Janecke, Alex Karl (2011-08). A Comparison of Fault Detection Methods For a Transcritical Refrigeration System. Master's Thesis.
When released into the atmosphere, traditional refrigerants contribute to climate change several orders of magnitude more than a corresponding amount of carbon dioxide. For that reason, an increasing amount of interest has been paid to transcritical vapor compression systems in recent years, which use carbon dioxide as a refrigerant. Vapor compression systems also impact the environment through their consumption of energy. This can be greatly increased by faulty operation. Automated techniques for detecting and diagnosing faults have been widely tested for subcritical systems, but have not been applied to transcritical systems. These methods can involve either dynamic analysis of the vapor compression cycle or a variety of algorithms based on steady state behavior. In this thesis, the viability of dynamic fault detection is tested in relation to that of static fault detection for a transcritical refrigeration system. Step tests are used to determine that transient behavior does not give additional useful information. The same tests are performed on a subcritical air-conditioner showing little value in dynamic fault detection. A static component based method of fault detection which has been applied to subcritical systems is also tested for all pairings of four faults: over/undercharge, evaporator fouling, gas cooler fouling, and compressor valve leakage. This technique allows for low cost measurement and independent detection of individual faults even when multiple faults are present. Results of this method are promising and allow distinction between faulty and fault-free behavior.