air in an air-to-refrigerant heat exchanger (evaporator). The warm compressed air flowsinto one side of the evaporator while low pressure, liquid refrigerant is metered intoanother side of the evaporator. The heat from the compressed air "boils" the refrigerantthereby reducing the temperature of the compressed air. Operation of the refrigerationcompressor is continuous or non-cycling, therefore requiring a combination of controlvalves to regulate refrigerant flow as the heat load from the compressed air changes.
Cycling compressed air dryers (fig. AD1-3) cool the compressed air through an intermediate heat exchanger medium. The intermediate can be sand, metal, or a fluid. Two heat exchangers, a compressed air chiller and refrigerant evaporator are fitted inside a tank which isfilled with a thermal conducting fluid, usually water with propyleneglycol added as a safe guard to prevent freezing and corrosion. Therefrigeration system removes heat from the water/glycol fluid. Thechilled fluid removes heat from the compressed air. Since therefrigeration system is used to only cool the fluid, the refrigerationcompressor is "cycled off" once the fluid temperature is chilled to therequired point. The compressor will "cycle on" only when the fluidtemperature rises to its upper limit. This cycling of the refrigerationcompressor results in significant energy savings on most compressed air systems. Onaverage, cycling compressed air dryers provide energy savings of 50% when compared toequally sized non-cycling designs.Additional cycling compressed air dryers benefits include:
Simplified refrigeration circuit since hot gas bypass valves are not required
A 60% or more reduction in the required quantity of refrigerant charge
Elimination of compressed air dryer freeze-up potential since the refrigerationsystem "cycles off" before freeze-up can occur. Over sizing of the compressed air dryer is therefore not a problem
Additional energy savings since the compressed air dryer dew point can be raised toas high as 60ºF
Microprocessor controls permit automatic dew point suppression below ambienttemperature for maximum energy savings
To protect the ozone layer from further depletion the European Union, Switzerland, UnitedKingdom, United States, and other World powers developed and signed the MontrealProtocol. The protocol freezes HCFC refrigerant production levels at the 1986 level. Under the protocol developed nations will phase HCFC refrigerants out by 2020. Some HCFC production will continue until 2030. HCFC refrigerants contain chlorine, which damagesthe ozone layer.