A method of inhibiting corrosion and the formation of hydrogen and thus improving absorption in an ammonia/water absorption refrigeration, air conditioning or heat pump system by maintaining the hydroxyl ion concentration of the aqueous ammonia working fluid within a selected range under anaerobic conditions at temperatures up to 425.degree. F. This hydroxyl ion concentration is maintained by introducing to the aqueous ammonia working fluid an inhibitor in an amount effective to produce a hydroxyl ion concentration corresponding to a normality of the inhibitor relative to the water content ranging from about 0.015 N to about 0.2 N at 25.degree. C. Also, working fluids for inhibiting the corrosion of carbon steel and resulting hydrogen formation and improving absorption in an ammonia/water absorption system under anaerobic conditions at up to 425.degree. F. The working fluids may be aqueous solutions of ammonia and a strong base or aqueous solutions of ammonia, a strong base, and a specified buffer.
This invention was made with Government support under contract 15X-17497C awarded by the United States Department of Energy. The United States Government has certain rights in this invention.