Optimizing chiller operation based on finite-time thermodynamics: Universal modeling and experimental confirmation

J. M. Gordon*, K. C. Ng, H. T. Chua

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations

Abstract

The efficiency of chillers (refrigeration and heat pump devices) is limited by the dissipation from their principal components: compressor, throttler, and heat exchangers at the condenser and evaporator. Developing a generalized finite-time thermodynamics model for reciprocating chillers, we derive analytic formulae for how the fixed finite resources of cycle time and heat exchanger inventory should be allocated so as to optimize chiller performance. Our predictions for optimal operating schemes are compared with detailed experimental data from two different commercial chillers. The agreement between theory and actual performance data attests to the empirical wisdom that has evolved in chiller manufacture. Besides quantitatively documenting the individual sources of irreversibility, we show how the limitations of currently-available chiller components affect optimal chiller design, as well as how potential steps to improve chiller efficiency can be evaluated within a universal thermodynamic framework.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-200
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Refrigeration
Volume20
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Component
  • Optimization
  • Performance
  • Simulation
  • Thermodynamics
  • Water cooler

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Mechanical Engineering

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