Energy Efficiency Improvements in Household Refrigeration Cooling Systems

University dissertation from Stockholm : KTH Royal Institute of Technology

Abstract: This thesis is based on eight articles all related to the characteristics of the cooling system and plate evaporator of a household refrigerator. Through these articles, knowledge is provided that can be used to increase the operational efficiency in household refrigeration. Papers A, B and C focus on heat transfer and pressure drop in a commonly used free convection evaporator – the plate evaporator. Applicable correlations are suggested on how to estimate the air side heat transfer, the refrigerant side pressure drop and the refrigerant side heat transfer. Papers D, E and F hold a unique experimental study of the refrigerant charge distribution in the cooling system at transient and steady state conditions. From this cyclic losses are identified and estimated and ways to overcome them are suggested. In paper G the topic “charging and throttling” is investigated in an unparalleled experimental study based on more than 600 data points at different quantities of charge and expansions device capacities. It results in recommendations on how to optimize the capillary tube length and the quantity of refrigerant charge. Finally, Paper H holds a thermographic study of the overall cooling system operating at transient conditions. Overall, a potential to lower the energy use by as much as 25 % was identified in the refrigerator studied. About 10 % was found on the evaporator’s air side. 1-2 % was identified as losses related to the edge effect of the evaporator plate. About 8 % was estimated to be cyclic losses. About 5 % was found in cycle length optimization.  It is believed that most of these findings are of general interest for the whole field of household refrigeration even though the results come from one type of refrigerator. Suggestions of simple means to reduce the losses without increasing the unit price are provided within the thesis

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