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Journal of Thermal Science Vol.23, No.

3 (2014) 285289

Received: September 2013 HAO Xuejun, Associate Professor
This paper was supported by a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research through grant number KM200610016003 from the Beijing Mu-
nicipal Commission of Education.
www.springerlink.com
DOI: 10.1007/s11630-014-0708-4 Article ID: 1003-2169(2014)03-0285-05
Simulation Analysis of Factors Influencing Chiller EER
HAO Xuejun, WANG Tong
Beijing University of Civil Engineering and Architecture, Beijing 100044, PR China
Science Press and Institute of Engineering Thermophysics, CAS and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014
This study constructed a mathematic model of a variable frequency centrifugal chiller using Simulink software.
By running the simulation, it was discovered that when the other factors are constant, the EEREnergy Efficiency
Ratio of the chiller increases with decreases in the temperature of the cooling water and increases in the tem-
perature of the chilled water. The effect of changes in the cooling water temperature on the EER of the chiller is
stronger than that of changes in the chilled water temperature. In addition, as the chiller load decreases, the EER
increases until reaching a maximum, after which it decreases. Furthermore, the EER of chillers working under a
constant flow rate is slightly higher than that of those working under varying flow rates.
Keywords: Chiller, Simulation, EER
Introduction
The EER of a chiller is an important index, reflecting
its efficiency and therefore energy consumption. Many
factors directly affect the EER, such as the temperature
of the cooling water, the chiller load, the flow rate, and
the temperature of the chilled water. However, the change
in the EER for a given change in these parameters has
not been quantified. In this paper, using a simulation, a
model of variable-frequency centrifugal chiller was con-
structed (variable-frequency centrifugal chillers are com-
mon). In this paper, the EER was analyzed as a function
of three different parameters: cooling water temperature,
chilled water flow, and chilled water temperature.
Description of the mathematical model of a vari-
able-frequency centrifugal chiller
There are two important hypotheses for the mathe-
matical modeling of a variable-frequency centrifugal
chiller in this paper.
Because chillers can maintain the chilled water tem-
perature near the value set by the automatic control
equipment, this paper assumes that the temperature of the
chilled water is constant.
This paper neglects the heat transferred through the
wall of the pipe and compressor. Specifically, this paper
considered the load of the condenser to be equal to the
sum of the refrigerating capacity and compressor power.
Mathematical model of the evaporator
In a centrifugal chiller, the evaporator is generally a
full liquid evaporator. To keep the evaporator liquid level
constant, it is generally equipped with a float ball valve,
which controls the flow rate of the refrigerant according
to the liquid level of the evaporator. Thus, in this paper,
the liquid level of the evaporator is considered constant.
Applying energy conservation, the amount of heat lost
be the chilled water is equal to the amount of heat trans-
ferred from the chilled water side to the refrigerant side.
That is,
286 J. Therm. Sci., Vol.23, No.3, 2014

1 2
0 Z1 2
1
2
C M (T T ) K A
ln
z z
z
z z
z z
T T
Q
T T
T T

= =
| |
|

\ .

(1)
where T
z1
, T
z2
inlet and outlet chilled water tem-
perature, respectively, C;
Q
0
refrigerating capacity of the evaporator, W;
Cspecific heat capacity of water, J/(kgC);
Mflow rate of water, kg/s;
Aeffective heat transfer area of the evaporator,
m
2
;
Kheat transfer coefficient of the evaporator,
W/(m
2
K).
Formula (1) can be rewritten as
1 2
1
K A
C M
z
K A
C M
T T e
T
e

(2)
where T
z
evaporation temperature of the refrig-
erant, C.
Furthermore, the boiling heat transfer coefficient of
the refrigerant side is
[2]

0.5 0.25 0.45
0
0
16.4 p ( )
b z
s
h
d

= (3)
where h
bz
boiling heat transfer coefficient of the
refrigerant side;
heat flux, W/m
2
;
p
0
evaporation pressure, kPa;
sdistance between tubes, m;
d
0
pipe outer diameter, m.
The following formula was used to calculate the con-
vective heat transfer coefficient of the chilled water side
[3]
:
When Re2100 (laminar region),

1/3 0.14
1.86 ( ) [Re Pr ( )]
i i
i i
i i
h
d d

= u (4)
When 2100<Re10
4
(transitional flow region),
2/3
2/3 1/3 0.14
0.116 ( ) [Re 125]
[1 ( ) ] Pr
i
i
i
i
i
i
h
d
d

=
+ u
(5)
When 10
4
<Re (turbulent region),
0.8 1/3 0.14
0.027 ( ) Re Pr
i
i i
i
h
d

= u (6)
where h
i
convective heat transfer coefficient of the
chilled water side;

i
correction factor of the wall temperature;
PrPrandtl number;
ReReynolds number;

i
thermal conductivity of chilled water, W/(mK);
d
i
pipe inner diameter, m.
The heat transfer coefficient between the chilled water
and refrigerant sides can be calculated by the following
formula
[2]
:
1
1 1
[( ) ( ) ]
o o
oil p fou
b z i i
A A
K R R R
h A h A

= + + + +

(7)
where Kheat transfer coefficient between the
chilled water and refrigerant sides;
R
oil
thermal resistance of film, m
2
K/W;
R
fou
thermal resistance of dirt, m
2
K/W;
R
p
thermal resistance of the pipe wall, m
2
K/W;
A
o
pipe external surface area, m
2
;
A
i
pipe internal surface area, m
2
;
Aaverage value of external pipe area and internal
pipe area, m
2
.
Applying energy conservation, the following relation
can be obtained:
i
z
o
dM d
V M M
dt dt

= = (8)
where M
z
quality of vapor within the evaporator,
kg;
M
i
refrigerant evaporation rate, kg/s;
M
o
flow rate of vapor discharged at the outlet,
kg/s;
Vvolume of vapor at the evaporator, m
3
.
Rearranging formula (8), the following formula can be
obtained:
i o
d
M M V
dt

= (9)
The evaporation rate can be calculated as
0
o
Q
M
r
= (10)
where rlatent heat of the refrigerant, J/kg.
Mathematical model of variable-frequency centrifu-
gal compressor
Based on the parameters of the centrifugal compressor
samples and the compressor similarity law, the fitting
curves for the different speeds of the centrifugal com-
pressor can be obtained. These curves can be expressed
as follows:
2
2
w w w
m m
n n
W A Q B Q C
n n
| |
= + +
|
\ .

(11)

2
2
m m
n n
A Q B Q
n n
q q
q
| |
= +
|
\ .
(12)
2 3
2
N N N
m m m
n n n
N A Q B Q C
n n n
| | | |
= + +
| |
\ . \ .

(13)
where Wenergy provided by the compressor, J/kg;
Qflow rate of discharged vapor, kg/s;
Npower of compressor, W;
n
m
rated speed of the compressor, r/s;
nactual speed of the compressor, r/s;
HAO Xuejun et al. Simulation Analysis of Factors Influencing Chiller EER 287

efficiency of the compressor.
In formulas (11) - (13), each coefficient associated
with the actual compressor models can be fitted by the
related parameters in the compressor sample. Further-
more, according to mass conservation, the flow rate of
the compressor is approximately equal to the flow rate of
the evaporator M
o
.

Because the actual compression process is not isen-
tropic, the actual energy provided is greater than the the-
oretical energy provided:
,
2 1
( )
c th
ad
W
W h h
q
= = (14)
where Wactual energy provided, J/kg;
W
c, th
theoretical energy provided, J/kg;

ad
adiabatic efficiency of the compressor, set as
0.8;
h
2
enthalpy of the refrigerant at the compressor
outlet, J/kg;
h
1
enthalpy of the refrigerant at the compressor
inlet, J/kg.
Mathematical model of the condenser
The condenser of the centrifugal chiller is generally
comprised of a horizontal shell and tube condensers. The
flow rate of cooling water is constant. In addition, the
assumption at the beginning of this section shows that the
heat dissipation of condenser is
0 e
Q Q N = + (15)
where Q
e
heat dissipation of the condenser, w.
According to energy conservation, the heat gain from
the cooling water is equal to the heat transferring from
the chilled water to the refrigerant sides.
( )
( )
2 1
2 1
2
1
ln
e e
e e e
e e
e e
K A T T
Q C M T T
T T
T T

= =
| |
|

\ .

(16)
where T
e1
, T
e2
inlet and outlet water temperature of
the condenser, respectively, C.
The condensation heat transfer coefficient of the re-
frigerant side[2] is
1
3 2
3
0.65
C
g r
h
l


| |

=
|
|

\ .
(17)
where h
c
condensation heat transfer coefficient of the
refrigerant side;
heat flux, w/m
2
;
thermal conductivity of the refrigerant, w/(mK);
density of the refrigerant, kg/m
3
;
lstereotype size, m;
kinetic viscosity of the refrigerant, m/s
2
.
Furthermore, the cooling water side convective heat
transfer coefficient h
i
can be obtained from equations (4)
- (6), and the water side heat transfer coefficient of re-
frigerant side can be obtained from equation (7).
Solving the mathematical model using Simulink
The simulation software used in this paper is Simulink.
By creating the corresponding block diagram with Simu-
link software, the mathematical model can be solved.
Figure 1 shows the block diagram of the centrifugal



Fig. 1 Highest-level block diagram of the centrifugal chiller model
288 J. Therm. Sci., Vol.23, No.3, 2014

chillers model created in this paper. As observed in the
diagram, the block diagram mainly includes four modules:
the condenser sub-module, the evaporator sub-module, the
compressor sub-module, and a load sub module to calcu-
late the hourly return water temperature and the flow rate
of chilled water according to the refrigerating load. Be-
cause the model must iteratively solve numerous equa-
tions at each time step, a do-while module and memory
module are used in the block diagram. First, according to
the hourly load values and the conditions (variable or
constant flow conditions), the program uses the load sub-
module to calculate the hourly return water temperature
T
z1
and chilled water flow M of the chiller and sends the
data to the sub-module of the evaporator. Furthermore,
the sub-module of the evaporator can calculate the re-
frigerating capacity Q
0
, the flow rate of the vapor dis-
charged from the evaporator M
0
, the evaporation tem-
perature T
e
, and the evaporation pressure P
1
based on
these two values and sends the flow rate of the vapor
discharged from evaporator M
0
and the evaporating
pressure P
1
to the centrifugal compressor sub-module.
First, the compressor sub-module calculates the power of
the compressor according to these values as well as the
assumptive initial rotational speed and sends it out. Next,
the condensing load of the condenser Q
e
is calculated by
adding the power value W to the refrigerating capacity of
the evaporator Q
0
in this program, which is then sent to
the sub-module of the condenser. The sub-module of the
condenser can calculate the condensing temperature T
d
and condensing pressure P
2
according these values. The
sub-module of the condenser then sends this pressure
information to the sub-module of the compressor. Next,
the sub-module of the compressor can calculate the theo-
retical energy head W
c, th
in accordance with the ideal
constant entropy process using the internally stored data
of the pressure-enthalpy diagram according to the con-
densing pressure P
2
and the evaporating pressure P
1
. The
actual energy head W can then be calculated using equa-
tion (14). Substituting this value into equation (11), the
program can calculate a new value of rotational speed N
and send it out. There is an iterative loop structure in the
outermost layer of the model. If the relative error be-
tween the speed value N in the previous iteration step and
the speed value in this step is greater than 1%, then the
iterative loop structure will send the new speed value N
to the compressor sub-module and perform a new inter-
action. In addition, the memory sub-module can provide
an initial rotational speed for the compressor sub-module.
Above is the general working process of the model.
Performance analysis of variable-frequency cen-
trifugal chillers
Effect of cooling water temperature on the chiller EER
For chillers, the temperature of the cooling water
changes throughout the air-conditioning season. To ana-
lyze how the cooling water temperature affects the chiller
EER, the supply and return water temperature of chilled
water and the flow of the chilled water are taken as con-
stant. By running the simulation, the curve of the chiller
EER with the cooling water temperature can be obtained,
as shown in Figure 2. As observed in the figure, when the
temperature of the cooling water decreases, the EER of
the chiller increases. The relationship between these pa-
rameters is nearly linear. This linear relationship is
mainly due to the fact that when the supply and return
water temperature of chilled water and the flow of the
chilled water are constant, the refrigerating capacity of
the chiller and the evaporating pressure is constant;
however, a decrease in the temperature of the cooling
water will lead to a decrease in the condensing pressure.
Thus, the compressor energy head will decrease, as will
the total power.



Fig. 2 EER as a function of cooling water temperature
Effect of flow rate of chilled water on the chiller EER
As seen in Figure 3, whether the chilled water is under
constant or variable flow conditions, the EER of the
chiller increase and then decrease as the chiller load de-
creases. As the load decreases, the chiller EER decreases
more rapidly. The figure shows that the maximum EER
does not occur under the full load condition. In addition,
the chiller EER is lower for the variable flow conditions
than the constant flow conditions. When the chiller ap
proaches the full load condition, the EER is very close
for both flow conditions; however, as the load continues
to decrease, the difference between them increases.
However, overall, both conditions are still very close to
each other. Thus, for the variable-flow primary pump
system, the total energy consumption is not much higher
than that for the constant flow system.
Effect of chilled water temperature on the chiller EER
When the chilled water temperature changes, the EER
also changes. To analyze how a change in the chilled
water temperature will affect the chiller EER, the differ-
ence between the supply and return temperature of the
chilled water is set to 5C, and the flow of the chilled
HAO Xuejun et al. Simulation Analysis of Factors Influencing Chiller EER 289


Fig. 3 EER as a function of relative chiller load



Fig. 4 EER as a function of chilled water temperature

water as well as the chilled water temperature are as-
sumed to be constant. The simulation provides the chiller
EER as a function of the chilled water temperature, as
shown in Figure 4. As the chilled water temperature in-
creases, the chiller EER will also increase in a nearly
linear fashion. Furthermore, Figures 2 and 4 show that
the effect of the cooling water temperature on the EER is
greater than that of the chilled water temperature.
Conclusions
Through the analysis of chillers simulation, the fol-
lowing conclusions can be obtained:
(1) With the other parameters held constant, as the
cooling water temperature decreases, the chiller EER
increases in a nearly linear fashion.
(2) With the other factors held constant, as the chiller
load decreases, the chiller EER first increases and sub-
sequently decreases. Moreover, as the load continues to
decrease, the EER will decrease more rapidly. In addition,
the EER of the chiller running under variable flow condi-
tions is slightly lower than that of the chiller running un-
der constant flow conditions.
(3) With the other factors held constant, as the chilled
water temperature increases, the chiller EER also in-
creases in a nearly linear fashion. In addition, the effect
of the cooling water temperature on the EER is greater
than that of the chilled water temperature.
Acknowledgment
This paper was supported by a Grant-in-Aid for Scien-
tific Research through grant number KM200610016003
from the Beijing Municipal Commission of Education.
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