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Research Papers

Development of Test Protocol for Direct Evaporative Condenser Air Precoolers

[+] Author and Article Information
Theresa E. Pistochini

Associate Development Engineer
Western Cooling Efficiency Center,
University of California,
1 Shields Avenue,
Davis, CA 95616
e-mail: tepistochini@ucdavis.edu

Perry L. Young

Assistant Development Engineer
Western Cooling Efficiency Center,
University of California,
1 Shields Avenue,
Davis, CA 95616
e-mail: plyoung@ucdavis.edu

Mark P. Modera

Professor
Civil and Environmental Engineering,
Western Cooling Efficiency Center,
University of California,
1 Shields Avenue,
Davis, CA 95616;
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering,
Western Cooling Efficiency Center,
University of California,
1 Shields Avenue,
Davis, CA 95616
e-mail: mpmodera@ucdavis.edu

Manuscript received April 11, 2013; final manuscript received August 30, 2013; published online December 10, 2013. Assoc. Editor: Jovica R. Riznic.

J. Thermal Sci. Eng. Appl 6(2), 021007 (Dec 10, 2013) (11 pages) Paper No: TSEA-13-1068; doi: 10.1115/1.4025569 History: Received April 11, 2013; Revised August 30, 2013

Evaporative precoolers for air-cooled condensing units have been demonstrated to reduce electricity demand and save energy, particularly in arid climates. However, no objective, standardized test data for these products exists in the United States, making it difficult for end-users and utilities to evaluate expected performance prior to purchase and installation. This paper proposes a test protocol for evaporative precoolers installed on condensing units up to 70 kW, and then executes the protocol using three precooling products designed for residential split system air conditioners. Several methods of evaluating performance are compared and a method called the equivalent performance method is proposed. Without direct measurements, the method determines the equivalent temperature reduction of the condenser inlet air due to the precooler. While the performance of the products tested was poor, the products were selected based on convenience and are not expected to be representative of the market.

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References

Figures

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Fig. 1

Spray mechanics for three precooler retrofits tested

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Fig. 2

Measurements for precooler testing apparatus

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Fig. 3

Power baseline and test data for precooler B

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Fig. 4

Power baseline and test data for precoolers A and C

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Fig. 5

COP baseline and test data for precooler B

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Fig. 6

COP baseline and test data for precoolers A and C

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Fig. 7

COP increase versus wet bulb depression

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Fig. 8

Illustration of using exhaust and ambient conditions to calculate post precool condition

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Fig. 9

Process for calculating TDB,eq

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Fig. 10

Evaporative effectiveness calculated with four methods versus wet bulb depression for precooler A

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Fig. 11

Evaporative effectiveness calculated with four methods versus wet bulb depression for precooler B

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Fig. 12

Evaporative effectiveness calculated with four methods versus wet bulb depression for precooler C

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