August 2000

Fluid Flow

Consider variable-speed, motor-driven compressors in refrigeration units

Depending upon ambient conditions and electricity prices, operating savings can justify the additional cost

Altena, W., Heijkers, C., Zeemering, E., Fluor Daniel B. V.

Operating costs can be reduced by applying a variable-speed instead of a fixed-speed electric motor driver for a centrifugal propane compressor. It is necessary to perform a detailed investigation for each refrigeration unit to determine whether a variable-speed or fixed-speed centrifugal compressor is economically the best choice. Introduction. An existing 10 MW propane refrigeration unit is used to illustrate the operating cost savings (Fig. 1). The unit includes a 6.3 MW fixed-speed, electric motor-driven centrifugal compressor accommodating two process stages. The condenser in this unit is air-cooled and opera

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