WO2012173934A1 - Cooling system with increased efficiency - Google Patents

Cooling system with increased efficiency Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2012173934A1
WO2012173934A1 PCT/US2012/041933 US2012041933W WO2012173934A1 WO 2012173934 A1 WO2012173934 A1 WO 2012173934A1 US 2012041933 W US2012041933 W US 2012041933W WO 2012173934 A1 WO2012173934 A1 WO 2012173934A1
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WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
evaporator
cooling system
compressor
system
cooling
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/US2012/041933
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Uwe Rockenfeller
Kaveh Khalili
Original Assignee
Rocky Research
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Priority to US13/160,208 priority Critical
Priority to US13/160,208 priority patent/US9160258B2/en
Application filed by Rocky Research filed Critical Rocky Research
Publication of WO2012173934A1 publication Critical patent/WO2012173934A1/en

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Classifications

    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F25REFRIGERATION OR COOLING; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS; MANUFACTURE OR STORAGE OF ICE; LIQUEFACTION SOLIDIFICATION OF GASES
    • F25DREFRIGERATORS; COLD ROOMS; ICE-BOXES; COOLING OR FREEZING APPARATUS NOT COVERED BY ANY OTHER SUBCLASS
    • F25D29/00Arrangement or mounting of control or safety devices
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F25REFRIGERATION OR COOLING; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS; MANUFACTURE OR STORAGE OF ICE; LIQUEFACTION SOLIDIFICATION OF GASES
    • F25DREFRIGERATORS; COLD ROOMS; ICE-BOXES; COOLING OR FREEZING APPARATUS NOT COVERED BY ANY OTHER SUBCLASS
    • F25D11/00Self-contained movable devices, e.g. domestic refrigerators
    • F25D11/02Self-contained movable devices, e.g. domestic refrigerators with cooling compartments at different temperatures
    • F25D11/022Self-contained movable devices, e.g. domestic refrigerators with cooling compartments at different temperatures with two or more evaporators
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F25REFRIGERATION OR COOLING; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS; MANUFACTURE OR STORAGE OF ICE; LIQUEFACTION SOLIDIFICATION OF GASES
    • F25BREFRIGERATION MACHINES, PLANTS OR SYSTEMS; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT-PUMP SYSTEMS
    • F25B2341/00Details of ejectors not being used as compression device; Details of flow restrictors or expansion valves
    • F25B2341/06Details of flow restrictors or expansion valves
    • F25B2341/065Electric expansion valves
    • F25B2341/0652Electric expansion valves being opened and closed cyclically, e.g. with pulse width modulation
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F25REFRIGERATION OR COOLING; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS; MANUFACTURE OR STORAGE OF ICE; LIQUEFACTION SOLIDIFICATION OF GASES
    • F25BREFRIGERATION MACHINES, PLANTS OR SYSTEMS; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT-PUMP SYSTEMS
    • F25B2500/00Problems to be solved
    • F25B2500/26Problems to be solved characterised by the startup of the refrigeration cycle
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F25REFRIGERATION OR COOLING; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS; MANUFACTURE OR STORAGE OF ICE; LIQUEFACTION SOLIDIFICATION OF GASES
    • F25BREFRIGERATION MACHINES, PLANTS OR SYSTEMS; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT-PUMP SYSTEMS
    • F25B2600/00Control issues
    • F25B2600/02Compressor control
    • F25B2600/025Compressor control by controlling speed
    • F25B2600/0251Compressor control by controlling speed with on-off operation
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F25REFRIGERATION OR COOLING; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS; MANUFACTURE OR STORAGE OF ICE; LIQUEFACTION SOLIDIFICATION OF GASES
    • F25BREFRIGERATION MACHINES, PLANTS OR SYSTEMS; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT-PUMP SYSTEMS
    • F25B2600/00Control issues
    • F25B2600/02Compressor control
    • F25B2600/025Compressor control by controlling speed
    • F25B2600/0253Compressor control by controlling speed with variable speed
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F25REFRIGERATION OR COOLING; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS; MANUFACTURE OR STORAGE OF ICE; LIQUEFACTION SOLIDIFICATION OF GASES
    • F25BREFRIGERATION MACHINES, PLANTS OR SYSTEMS; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT-PUMP SYSTEMS
    • F25B2700/00Sensing or detecting of parameters; Sensors therefor
    • F25B2700/17Speeds
    • F25B2700/171Speeds of the compressor
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F25REFRIGERATION OR COOLING; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS; MANUFACTURE OR STORAGE OF ICE; LIQUEFACTION SOLIDIFICATION OF GASES
    • F25BREFRIGERATION MACHINES, PLANTS OR SYSTEMS; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT-PUMP SYSTEMS
    • F25B2700/00Sensing or detecting of parameters; Sensors therefor
    • F25B2700/17Speeds
    • F25B2700/173Speeds of the evaporator fan
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y02TECHNOLOGIES OR APPLICATIONS FOR MITIGATION OR ADAPTATION AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE
    • Y02BCLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION TECHNOLOGIES RELATED TO BUILDINGS, e.g. HOUSING, HOUSE APPLIANCES OR RELATED END-USER APPLICATIONS
    • Y02B30/00Energy efficient heating, ventilation or air conditioning [HVAC]
    • Y02B30/70Efficient control or regulation technologies
    • Y02B30/72Electric or electronic refrigerant flow control
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y02TECHNOLOGIES OR APPLICATIONS FOR MITIGATION OR ADAPTATION AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE
    • Y02BCLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION TECHNOLOGIES RELATED TO BUILDINGS, e.g. HOUSING, HOUSE APPLIANCES OR RELATED END-USER APPLICATIONS
    • Y02B30/00Energy efficient heating, ventilation or air conditioning [HVAC]
    • Y02B30/70Efficient control or regulation technologies
    • Y02B30/74Technologies based on motor control
    • Y02B30/741Speed regulation of the compressor
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y02TECHNOLOGIES OR APPLICATIONS FOR MITIGATION OR ADAPTATION AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE
    • Y02BCLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION TECHNOLOGIES RELATED TO BUILDINGS, e.g. HOUSING, HOUSE APPLIANCES OR RELATED END-USER APPLICATIONS
    • Y02B40/00Technologies aiming at improving the efficiency of home appliances
    • Y02B40/30Technologies aiming at improving the efficiency of home appliances relating to refrigerators or freezers
    • Y02B40/32Motor speed control of compressors or fans

Abstract

A cooling system is disclosed. The cooling system may have an evaporator, an evaporator fan, a condenser, and at least one compressor. The compressor may be either a single speed or a variable speed compressor. In addition, the system can use a mechanical or electrical pulsed operation refrigerant flow control valve for controlling refrigerant flow to the evaporator.

Description

COOLING SYSTEM WITH INCREASED EFFICIENCY

RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 12/510,153 filed July 27, 2009 and claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Serial No. 61/436,565 filed January 26, 2011, both of which are hereby incorporated by reference in their entirety.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0002] This invention relates to cooling systems and more specifically to refrigeration systems.

BACKGROUND

[0003] Existing cooling systems generally have components including a compressor, a condenser, and an evaporator. In most systems, the compressor motor utilizes the majority of the energy as it starts up in order to provide the proper amount of cooling. However, repeatedly starting and running a compressor motor can be inefficient, because the start-up energy requirements of many compressor motors are high in comparison to the energy required to maintain the motor at a desired speed. In addition, the refrigeration system may not function at peak efficiency until the refrigerant pressure in the system increases to a certain target pressure because such systems use capillary tubing or other passive pressure reduction devices to move refrigerant to the evaporator. Because capillary tubing only allows a particular amount of refrigerant through at any given time, in some circumstances, the evaporator may be starved of refrigerant if the capillary piping cannot supply sufficient refrigerant to the evaporator. Conversely, during light loads, the capillary will provide too much refrigerant to the evaporator and may cause it to be flooded with refrigerant. Both evaporator starving and flooding reduce efficiency of the refrigeration system. Conventional modulating expansion valves are not employed as their poor response time and inaccurate superheat control only offers little advantage over the passive expansion devices, such as capillaries, orifice packs or porous plugs. In addition to the above energy efficiency and capacity deficiencies, flooding can result in liquid refrigerant entering the compressor, which can harm the compressor and reduce its life expectancy.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0004] Described herein is a cooling system. In some embodiments, the cooling system comprises at least one evaporator, at least one evaporator fan, and at least one constant speed compressor. In an embodiment, the system further comprises a refrigerant loop including piping for directing refrigerant from the at least one compressor to at least one condenser and from the at least one condenser to the at least one evaporator. In an embodiment, the system further comprises a pulsed operation refrigerant flow control valve for controlling refrigerant flow to the at least one evaporator and a control system connected to the at least one compressor and configured to manage start up and pull-down efficiency of the refrigerator.

[0005] Also disclosed herein is a cooling system. In some embodiments, the cooling system comprises at least one evaporator; at least one evaporator fan, and at least one variable speed compressor motor. In an embodiment, the system further comprises a refrigerant loop including piping for directing refrigerant from at least one compressor to at least one condenser and from the at least one condenser to the at least one evaporator. In an embodiment, the system further comprises a pulsed operation refrigerant flow control valve for controlling refrigerant flow to the at least one evaporator and a control system configured to vary the speed of the at least one compressor motor to increase efficiency of the cooling system.

[0006] Also disclosed herein is a method of controlling a cooling system. In an embodiment, the method comprises providing at least one evaporator fan, providing at least one single speed compressor motor, maintaining refrigerant fluid pressure within an evaporator using a pulsed operation refrigerant flow control valve, and controlling the on and off characteristics of the compressor motor to increase efficiency of the cooling system.

[0007] Also disclosed herein is a method of controlling a cooling system. In an embodiment, the method comprises providing at least one evaporator fan, providing at least one variable speed compressor motor, maintaining refrigerant fluid pressure within an evaporator using a pulsed operation refrigerant flow control valve, and controlling the speed of the compressor motor to increase efficiency of the cooling system.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0008] Figure 1A is a perspective view of a cooling system according to one embodiment.

[0009] Figure IB is a perspective view of a cooling system according to another embodiment.

[0010] Figure 2A is a block diagram illustrating a cooling system according to one embodiment

[0011] Figure 2B is a block diagram illustrating the cooling system module according to an embodiment.

[0012] Figure 3 is a flow diagram illustrating an overview of the control module. [0013] Figure 4 illustrates the advantages of using a pulsing TXV over a traditional capillary device.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0014] Embodiments of the invention relate to cooling systems, such as conventional refrigerators and freezers having increased thermal efficiency. In one embodiment, the cooling system utilizes a thermostatic expansion valve (TXV) in a cooling system with a constant speed compressor to increase energy efficiency and/or pull-down capacity. By using this combination of a constant speed compressor and TXV during the cooling systems' start-up, shut down and other varying conditions, cooling systems were found to exhibit increased efficiency in comparison to systems that do not employ the TXV as described below. In one embodiment, the TXV is a pulsing TXV wherein the valve controls refrigerant flow by pulsing the refrigerant through the cooling system piping.

[0015] Another embodiment is a cooling system that has a variable speed compressor and utilizes a TXV to increase operational efficiency of the system. In this embodiment, the speed of the variable speed compressor can be controlled in order to adapt the refrigeration capacity to the load and provide increased efficiency in the cooling system. As the system monitors and controls the speed of the compressor, the TXV, or pulsing TXV, maintains proper pressure within the cooling system so that the system runs efficiently in comparison to systems that do not have these elements. The pulsing TXV maintains constant superheat during all conditions including the transient conditions and maintains full use of the evaporator surfaces. For example, during start up, the system may run the compressor at a predetermined slower speed prior to ramping up the compressor speed up in order to save energy on start-up. In some cases, starting the compressor at full speed may require a very large initial current load in comparison to starting the compressor at an initial lower speed. Because the TXV allows the system to maintain sufficient pressure within the cooling system, even at lower compressor speeds, the system can start up and run very efficiently.

[0016] Fig. 1A is a perspective view of a cooling system 100 according to one embodiment. The cooling system may be a refrigerator, as illustrated in Fig. 1A, or any other system in which it is desirable to maintain a cool or cold temperature. In some embodiments, the cooling system 100 has components which include a compressor 102, a condenser 104, a condenser fan 106, an evaporator 108, and an evaporator fan 110. In some embodiments, the components are connected by a refrigerant loop. The refrigerant loop may be made of metal or plastic piping, or any material that allows refrigerant to flow between components. In an embodiment, the refrigerant loop connects the compressor 102 to the condenser 104, the condenser 104 to the evaporator 108, and the evaporator 108 to the compressor 102.

[0017] In an embodiment, a thermostatic expansion valve (TXV) 112 is positioned in the refrigerant loop between the condenser 104 and the evaporator 108 to maintain constant refrigerant pressure in the evaporator 108 despite changing refrigerant flow rates.

[0018] In an embodiment, the TXV 112 is a pulsed operation refrigerant control valve (pulsed TXV). The pulsed TXV may be a mechanical valve such as the type described in U.S. Patents Nos. 5,675,982 and 6,843,064, or an electrically operated valve of the type described in U.S. Patent No. 5,718,125, the descriptions of which are incorporated herein by reference in their entireties. By actively controlling refrigerant flow to the evaporator, efficiency is increased during a variety of cooling conditions and pull-down time may be reduced. Pulldown time is defined as the time required to bring the internal temperature of the cooling system down to a safe set point. Faster "pull-down" means less time to reach the safe set point temperature. The pull-down is directly related to the refrigerator's ability to maintain temperature within safe limits. Pull-down is also directly related to energy consumption because a fast pull-down results in a shorter period of time that the compressor is running.

[0019] In one embodiment, a mechanical pulsed TXV is used. A mechanical pulsed TXV is similar to that of conventional mechanical TXVs, except the valve pulses to control flow, rather than modulating the degree of plug opening. The valve may comprise a bulb that can be placed in the evaporator. When the bulb pressure reaches a set threshold, the diaphragm opens the inlet port and the valve cavity is pressurized. An outlet restriction may cause cavity pressure to rise above evaporator pressure, and the valve re-closes. The valve pulses in this manner until the evaporator cools and the bulb pressure decreases to the point where the diaphragm no longer opens the valve. Superheat can be adjusted by changing spring pressure and/or bulb charge. The outlet restriction may be several times the diameter of a capillary or orifice sized for the same application, and is large enough to be immune from plugging. The pulsing mechanism allows for precise refrigerant flow control and faster pull-down by maintaining an adequate amount of liquid refrigerant in the evaporator at all times, to prevent "starving" the evaporator. Traditional capillary or orifice devices are considerably less efficient because they are designed for a constant refrigerant flow during altering conditions and not designed for variable flow. Thus, traditional capillary or orifice devices usually do not allow enough liquid refrigerant to enter the evaporator, which "starves" the evaporator and increases pull-down time.

[0020] In one of embodiment of the invention, the compressor 102 comprises a single speed compressor motor. When a single speed compressor motor is used, the pulsed TXV increases energy efficiency and pull-down capacity during start-up and varying conditions including evaporator temperature and condenser temperature. In this embodiment, the pulldown time may be improved by up to 300%. In some embodiments, the pulsed TXV settings can be adjusted to either maximize pull-down improvement or energy efficiency. For example, the valve may be adjusted to yield a pull-down improvement of up to 50% and an energy efficiency improvement of 10 to 15% or a pull-down improvement of 25% and an energy efficiency improvement of 20%. Fig. 4 illustrates the advantages of using a pulsing TXV over a traditional capillary device.

[0021] In another embodiment, the compressor 102 comprises a variable speed compressor motor. The variable speed compressor motor can be any type of variable speed motor including three phase motors and single phase motors. When a three phase motor is used, a variable frequency drive (VFD) may be used to power the motor. Single phase and DC powered motors do not require a VFD and can be, for example, an electronically commutated motor (ECM). When a variable speed compressor motor is used, the pulsed TXV increases energy efficiency and pull-down capacity during start-up, shut down, varying conditions including evaporator temperature and condenser temperature, and during operation at different compressor speeds. Thus, the pulsed TXV facilitates the benefits of variable speed operation.

[0022] In some embodiments, the cooling system 100 has a power supply 114, and a control module 116. In an embodiment, the power supply 114 is a standard alternating current (AC) power supply with a direct current (DC) power converter, or a DC power supply. In an embodiment, the power supply 114 does not incorporate a variable frequency drive inverter (VFD).

[0023] In some embodiments, the cooling system 100 comprises two separate cooling chambers: a first cooling chamber 118 and a second cooling chamber 120. This is seen most readily in conventional refrigerator/freezer combination units, where a freezer unit is on top and a refrigerator is below. In this embodiment, the evaporator 108 is positioned in the first cooling chamber. The first cooling chamber 118 is connected to the second cooling chamber 120 through vents or a connecting port or tube 122 so that cool air flows from the evaporator, to the first cooling chamber, and from the first cooling chamber to the second cooling chamber. Refrigerator/freezer combinations may be configured as top mount freezers, bottom mount freezers, side-by-side configurations and other configurations known to those skilled in the art.

[0024] Figure IB illustrates a perspective view of another embodiment of a cooling unit that uses two separate cooling devices. In this embodiment, the cooling system 100 additionally comprises a second compressor 152, a second condenser 154, a second condenser fan 156, a second evaporator 158, a second evaporator fan 160, a second TXV 162. In some embodiments, the cooling system also comprises a second power supply 164 and a second control module 166. In an embodiment, the first evaporator 108 is located in the first cooling chamber 118, while the second evaporator 158 is located in the second cooling chamber 120. Thus, in this embodiment there is no need for connecting vents or ports, as each chamber has a separate cooling system.

[0025] Figure 2A is a block diagram illustrating a cooling system 100 according to one embodiment. The cooling system 100 comprises an AC power supply 202 and a DC power converter 204 connected to a control system 206. In an embodiment, the control system 206 comprises a cooling system module 208, a processor 210, and memory 212. Many types of processors and memory are well known in the art and may be readily selected by one of skill in the art. In one embodiment, the control system 206 provides control settings for the components of the cooling system 100, including, for example, the evaporator fan 214, condenser fan 216, and/or the compressor motor 218. In one embodiment, the control system 206 also provides power to the components of the cooling system 100. In another embodiment, the components may be powered by one or more separate power supplies.

[0026] Figure 2B is a block diagram illustrating the components of the cooling system module 208. In the illustrated embodiment, cooling system module 208 has a condenser fan control module 252, an evaporator fan control module 254, and a compressor motor control module 256.

[0027] Figure 3 is a flow diagram illustrating an overview of the operation of the control system module 208. In step 300, the control system module is started. The process then moves to configure the TXV parameters at step 302. The TXV parameters may be configured, for example, at the factory that builds the system or on site where the system is installed. The process then moves to read the compressor speed at step 304. The system may use the compressor motor control module 256 as part of this step. The process then reads the evaporator fan speed at step 306 using the evaporator fan control module 254 and then moves to read the temperature at step 308.

[0028] The process then moves to a decision step 310, wherein instructions in the control system module determine whether the target temperature has been reached. If the target temperature is reached, the process returns to step 304. If the target temperature has not been reached, the control module proceeds to decision step 312, where the control module determines whether to vary the compressor speed. If the control module determines that the compressor speed should be varied, the control module will send configuration data to the compressor at step 314, and then returns to step 308 to read the temperature again. If the control module determines that the compressor speed should not be varied, or in situations where a single speed compressor is used, the process moves to step 316, wherein instructions in the control module determine whether to vary the evaporator fan speed. If the control module determines that the evaporator fan speed should be varied, the control module proceeds to step 318, wherein either configuration data, or altered power settings are sent to the evaporator fan in order to control the evaporator fan speed. The process then returns to step 308, where the temperature is read again. If the control module determines that the evaporator fan speed should not be varied, the process proceeds to step 320, wherein instructions in the control module vary any other required system settings. The process then returns to step 308 to read the temperature again. The other settings may include any other settings such as condenser fan speed, or any other setting for any component that could be used to alter the temperature.

[0029] Also disclosed herein, is a method of configuring a cooling system. In some embodiments, the method comprises providing at least one evaporator fan, providing at least one single speed compressor motor, maintaining refrigerant fluid pressure within an evaporator using a pulsed operation refrigerant flow control valve, and controlling the on and off characteristics of the compressor motor to increase efficiency of the cooling system. In one embodiment, controlling the on and off characteristics comprises controlling the compressor motor to increase the pull-down rate of the cooling system. In one embodiment, the method relates to connecting the at least one evaporator to a first cooling chamber and connecting the first cooling chamber to a second cooling chamber. In another embodiment, the method relates to connecting a first evaporator to a first cooling chamber and connecting a second evaporator to a second cooling chamber.

[0030] Also disclosed herein, is a method of configuring a cooling system. In some embodiments, the method includes providing at least one evaporator fan, providing at least one variable speed compressor motor, maintaining refrigerant fluid pressure within an evaporator using a pulsed operation refrigerant flow control valve, and controlling the speed of the compressor motor to increase efficiency of the cooling system. In one embodiment, the variable speed compressor may be a single phase compressor. Single phase compressors may include, for example, electronically commutated (ECM) motors. In some embodiments, the method further comprises connecting the at least one evaporator to a first cooling chamber and connecting the first cooling chamber to a second cooling chamber. In an embodiment, the method further comprises connecting a first evaporator to a first cooling chamber and connecting a second evaporator to a second cooling chamber. Example 1

Pull-Down Tests With Household Refrigerators

[0031] A refrigerator is an insulated cabinet with an electric compressor which cycles a refrigerant fluid, where by evaporation of refrigerant liquid in the evaporator the refrigerator cools down. When the door is opened, the cold air falls out to be replaced by warm air in the room, which triggers the compressor to start and to circulate the refrigerant liquid and cool down the internal temperature and keep the food safe. The time required to bring the refrigerator internal temperature down to a safe set point is defined as "pull-down", so faster "pull-down" means shorter period to reach the safe set point temperature. The pull-down is directly related to the refrigerator's ability to cope with the heat loss without food safety risks. It is also directly related to the energy consumption and energy rating of the refrigerator, as fast pull-down results in shorter period the compressor is on and consumes electricity.

[0032] In this example, a Pulsing Thermal Expansion Valve was used, wherein the valve pulses to control flow, rather than modulating the degree of plug opening. When the bulb pressure calls for refrigerant flow, the diaphragm opens the inlet port and the valve cavity is pressurized. An outlet restriction causes cavity pressure to rise above evaporator pressure, and the valve immediately re-closes. The valve continuously pulses in this manner until the evaporator cools and the bulb pressure decreases to the point where the diaphragm no longer opens the valve. Like any thermal expansion valve, superheat is adjustable by changing spring pressure and/or bulb charge. The outlet restriction is several times the diameter of a capillary or orifice sized for the same application, and is large enough to be immune from plugging. The pulsing mechanism allows for precise refrigerant flow control and faster pull down is possible as the evaporator is kept full of liquid refrigerant during the period of pull-down.

[0033] In this example, a 30 cubic foot side-by-side refrigerator/freezer combination was tested using standard capillary piping or piping with a pulsing thermal expansion valve. The pull-down was improved by more than 300% when using a pulsing TXV in the system as shown in the Figure 4. The freezer compartment reached the 0°F target in 180 minutes in the absence of a thermal expansion valves. In contrast, in systems with the pulsing TXV the freezer compartment temperature reached the 0°F target temperature in less than 60 minutes.

[0034] Depending on the size and type of the refrigerator the improvement in pulldown can be from 25% to more than 300%.

[0035] While the above detailed description has shown, described, and pointed out novel features as applied to various embodiments, it will be understood that various omissions, substitutions, and changes in the form and details of the devices and processes illustrated may be made by those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit of the invention. As will be recognized, the present invention may be embodied within a form that does not provide all of the features and benefits set forth herein, as some features may be used or practiced separately from others. Moreover, it is to be understood that the power supply system described above for use in an HVAC/R system may be configured as an air conditioner, chiller, heat pump or refrigeration system, but is not limited thereto.

Claims

WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:
1. A cooling system having at least one cooling chamber, comprising:
at least one evaporator;
at least one evaporator fan;
at least one constant speed compressor;
a refrigerant loop including piping for directing refrigerant from at least one compressor to at least one condenser and from the at least one condenser to the at least one evaporator;
a pulsed operation refrigerant flow control valve for controlling refrigerant flow to the at least one evaporator; and
a control system connected to the at least one compressor and configured to manage start up and pull-down efficiency of the refrigerator.
2. The cooling system of Claim 1, wherein the control system is configured to control the speed of the evaporator fan.
3. The cooling system of Claim 1, wherein the pulsed operation refrigerant flow control valve is controlled mechanically.
4. The cooling system of Claim 1, wherein the pulsed operation refrigerant flow control valve is controlled electrically.
5. The cooling system of Claim 1, wherein managing said pull-down efficiency comprises reducing pull-down time.
6. The cooling system of Claim 1, wherein the system comprises a freezer section.
7. The cooling system of Claim 6, wherein the cooling system has one compressor for a refrigerator section and one compressor for the freezer section.
8. A cooling system, comprising:
at least one evaporator;
at least one evaporator fan;
at least one variable speed compressor motor;
a refrigerant loop including piping for directing refrigerant from at least one compressor to the at least one condenser and from the at least one condenser to the at least one evaporator;
a pulsed operation refrigerant flow control valve for controlling refrigerant flow to the at least one evaporator; and
a control system configured to vary the speed of the at least one compressor motor to increase efficiency of the cooling system.
9. The cooling system of Claim 8, wherein the control system is configured to control the speed of the at least one evaporator fan.
10. The cooling system of Claim 9, wherein the variable speed compressor is a single phase variable speed compressor.
11. The cooling system of Claim 10, wherein the single phase variable speed compressor is an electronically commutated motor.
12. The cooling system of Claim 8, wherein increasing efficiency comprises reducing pull-down time.
13. The cooling system of Claim 8, wherein the cooling system is a refrigerator/freezer combination system.
14. The cooling system of Claim 13, wherein the cooling system has one compressor for the refrigerator section and one compressor for the freezer section.
15. A method of controlling a cooling system, comprising:
providing at least one evaporator fan;
providing at least one single speed compressor motor;
maintaining refrigerant fluid pressure within an evaporator using a pulsed operation refrigerant flow control valve; and
controlling the on and off characteristics of the compressor motor to increase efficiency of the cooling system.
16. The method of Claim 15, wherein controlling the on and off characteristics comprises controlling the compressor motor to increase the pull-down rate of the cooling system.
17. The method of Claim 15, further comprising connecting the at least one evaporator to a first cooling chamber and connecting the first cooling chamber to a second cooling chamber.
18. The method of Claim 15, further comprising connecting a first evaporator to a first cooling chamber and connecting a second evaporator to a second cooling chamber.
19. A method of controlling a cooling system, the method comprising:
providing at least one evaporator fan;
providing at least one variable speed compressor motor;
maintaining refrigerant fluid pressure within an evaporator using a pulsed operation refrigerant flow control valve; and
controlling the speed of the compressor motor to increase efficiency of the cooling system.
20. The method of Claim 19, wherein the variable speed compressor is a single phase variable speed compressor.
21. The method of Claim 20, wherein the single phase variable speed compressor is an electronically commutated motor.
22. The method of Claim 19, further comprising connecting the at least one evaporator to a first cooling chamber and connecting the first cooling chamber to a second cooling chamber.
23. The method of Claim 19, further comprising connecting a first evaporator to a first cooling chamber and connecting a second evaporator to a second cooling chamber.
PCT/US2012/041933 2009-07-27 2012-06-11 Cooling system with increased efficiency WO2012173934A1 (en)

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US13/160,208 US9160258B2 (en) 2009-07-27 2011-06-14 Cooling system with increased efficiency

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Citations (5)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US5255530A (en) * 1992-11-09 1993-10-26 Whirlpool Corporation System of two zone refrigerator temperature control
US5463876A (en) * 1994-04-04 1995-11-07 General Electric Company Control system for refrigerant metering solenoid valve
US5675982A (en) * 1996-04-26 1997-10-14 Rocky Research Pulsed operation control valve
US6058729A (en) * 1998-07-02 2000-05-09 Carrier Corporation Method of optimizing cooling capacity, energy efficiency and reliability of a refrigeration system during temperature pull down
US7795827B2 (en) * 2008-03-03 2010-09-14 Young-Chun Jeung Control system for controlling motors for heating, ventilation and air conditioning or pump

Patent Citations (5)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US5255530A (en) * 1992-11-09 1993-10-26 Whirlpool Corporation System of two zone refrigerator temperature control
US5463876A (en) * 1994-04-04 1995-11-07 General Electric Company Control system for refrigerant metering solenoid valve
US5675982A (en) * 1996-04-26 1997-10-14 Rocky Research Pulsed operation control valve
US6058729A (en) * 1998-07-02 2000-05-09 Carrier Corporation Method of optimizing cooling capacity, energy efficiency and reliability of a refrigeration system during temperature pull down
US7795827B2 (en) * 2008-03-03 2010-09-14 Young-Chun Jeung Control system for controlling motors for heating, ventilation and air conditioning or pump

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