Research Papers

A Gray-Box Based Virtual SCFM Meter in Rooftop Air-Conditioning Units

[+] Author and Article Information
Daihong Yu

Department of Architectural Engineering, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, PKI Room 245, 1110 South 67th Street, Omaha, NE 68182daisy.yu926@gmail.com

Haorong Li

Department of Architectural Engineering, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, PKI Room 101F, 1110 South 67th Street, Omaha, NE 68182hli3@unl.edu

Yuebin Yu

Center for Building Performance and Diagnostics, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Avenue, MMCH 415, Pittsburgh, PA 15213yuebinyu@cmu.edu

J. Thermal Sci. Eng. Appl 3(1), 011005 (Apr 01, 2011) (7 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4003702 History: Received January 11, 2011; Revised February 20, 2011; Published April 01, 2011; Online April 01, 2011

Knowledge of supply airflow rate (SCFM) measurement in packaged rooftop air-conditioning units (RTUs) is vital for improving energy management and indoor air quality and facilitating real-time automated control and fault detection and diagnosis. Despite the importance of SCFM measurement in RTUs, the conventional SCFM metering devices are very vulnerable. The credibility of SCFM measurement would be compromised dramatically after a long-term use in adverse duct work surroundings. Moreover, application of conventional SCFM meters in RTUs is very costly in regard to procurement, installation, and periodic maintenance. A cost-effective and accurate nonconventional first principles based SCFM meter in RTUs was proposed previously to virtually monitor SCFM measurement. In order to overcome the deficiencies of the first principles based virtual SCFM meter in model implementation and fault diagnostics, experiments with a wider combination and coverage are investigated in this study. It is found that a gray-box based virtual SCFM meter can be obtained with available system information (outside air damper status) and low-cost temperature measurements (direct measurement of a manufacturer-installed supply air temperature sensor (SATmfr,meas) and outside air temperature). Further experiment evaluations demonstrate that the gray-box based virtual SCFM meter could predict the true value of SCFM very accurately (the uncertainty is ±5.9%) with significantly enhanced applicability in model implementation and capability in fault diagnostics. Additionally, the gray-box based virtual SCFM meter also inherits good characteristics of the first principles based virtual SCFM meter, such as high cost-effectiveness, good robustness against variations in multivariable operating conditions, and applicability to similar RTUs. This innovative virtual meter could serve as a permanent monitoring tool to indicate real-time SCFM measurement and/or to automatically detect and diagnose an improper quantity of SCFM for RTUs.

Copyright © 2011 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

Modeling and implementation procedures for a first principles virtual SCFM meter in RTUs

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Figure 2

Experimental result investigation

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Figure 3

The range of eval for Hstage 1 and Hstage 2

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Figure 4

An implementation flowchart of a gray-box based virtual SCFM meter

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Figure 5

Illustration of machine layout in the laboratory



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