies for scenarios with different working conditions.
  • Develop new lines of improvement of the tool based on new needs detected.
  • Check Artificial Intelligence algorithms.
  • Check abnormal situations and check the response of the automatic control.

Specialized training in refrigeration facilities

The new pilot plant also complements the ITCL Training area, from which both tailor-made courses for each company and general courses open to the enrollment of interested professionals are taught.

In this way, the pilot plant will become part, as a facility at the service of the student, of the courses taught by ITCL, reinforcing their practical orientation.

In the area of ​​industrial refrigeration, ITCL imparts as a training entity authorized by the General Directorate of Industry of the Junta de Castilla y León, the training programs PF1 and PF2 provided for in RD 115/2017, which regulates the certification of professionals who use fluorinated gases and the technical requirements are established for facilities that carry out activities that emit said gases:

  • Complementary course on handling equipment with refrigeration systems of any load of fluorinated refrigerants (30h).
  • Basic course on handling equipment of refrigeration systems of any load of fluorinated refrigerants (90h).

Obtaining, once the training has been completed and the final evaluation has been passed, the corresponding personal certificate, which enables its holder to exercise or maintain industrial facilities.

Additionally, ITCL offers courses tailored to each company for technical training in industrial refrigeration facilities for operators and / or middle managers.

In all of them, theoretical training will be completed with practical training using the ITCL pilot plant as a test facility, with exercises such as:

  • Verification of the operation of a compressor
  • Verification of the operation of a capacitor
  • Verification of the operation of an evaporator
  • Verification of the operation of a VET
  • Verification of the operation of accessories: liquid tank, filter drier, oil separator, solenoid valves, etc.
  • Construction of a watertight welded pipeline
  • Assembly of a refrigeration installation composed of a compressor, condenser, evaporator, expansion valve, liquid tank, filter drier and liquid sight glass.
  • Verification of leaks.
  • Filling the installation with refrigerant gas: by charge, by pressure gauge and thermometer, by thermometers
  • Verification of the efficiency of the installation
  • Refrigerant gas recovery
  • Dismantling of the facility

Visit the pilot plant

Technology demonstrator (as an industrial refrigeration facility)

Likewise, the pilot plant will be at the service of all those companies to which it can add value as a technological demonstrator of industrial refrigeration installations. In this way, both the final industry and installers, maintainers and engineering companies will be able to use the plant for, among other functions:

  • Computer-aided simulation of refrigeration systems. The software used allows us to analyze the isolated behavior of each component of the installation, as well as once the refrigeration system has been defined from a library of components, it will allow us to modify the different parameters or the configuration and see their incidence, for example.
  • Comparative analysis of different solutions based on energy efficiency criteria. The pilot plant + ITCL models allow to analyze and quantify the real improvements that certain actions represent on a certain plant (high efficiency motors / variators / increased condensation capacity, …)
  • Validator of new probes or specific instrumentation. The pilot plant incorporates a steam quality probe, recently commercialized, which makes it possible to quantify the quality of the humid steam and, with it, to know the actual cold consumption by each consumer. Likewise, it will allow the testing or validation of any other equipment or instrument, prior to its installation in the factory itself.
  • Definition of new refrigeration cost indicators linked to production, which take into account the different consumption scenarios, aimed at achieving greater control of energy costs by product type and even production planning aimed at minimizing energy costs global.

Technological demonstrator (at the service of industry 4.0)

Finally, the pilot plant, as an industrial facility that it is, will serve as a demonstrator and validator of many of the other enabling technologies that ITCL develops jointly with the companies. Among others, work is currently being done on:

  • Training through Virtual Reality. Any installation can be simulated in Virtual Reality, to later offer the operators operation and maintenance exercises in Virtual Reality. Mainly oriented to high-risk facilities, difficult to access or for operations with special complexity or high recurrence. ITCL has developed a 3D model of the pilot plant, on which to interact with predefined exercises on VR.
  • Remote Assistance through Augmented and Mixed Reality. ITCL is working on a project to provide remote maintenance assistance through augmented and mixed reality, currently in the validation phase of the pilot plant. The system will allow the technician to view information about the installation in augmented reality, access manuals and have a direct connection remotely with third parties. In this way, from the remote position you can see exactly what the technician sees and tell him with instructions in augmented reality what to do.
  • Localized access to information. Direct access from the equipment (via QR codes) to the CMMS system, the company’s energy management system or the ITCL expert control system (main indicators, latest incidents, equipment behavior graphs, …)
  • Predictive Maintenance. Validation of predictive maintenance algorithms.