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MAKING MODERN LIVING POSSIBLE

Transcritical Refrigeration Systems with Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
How to design and operate a small-capacity (< 10 kW) transcritical CO2 system

REFRIGERATION & AIR CONDITIONING DIVISION

Article

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 References. . . . . . . . Piping . . . System handling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Safety components . . . . . . . . . . . . . Charging . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Transcritical cycle process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 System components . . . 19 Safety standards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Effect of gas cooler pressure on system performance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Carbon dioxide . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Properties of carbon dioxide . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Safety . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Lubricant . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Refrigerant grades . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .02 / 520H3002 3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Q GC Pressure 3 2 4 1 Specific enthalpy W QE  Danfoss A/S (RA Marketing/MWA). .F1. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Gas cooler . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Water in CO2 systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 14 14 14 15 15 16 16 17 17 17 17 17 17 Safety and design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Introduction The purpose of this guide is to provide the background for understanding how to design and operate a small-capacity (<10 kW) transcritical carbon dioxide (CO2) system. . . . . . . . . . . Material compatibility . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Compressor . . . . . . . . Filter drier . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .System basics. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Evacuation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .PZ. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .000. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Expansion device . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Article Transcritical Refrigeration Systems with Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Contents Page Introduction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 System design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . July 2008 DKRCI. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Two important state points are marked in the figure: the triple point and the critical point.02 / 520H3002 .000. In industry. and properties.F1.0°C.8 bar) Critical point Critical point 10 8 6 4 2 Vapour Triple point Triple point (-56. the triple point and critical point are found for conditions that lie outside the region where they are normally used. It is odourless.8 bar) (31. In nature. 5. At the boundaries. 73. A condition in the fluid region is referred to as a supercritical condition – or very often also as a gas condition.6 °C .PZ. liquid and vapour are shown as coloured areas. the two phases exist in equilibrium. to generate the sparkling effect in some beverages. The fluid region is bounded by dashed lines that do not represent phase changes. When carbon dioxide is used as a refrigerant it is often referred to by its refrigerant number which is R744. and as a protection. The three well-known phases: solid. At temperatures and pressures higher than those at the critical point. All substances have a triple point and a critical point . At the other end of the vapour pressure curve. 73. such as temperature and pressure. July 2008 marks the upper limit for heat transfer processes based on evaporation or condensation. The triple point represents the condition where all three phases can co-exist in equilibrium. the critical point  Danfoss A/S (RA Marketing/MWA).System basics Properties of carbon dioxide Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a natural substance that plays an important role in many natural and industrial processes. it will cause the human breathing rate to increase. The boundary line between liquid and vapour are often referred to as the vapour pressure curve. so if large quantities escape in a closed room the highest concentrations will typically be found close to the floor.like evaporation or condensation for a process crossing the boundary between liquid and vapour phases. become dependent. 5 DKRCI. carbon dioxide plays a role in photosynthesis in plants and is one of the most important contributors to the global warming effect. and indefinitely to the right of. the critical point –and this region is called the fluid region. non-flammable. and non-toxic. It is heavier than air. Thus there is a region extending indefinitely upward from. A phase change occurs when a process crosses a boundary between areas .but for most of the substances used as refrigerants. but which conform to arbitrary definitions of what is considered a liquid and what is considered vapour [1].2 bar) -80 -70 -60 -50 -40 -30 -20 -10 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 1 Temperature [°C] Figure 1: Phase diagram for R-744 Figure 1 shows a phase diagram of R744. (-56. liquid can not exist . but if the concentration of carbon dioxide rises above the natural level in atmospheric air.in other words the triple point temperature sets the lower temperature limit for any heat transfer process based on evaporation or condensation. 1000 800 600 400 200 Solid Liquid Fluid (Supercritical) 100 Pressure [bar] 80 60 40 20 (31. At temperatures below the triple point temperature. no clear distinction can be drawn between what is called liquid and what is called vapour.0 °C .6°C. carbon dioxide is used as dry ice for transport cooling.Article Transcritical Refrigeration Systems with Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Carbon dioxide .

4 113. For R134a the critical temperature is found to be 101. such 6 DKRCI.4 134.3 31. Pressure (logarithmic scale) 3 CP Expansion Gas cooling 2 Pressure (logarithmic scale) 3 Expansion CP Condensation Compression 2 Compression 4 Evaporation 1 4 Evaporation 1 Specific enthalpy Specific enthalpy Figure 2: Subcritical and transcritical refrigeration cycle processes Figure 2 shows two refrigeration cycle processes: one where the pressure in all parts of the process is kept below the critical pressure and one where the pressure during the heat rejection process is kept above the critical pressure.g.0°C. the ambient temperature will exceed a level of 25°C.000. For many refrigeration applications.7 132. practical problems related to distinguishing between liquid and vapour at conditions close to . This temperature is higher than necessary for rejecting heat to the atmosphere for almost all refrigeration applications.1°C. This means that for R134a heat rejection processes by condensation can be established at temperatures up to 101.0 36. Instead.g.Article Transcritical Refrigeration Systems with Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Properties of carbon dioxide (continued) The term “critical point” has been the cause of misunderstandings as the word “critical” today often is used in the sense of “dangerous” or “serious”.9 40. the term “critical” should be interpreted as “difficult” .  Danfoss A/S (RA Marketing/MWA). July 2008 . as refrigerant) at Refrigerant R22 R134a R404A R410A R600a (Isobutane) R717 (Ammonia) R744 (Carbon dioxide) conditions close to this state point with specific danger. For R744 the critical temperature is only 31. this doesn’t mean that carbon dioxide cannot be used as a refrigerant in these applications. The subcritical cycle process is the wellknown traditional refrigeration cycle process.6 37.1 72. refrigerants have critical temperatures above 90°C but some of the refrigerants often used today (e.1°C. However. This temperature is Transcritical cycle process much lower than necessary for rejecting heat to the atmosphere for many refrigeration applications.PZ. Since the pressure in all parts of the first cycle process is below the critical pressure.or at this state point.3 49. When parts of the cycle process take place at pressures above the critical point and other parts below the critical pressure the cycle process is referred to as transcritical cycle process.describing e.g. Considering the temperature difference needed in the heat exchanger. Carbon dioxide can indeed be used as a refrigerant for these applications . Critical temperature [°C] 96.3 73. Its use to describe a specific state point of a substance can therefore incorrectly associate the use of this substance (e. Typically. a practical upper limit for a heat rejection process based on condensation is reached at temperatures 5 to 10 K below the critical temperature. This means that for R744 heat rejection process by condensation can only be established at temperatures up to 31°C.0 71.F1.but the heat rejection process from these applications must be based on a different process than condensation. R404A.0 Critical pressure [bar] 49.8 Table 1: Critical properties of selected refrigerants Table 1 compares the critical pressure and temperature of a number of refrigerants. making it practically impossible to reject heat by condensing carbon dioxide.1 101. R410A and R744) have critical temperatures below that.02 / 520H3002 a process is referred to as a subcritical cycle process.

can reach a level of 130°C. The evaporator heat transfer rate is QE and the compressor power consumption is W.PZ. the heat rejection takes place at pressures and temperatures above the critical point – that is.02 / 520H3002 7 . Figure 3 shows a more detailed pressureenthalpy diagram with a simple one-stage transcritical cycle process.000.Article Transcritical Refrigeration Systems with Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Transcritical cycle process (continued) The terminology used for describing the processes and components are almost the same for the two cycle processes except for the heat rejection parts. The outlet condition (compressor inlet condition) is slightly superheated. the heat rejection is therefore called gas cooling and subsequently the heat exchanger used is called a gas cooler. The supercritical fluid region (gas) is coloured light green. During this process.  Danfoss A/S (RA Marketing/MWA). The inlet condition is supercritical (above the critical point) and the outlet is two-phase (mixture of liquid and vapour). Colour (green and dark green) is used to indicate phases and transitions between them. A condition in the fluid region is often referred to as a gas condition. in the fluid region. Specifying the operating conditions of a transcritical refrigeration cycle is different than for subcritical cycle processes. and the evaporation part also at constant temperature. The heat transfer rate in the gas cooler is QGC . and coloured according to the change of state for the refrigerant as it passes through them. the temperature rises significantly – and. The critical point is marked in the figure with a yellow dot.F1. July 2008 DKRCI. The expansion process from state point 3 to 4 occurs at constant specific enthalpy. For subcritical processes. The flow of heat and work is marked in the figure with arrows. The heat rejection process from state point 2 to 3 occurs at constant pressure above the critical point. The heat absorption process (evaporation) from state point 4 to 1 occurs at constant pressure. In the transcritical cycle process.and ideally the energy balance gives QGC = QE + W. Q GC GAS COOLER GAS COOLER Pressure 3 2 Compressor C OMPRESSOR E Expansion XPANSION valve VALVE 4 1 Specific enthalpy W Evaporator EVAPORATOR QE Figure 3: Transcritical cycle process & main system components The transcritical cycle process begins with a onestage compression from state point 1 to 2. System components have been included. For the transcritical cycle process. The temperature during this process varies continuously from the inlet temperature (at state point 2) to the outlet temperature (at state point 3). it is normally only necessary to specify evaporating and condensing temperatures – and if more details are needed – also superheat and subcooling. for carbon dioxide.

In the subcritical refrigeration cycle process.OUT and the isobar pGC identifies the outlet condition (state point 3).02 / 520H3002 . The intersection between the isotherm tGC. A large part of the condenser volume on the refrigerant side will therefore be occupied by a two-phase mixture of liquid and vapour. in many respects. using the evaporating temperature and superheat. In figure 4. the temperature of the refrigerant will change continuously throughout the entire heat rejection process. For the transcritical cycle process. the heat rejection process involves condensing of the refrigerant. the pressure in the gas cooler will depend on how much refrigerant the system is charged with and its distribution between the components.PZ. Specifying the evaporating process is done the same way as for subcritical processes. the temperature and pressure become independent. For a two-phase mixture in thermal equilibrium. Because this is not a phase change process. In figure 4 the isotherm labelled tGC.000.g. In the figure three different cycle processes are represented. Having concluded that it is the charge of refrigerant that determine the gas cooler pressure. same evaporator outlet/compressor inlet condition and the same gas cooler outlet temperature.F1. The main difference between the three cycle processes is the gas cooler pressure. So what then determines the pressure in the gas cooler? In a simple system without receiver the answer is: the refrigerant charge. The compression process for all three cycle processes is assumed to be reversible and adiabatic (ideal = isentropic efficiency equal to 1). the isotherm labelled tE represents the evaporating temperature. Consequently.  Danfoss A/S (RA Marketing/MWA). July 2008 8 DKRCI. the heat rejection process does not involve condensing but only cooling of a gas in the fluid region. the outlet condition of the gas cooler (state point 3) must be specified directly using temperature and pressure.Article Transcritical Refrigeration Systems with Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Transcritical cycle process (continued) t GC .OUT Gas cooler pressure pGC Outlet temperature from gas cooler 2 3 CP Pressure (logarithmic scale) tE 4 1 Evaporation temperature Specific enthalpy Figure 4: Pressure-Enthalpy Diagram for a transcritical refrigeration cycle process Figure 4 shows a pressure-enthalpy diagram with a simple transcritical cycle process.OUT the gas cooler pressure pGC must also be specified. capillary tube). In addition to specifying tGC. Instead. the pressure will be the saturation pressure at the temperature of the mixture.OUT represents the temperature of the refrigerant after the heat rejection. In a system with a fixed restriction expansion device (e. different from the operation of a subcritical refrigeration system using a traditional refrigerant such as R134a. the obvious next question must be: Does the gas cooler pressure have an influence on capacity and energy efficiency of the system? Figure 5 illustrates how the gas cooler pressure influences the cycle process. For a transcritical process. They all have the same evaporating temperature. Effect of gas cooler pressure on system performance The operation of a transcritical refrigeration system using R744 is. there is no condensing process and consequently the terms condensing temperature and subcooling do not apply.

±10%. Consequently the optimum gas cooler pressure also varies.Article Transcritical Refrigeration Systems with Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Effect of gas cooler pressure on system performance (continued) ∆pG C ∆pG C t G C. In almost all practical applications the operating conditions (evaporating temperature.F1. Q E = 100 % C OP H = 2. Figure 6 shows the variations in refrigerating capacity and COP for a system operating with constant evaporating temperature. Q E = 64 % C OP = 2. The state points with index L represent the cycle with a lower pressure.normally only a few percent. but for both the processes with higher and lower gas cooler pressures. For the cycle process with a higher pressure. the capacity is 106% of that of the nominal cycle process. superheat and gas cooler outlet temperature. indicating that an optimum gas cooler pressure exists.6. OUT 3H 3 2H 2 2L 3L CP Pressure (logarithmic scale) tE 4H 4 Q E = m·∆hE V AP W = m·∆hC OMP C OP = ∆hE V AP /∆hC OMP C OP L = 1. The numbers in the figure show the consequences of a change of app.8. The pressure change of ±5 bars causes changes in the compressor power consumption of app. For the cycle process with a lower pressure. This shows that the gas cooler pressure has a significant influence on the refrigerating capacity. For a system operating at conditions close to the optimum COP. state points with index H represent the cycle with a higher pressure. and also magnitude and duration of the variations in operating conditions. Q E = 106 % ∆hE V AP 4L 1 ∆hC OMP Specific enthalpy Figure 5: Influence of gas cooler pressure on cycle process Figure 5 illustrates the changes in state point locations and cycle performance as the gas cooler pressure is either increased or decreased from a nominal value. It can be seen that the optimum condition for refrigerating capacity is found for a higher gas cooler pressure than for the optimum condition for COP. the extra refrigerating capacity that can be obtained by increasing the gas cooler pressure is relatively small .PZ. The model of the compressor reflects “true” compressor behaviour – meaning isentropic and volumetric efficiencies vary with the operating conditions. the COP is 2. the values for COP are lower. The influence on cycle refrigerating capacity can be observed by comparing the changes in specific enthalpy in the evaporator DhEVAP.  Danfoss A/S (RA Marketing/MWA). The influence of gas cooler pressure on compressor power consumption can be observed by comparing the changes in specific enthalpy in the compressor DhCOMP. superheat and ambient temperature) will vary.02 / 520H3002 9 .6.5. July 2008 DKRCI. The cycle process with the nominal gas cooler pressure is referred to as the nominal cycle process. different types of high pressure control must be used to ensure efficient and economical operation.000. The figure is based on simulation using mathematical models of the components. Together the changes in refrigerating capacity and compressor power consumption cause changes in the Coefficient of Performance (COP). For the nominal cycle process. the refrigerating capacity is only 64% of that of the nominal cycle process. The figure shows that the gas cooler pressure has a significant influence on the COP. ±5 bars in the gas cooler pressure. Depending on the application.

the internal heat exchange can be established by soldering the capillary tube. Use of an internal heat exchanger between the suction line and the gas cooler discharge line can enhance the performance of the system (figure 8).50 0.25 1. The system consists of a compressor.02 / 520H3002  Danfoss A/S (RA Marketing/MWA).25 0.50 C OP Refrigerating capacity [kW] and COP [-] 1.at one single operating condition.g.000. or parts of it.Article Transcritical Refrigeration Systems with Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Effect of gas cooler pressure on system performance (continued) 1.F1.OUT = 35°C 105 110 115 120 Gas cooler pressure [bar] Figure 6: Effect of gas cooler pressure on refrigerating capacity and COP System design Figure 7 shows a pipe diagram for a very simple transcritical system. Compressor Evaporator Gas cooler Expansion device Figure 7: Layout of simple refrigeration system for transcritical operation The most simple expansion device that can be used is a fixed flow restriction (e. If the expansion device is a capillary tube. a gas cooler.00 75 80 85 90 95 100 Operating condition t E = -10 °C . an evaporator. In such a system. and an expansion device.PZ.00 QE 0. to the suction line. an orifice or a capillary tube). 10 DKRCI. tS H = 10 K t G C . July 2008 .and maximum efficiency (or capacity) . the high pressure is not controlled and the system will consequently only be operating with the optimum high pressure .75 0.

Article Transcritical Refrigeration Systems with Carbon Dioxide (CO2) System design (continued) Internal heat exchanger 6 1 2 2 Evaporator 4 Compressor Gas cooler 5 HP Expansion device (cap. or evaporating temperature during a pull-down of refrigerated cabinet). The valve senses the inlet pressure (the gas cooler pressure) and opens and closes according to a set-point for inlet pressure. Internal heat exchanger 6 1 1 2 2 Evaporator 4 Compressor Gas cooler 5 5 HP Expansion valve (automatic) 3 3 Figure 9: Layout of a transcritical refrigeration system with internal heat exchanger and an automatic valve as expansion device  Danfoss A/S (RA Marketing/MWA). Different types of expansion valves can be used (automatic.000. it is possible to use the expansion device as the high pressure control device. A system with an automatic valve is shown in figure 9. and meet capacity and efficiency requirements at varying operating conditions. In addition. high pressure control devices must be used. thermostatic. ambient temperature. and omit control of refrigerant flow into the evaporator. When the operating conditions change (e.02 / 520H3002 11 . it may be necessary to install a lowpressure receiver to compensate for the charge variations on the high-pressure side. and electronic) as shown in figures 9 to12. For uses requiring high variability in operating conditions and that must satisfy capacity and efficiency requirements under varying operating conditions. The valve set-point may be manually adjustable.PZ. tube or orifice) 3 3 Figure 8: Layout of a transcritical refrigeration system with internal heat exchanger and fixed flow restriction as expansion device The layout shown in figure 8 can be used for systems that operate with medium variations in ambient temperature but with requirements for capacity or efficiency at only one fixed rating point. July 2008 DKRCI.F1. the distribution of the refrigerant between the components will change thus the gas cooler pressure also changes. For simple systems.g.

g. A system with a thermostatic valve is shown in figure 10.02 / 520H3002  Danfoss A/S (RA Marketing/MWA).PZ. the bulb can sense the air inlet temperature of an air-cooled gas cooler. a thermostatic valve as expansion device and a low-pressure receiver 12 DKRCI.F1. Low-pressure receiver 6 Internal heat exchanger 1 2 Evaporator 4 Compressor Gas cooler 5 HP Expansion valve (thermostatic) 3 Figure 11: Layout of a transcritical refrigeration system with internal heat exchanger. Internal heat 1 exchanger 1 6 6 2 2 Evaporator 4 4 Compressor Gas cooler or Condenser 5 5 HP Expansion valve (thermostatic) 3 3 Figure 10: Layout of a transcritical refrigeration system with internal heat exchanger and a thermostatic valve as expansion device The thermostatic expansion valve can be used for systems that operate with large variations in ambient conditions and with requirements for capacity or efficiency at two or more rating points. for ambient temperatures above the critical temperature only) but with requirements for capacity or efficiency at two or more rating points. The valve uses a traditional bulb (filled with a liquid/vapour mixture of a substance) to sense the refrigerant outlet temperature of the gas cooler to control the inlet pressure (the gas cooler pressure). Alternatively.Article Transcritical Refrigeration Systems with Carbon Dioxide (CO2) System design (continued) The automatic expansion valve can be used for systems that operate with small variations in ambient temperature (e. July 2008 .000.

[3].02 / 520H3002 13 . and [4]. but much more advanced controllers could be envisioned. The design and use of receivers and pressure control devices for transcritical systems are covered by a number of patents. The figures show a controller receiving information about gas cooler outlet pressure and temperature. July 2008 DKRCI. Other system configurations than the ones shown in this document are possible. Internal heat exchanger 6 6 1 1 2 2 Evaporator 4 4 Compressor Gas cooler or Condenser 5 5 HP Expansion valve (electronic) 3 3 M Controller Controller P T Figure 12: Layout of a transcritical refrigeration system with internal heat exchanger and an electronically controlled valve as expansion device The layout shown in figure 12 can be used for systems that operate with large variations in ambient conditions and with extreme requirements for capacity or efficiency at all operating conditions. It is strongly advised to conduct a thorough patent search and analysis before making a specific transcritical refrigeration or air conditioning system commercially available. As the temperature at the termostatic expansion valve changes.000.F1. Often it is only for systems that are to be analysed experimentally in a laboratory that such control flexibility is necessary. The choice of system configuration depends on the requirements for performance under a given set of design conditions – or maybe even within a given application design envelope.PZ. Special care must be taken to avoid oil build-up in the receiver. This can be avoided by an oil drain line allowing a small flow of liquid oil/refrigerant to exit the receiver and enter the internal heat exchanger. The complexity of the controller and the number of sensors/transducers can be selected according to the specific purpose of the system. Full control flexibility can be obtained with a system using an electronic expansion valve and an electronic system controller receiving information about one or more temperatures and pressures in the system.Article Transcritical Refrigeration Systems with Carbon Dioxide (CO2) System design (continued) Improvements of performance for this type of system can be obtained by using a low-pressure receiver as shown on figure 11.  Danfoss A/S (RA Marketing/MWA). the high-pressure refrigerant is taken from or added to the low-pressure receiver. References to a few of these patents can be found later in this document [2].

and automatic thermostatic pressure regulation. 14 DKRCI. For details about the compressor design and application. there are two further issues that must be addressed: a) The gas cooler outlet temperature of the CO2. Danfoss has a number of developments both with regard to automatic constant pressure regulation. a specific type of expansion device can be recommended.000.02 / 520H3002  Danfoss A/S (RA Marketing/MWA). one on the suction side and one on the discharge side. For the selection of the right compressor type please check the data sheets or check with the calculation tool. For more information about expansion devices available for small transcritical CO2 systems. A general description of the mechanisms that can be employed for expansion is given in the System Design section of this guide. July 2008 . The TN compressor series is based on a one-cylinder reciprocating design. Gas cooler The gas cooler design has to be adapted to the application of CO2 as refrigerant. Both are available from Danfoss or can be downloaded from our website. Expansion device Depending on the location and type of system.F1. b) The temperature change of the CO2 during the cooling. and the application envelope. It is necessary to ensure that. This would not only lower the ability to reject heat to the ambient but also result in an increased temperature of the CO2 leaving the gas cooler. as this is the optimal solution to manage the high pressures of CO2 while also being able to handle the high pressure difference between discharge and suction side. heat would flow from the warmer parts to the colder parts of the gas cooler. how to install it. in the event of a burst. This burst disc will release the discharge gas to the ambient if the discharge pressure exceeds its burst pressure of 130 bars ± 5%. The last tubes with the refrigerant before leaving the gas cooler should be located where the coldest air is entering. Unlike condensers where most of the heat exchange takes place at a constant temperature. the thermal contact between the gas cooler sections has to be minimized as shown in figure 13.Article Transcritical Refrigeration Systems with Carbon Dioxide (CO2) System components Compressor Danfoss Compressors has developed the TN compressor series for transcritical applications with the refrigerant CO2. variation in ambient conditions as well as variations in load. no one will be injured by the release of the hot oil/gas mixture. Aside from the high pressures of up to 137 bars. are integral parts of the compressor design and should not be removed. All TN compressors are equipped with a burst disc connected to the discharge line. This also means that the part of the gas cooler where the CO2 enters into the gas cooler has a higher temperature than any other part while the lowest temperature occurs at the exit. the temperature of the CO2 steadily drops while the refrigerant flows through the gas cooler. The complete heat exchange between the gas cooler and the air has to be counter-current flow or cross-counter-current. please contact Danfoss. With a standard design. To minimize this heat flow. The two external mufflers.PZ. This effect has been described in section “Effect of gas cooler pressure on system performance’. check the available instructions and the data sheets supplied by Danfoss. The gas cooler outlet temperature of the CO2 has to be as low as possible in order to obtain the highest capacity and the best COP.

July 2008 DKRCI. the water molecules adsorbed onto the molecular sieve. CO2 is a non-polar molecule. Therefore. the oil amount charged by the compressor manufacturer should be sufficient. especially at low evaporation temperatures. Danfoss recommends 100% MS for use with CO2 to maximize water removal. The zeolite has extremely small pores. the efficiency is fairly good. the temperature of the CO2 when leaving the gas cooler should not be more than 2-3 K above the temperature of the ambient air before entering the gas cooler. many of the reactions that produce acids will not take place in a well-maintained CO2 system. they are adsorbed inside the zeolite molecules. and acts like a molecular sieve. However. act in such a way as to “kick out” the CO2 molecule.000. the compressor should be located in the air flow behind the gas cooler. Oil suppliers have developed special lubricants to guarantee the wear protection in the compressor under the influence of CO2. Activated alumina is often used in filter driers to remove acids produced in the reaction between oil and water.02 / 520H3002 15 .Article Transcritical Refrigeration Systems with Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Gas cooler (continued) To get the air-flow as cold as possible to the gas cooler. It is strongly recommended to use only the oil type and viscosity grade as specified by the compressor manufacturer. Filter drier In fluorinated refrigeration systems. the same oil as originally charged by the compressor manufacturer should be used. filter driers are commonly used to remove water. Broken thermal contact Ambient air in Hot CO2 in Cold CO 2 Out Figure 13: Principle of gas cooler design to avoid internal heat flow and to minimize the refrigerant exit temperature Lubricant Standard refrigeration oils cannot be applied in transcritical CO2 systems due to the very different solubility and miscibility with CO2 compared with other refrigerants.PZ.F1. If due to an oil loss or for a remote system some oil has to be added. For more information about filter driers available for CO2 systems please contact Danfoss.  Danfoss A/S (RA Marketing/MWA). CO2 molecules are small enough to penetrate the molecular sieve. please contact Danfoss for the oil type specification. Equally important is the solubility and miscibility behaviour of the oil together with CO2 to ensure the oil circulation in the system. For small hermetic systems. so the removal process is different. due to the difference in polarity. where the water content is below the maximum solubility limit. When the replaceable core is removed. For optimum efficiency. Like water molecules. Water molecules are small enough to penetrate the sieve. the water goes with it. However. R134a molecules are too large to penetrate the sieve. Whenever possible. and being very polar. Even though the driers function differently in this respect in CO2 systems. usually the type with a zeolite core.

The maximum working pressure of the tubes must be observed (table 2).000.F1.PZ. allowable working pressure [psig] 775 662 613 537 495 Table 2: Maximum allowable working pressure for standard copper tubes as used in refrigeration Safety components The burst disc integrated in the discharge muffler of the TN compressor series opens if the high pressure of the system exceeds 130 bars ±5%. by closing a valve. July 2008 .g.Article Transcritical Refrigeration Systems with Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Piping Due to the high volumetric capacity of CO2 tubes with a smaller diameter than in conventional systems of similar capacity can be used.02 / 520H3002  Danfoss A/S (RA Marketing/MWA). It is recommended to additionally integrate a pressure switch that cuts off the compressor before the burst disc would open to release the refrigerant and make the system operational. allowable working pressure [bar] 200 143 111 91 71 Diameter [inch] 1/4 3/8 1/2 5/8 3/4 Max. It is strongly recommended to install a safety device like a burst disc or a pressure relief valve in each section of the refrigeration system that can be separated from the existing safety device. in most cases a tube of 6 x 1 mm will be sufficient. For the existing range of TN compressors. Diameter [mm] 6x1 8x1 10 x 1 12 x 1 15 x 1 Max. 16 DKRCI. Smaller diameters should be preferred as they decrease the refrigerant charge and withstand higher pressures. e.

swelling and the generation of cavities and internal fractures. but if the water concentration is higher than the maximum solubility limit. the evacuation process of the system is very important.PZ. Also. the water solubility in the vapour phase of different refrigerants is shown. There are no restrictions in terms of compatibility. For example. water remains dissolved in the refrigerant and does not harm the system. The acceptable level of water in CO2 systems is much lower than with other common refrigerants. One must be aware when charging a refrigerant system that. it is recommended to keep the concentration below the max. where a large amount of CO2 can dissolve in polymers. the chemical reaction with polymers is not critical. Material compatibility CO2 is compatible with almost all common metallic materials. The same vacuum pump and procedure can be used for all refrigerants if it is charged with ester oil. Tests have shown that CO2 is different. such as permeation. July 2008 DKRCI. solubility limit. Danfoss has carried out a number of tests to ensure that components released for use with CO2 can withstand the impact of CO2 in all aspects. Only a few specific types of polymers are suitable for use as sealing materials in transcritical CO2 components. the H2O molecules precipitate out of the solution into droplets. The compatibility of CO2 and polymers is much more complex. The solubility in the liquid phase is much higher than in the Water solubility in various refrigerants in vapour phase vapour phase. CO2 with maximum 10 ppm water is suitable for common used CO2 systems. Because CO2 is a very inert and stable substance. Water solubility in CO 2 1000 Maximum solubility [ppm] (mg/kg) Liquid Maximum solubility [ppm] (mg/kg) 2000 R717 100 Vapour 1000 R134a R404A 10 0 -50 CO 2 -30 -10 10 [o C] 1 -50 -30 -10 10 [ o C] Figure 14: Water solubility of various refrigerants Figure 15: Water solubility of CO2  Danfoss A/S (RA Marketing/MWA). These effects are associated with the solubility and diffusivity of CO2 in the actual material. the system will exhibit very low temperatures until the pressure is sufficiently raised. Below these levels. the CO2 can only exist as a solid or vapour inside the refrigeration system.02 / 520H3002 17 . has to be taken into consideration. like the fluorinated refrigerants.Article Transcritical Refrigeration Systems with Carbon Dioxide (CO2) System handling Refrigerant grades To avoid problems caused by too high water content in the CO2. until the pressure reaches the triple point. at 1 bar. Charging It is important to start up with CO2 in the vapour phase and continue until the pressure has reached approximately 5 bars. in particular when it is used in transcritical application. Water in CO2 systems In figure 14. Water (H2O) molecules are dissolved if the concentration is lower than the maximum solubility limit. the sublimation temperature will be –78. when using copper or brass. The main concern with CO2 is the physiochemical effects.4°C.000. The diagram in figure 15 is shows the solubility of water in both liquid and vapour phases of the CO2 as a function of temperature. Evacuation Due to the low acceptable water concentration.F1.

control valves.g. a molecular sieve filter drier can be used. In small hermetic transcritical CO2 systems. water is generally not a major problem. and do not have sensitive control equipment. 18 DKRCI.000.PZ. To avoid unforseen problems with water in CO2 systems. July 2008 . especially if the temperature is below 0°C. These systems do not normally operate at very low temperature. problems may occur.Article Transcritical Refrigeration Systems with Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Water in CO2 systems (continued) If the water is allowed to exceed the maximum solubility limit in a CO2 system.02 / 520H3002  Danfoss A/S (RA Marketing/MWA). the water will freeze. and the ice crystals may affect the operation of e. In this case.F1.

For this. EP 0 424 472 B2. so highest concentration levels will be found close to the bottom. the discharge pressure will be between 80 and 120 bars. there is a risk of a high CO2 concentration in the event of a leakage.or supercritical conditions”. It may be necessary to comply with other national or safety regulations such as PED when setting up. which may lead to an accident. “Refrigerating system with pressure control valve”. Second edition.C. The installation of a CO2 sensor with an alarm is recommended. CO2 is heavier than air. The use of a pressure switch will avoid exceeding the pressure limit. EP 0 604 417 B1 “Method of operating a vapour compression cycle under trans. the standstill pressure can be significantly higher. no international standard had been established explicitly covering hermetic or semi-hermetic type motor compressors for CO2 or appliances for household and similar applications with a CO2 transcritical cycle. and standards must be followed. “Control of high-pressure in transcritical vapour compression cycle”. In the discharge muffler. The second safety issue with CO2 involves the higher pressures by comparison with the traditional refrigerants. The pressure at the low-pressure side depends on the evaporation temperature but during off-conditions. all relevant national and international laws. But as safety conditions for the products are not definitive. Safety devices such as burst discs and pressure relief valves or pressure cutouts are recommended to cover unintended operational conditions. Danfoss has tested its components to its best knowledge. References [1] [2] [3] [4] “Theory and ”. van Ness. Safety standards When this paper was prepared. the user must ensure that the system is safe. servicing or in another way working with a CO2 system.M. July 2008 DKRCI. operating. However. This pressure is the maximum allowable pressure (PS). All components must be designed for the adequate pressures. regulations.02 / 520H3002 .5% has been integrated. There are some standards such as EN378 covering also systems with CO2 as refrigerant.PZ. In extreme cases this can be fatal. Schaum’s outline series. Abbott & H. a burst disc that opens if the pressure exceeds 130 bars +/. it is necessary to conduct a pressure test to ensure that all soldered connections are tight.Article Transcritical Refrigeration Systems with Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Safety and design Safety CO2 is a non-flammable and non-toxic fluid. if the concentration of CO2 exceeds a certain level. Especially for systems installed below ground level.F1. 1989. McGraw-Hill. WO 5890370 19  Danfoss A/S (RA Marketing/MWA). After assembling the system.000. The CO2 cannot be noticed as it does not have an odour that can be detected by humans. M. The test pressure must be 1. the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere for breathing is reduced. In the transcritical cycle.43 x PS.

PZ. we back technical solutions with business solutions to help your company reduce costs.000. Danfoss A/S • www.com DKRCI.The Danfoss product range for the refrigeration and air conditioning industry Danfoss Refrigeration & Air Conditioning is a worldwide manufacturer with a leading position in industrial. components and systems that enhance performance and reduce total life cycle costs – the key to major savings.F1. We focus on our core business of making quality products. Controls for Commercial Refrigeration Controls for Industrial Refrigeration Electronic Controls & Sensors Industrial Automation Household Compressors Commercial Compressors Sub-Assemblies Thermostats Brazed plate heat exchanger We are offering a single source for one of the widest ranges of innovative refrigeration and air conditioning components and systems in the world.danfoss. July 2008 . And.02 / 520H3002  Danfoss A/S (RA Marketing/MWA). streamline processes and achieve your business goals. commercial and supermarket refrigeration as well as air conditioning and climate solutions.