Experimental Analysis of Variable Capacity Heat Pump Systems equipped with a liquid-cooled frequency inverter
- Publisher: KTH, Tillämpad termodynamik och kylteknik
inverter-driven compressor | liquid-cooled inverter | variable capacity heat pump | variable speed compressor
Using an inverter-driven compressor in variable capacity heat pump systems has a main drawback, which is the extra loss in the inverter. The present experimental study aims to recover the inverter losses by using brine-cooled and water-cooled inverters, thereby improving the total efficiency of the heat pump system. In order to achieve this goal, a test rig with the air-cooled, water-cooled and brine-cooled inverters is designed and built, and a comparative analysis of the recovered heat, inverter losses and system performance is conducted when the compressor is driven by the water-cooled, brine-cooled and air-cooled inverters at three different switching frequencies for each inverter. The experimental results show that the inverter losses as a magnitude and as a ratio of the total consumed power are lowest in the brine-cooled inverter and highest in the air-cooled one at all the compressor speeds and all the inverter switching frequencies. Moreover, the recovered energy varies between 45 and 125 (W) in the water-cooled inverter, which corresponds to 63 and 69 (%) of the inverter losses; while it varies between 61 and 139 (W) in the brine-cooled inverter, which corresponds to 79 and 90 (%) of the inverter losses. It is also proved that the improvement of the system coefficient of performance (COPsys) is almost the same when the water-cooled or the brine-cooled inverter is used and varies between 0.54 and 3 (%) in comparison with using the air-cooled one. Indeed, the total isentropic efficiency of the compressor is improved slightly when using the water-cooled inverter and little more when using the brine-cooled one at the same running conditions. In addition, the total isentropic efficiency of the compressor is improved by increasing the inverter switching frequency when any of the inverters is used. The experimental results also show that cooling the inverter by the water, which comes out from the condenser, increases the maximum temperature of the base plate of the inverter about 10 °C which could cause a two-fold deterioration in the inverter median life in comparison with cooling the inverter by air. On the contrary, using the brine for cooling the inverter decreases the maximum temperature of the base plate of the inverter about 30 °C which could cause about a six-fold improvement in the inverter median life.
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