Ammonia: knowing the rules

The safety centrality in the NH3 management is clear to players and institutions
The safety centrality in the NH3 management is clear to players and institutions

Ammonia is a challenging refrigerating gas: high cooling performance but as high toxicity and flammability. It is considered the winning solution in many situations where the plant sizes and the efficiency pursuit join each other to create the convenience of adopting a complex solution that can however counterbalance its complexity with notable, also economic, benefits in the medium-long term.

Due to these physical and economic reasons and the boost to the use of alternative refrigerants to fluorinated ones that the current and future regulation is causing, it is therefore necessary to know this refrigerant and to use it pursuant the regulation: already in the spring 2022, this assessment gave birth to a training project aimed at the achievement of the toxic gas licence developed within the Technical Scientific Committee of Assofrigoristi and coordinated by Mario Scuderi, plant engineer and manufacturer with broad expertise in the use of this refrigerant in high-profile industrial applications.

To accomplish this project, they have identified an external training resource in the person of the engineer Gianandrea Manzelli, who in strict collaboration with Scuderi has drawn up a committing training programme, which currently has already been delivered in three sessions with the involvement of thirty technicians in all and which has given interesting outcomes.

«We would like to have the certainty that the training programmes we have set up are really useful to all course attendants who then will take the exam: we have no ambition (and it is neither in the Association’s spirit nor in the practical feasibility) to assure that the participation in our course determines passing the exam, each single candidate learns notions and working methods, but he plays his game in front of the commission and Assofrigoristi can help him in his training, but to help him we would need uniformity of evaluation scheme on a national scale –Scuderi and Manzelli underline – to give higher meaning to training and more continuity among training, exam and regulation application».
The sensation is that the examination model is not set up to assess competences, but knowledge that is perhaps of secondary importance versus the necessary know-how to operate under conditions of protection of workers and of the operational context where they move.

Moreover, each local Technical Commission of the various ASL or ATS proposes different exam modalities and there is not a constant scheme, with quite paradoxical consequences that precisely range from the application of criteria in which the formal, and not the substantial knowledge, prevails as priority for the rating of the candidate, to a methodological confusion in setting up the education.

The hope is sitting around a table to work at this instance, to give room and more serene use to a refrigerant that contains winning characteristics from both the economic and technical point of view, but whose use is hindered by the absence of diffused culture and of constant rules of access to its handling licence.