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Energy conservation improvement and ON–OFF switch times reduction for an existing VFD-fan-based cooling tower

Chang, Chun-Cheng, Shieh, Shyan-Shu, Jang, Shi-Shang, Wu, Chan-Wei, Tsou, Ying
Applied energy 2015 v.154 pp. 491-499
cooling, energy, energy conservation, field experimentation, industry, water temperature, Taiwan
The increasing economic advantage of replacing traditional two-speed fans with variable-frequency drive (VFD) fans has been gaining popularity in the industry. However, concerns regarding frequent ON/OFF switching and the lack of a well-devised controller have discouraged widespread adoption. In this study, a temperature zone method is proposed to replace the set-point method of fan control. Additionally, the highest output water temperature allowed in the process is set as the upper limit of a zone in order to further conserve energy. Both strategies are comprehensively analyzed for a virtual cooling tower that uses operational data from an existing VFD-fan-based cooling tower system in Taiwan. The results show energy savings of 38% for a 0.75°C zone without increasing the ON/OFF switching frequency. The proposed strategies were further verified via an on-line field experiment. The proposed methods can be universally and easily applied to any existing cooling tower, and have significant implications for energy conservation if adopted globally.