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Refrigeration system with a compressor-pump unit and a liquid-injection desuperheating line

United States Patent

February 13, 2001
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
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The refrigeration system includes a compressor-pump unit and/or a liquid-injection assembly. The refrigeration system is a vapor-compression refrigeration system that includes an expansion device, an evaporator, a compressor, a condenser, and a liquid pump between the condenser and the expansion device. The liquid pump improves efficiency of the refrigeration system by increasing the pressure of, thus subcooling, the liquid refrigerant delivered from the condenser to the expansion device. The liquid pump and the compressor are driven by a single driving device and, in this regard, are coupled to a single shaft of a driving device, such as a belt-drive, an engine, or an electric motor. While the driving device may be separately contained, in a preferred embodiment, the liquid pump, the compressor, and the driving device (i.e., an electric motor) are contained within a single sealable housing having pump and driving device cooling paths to subcool liquid refrigerant discharged from the liquid pump and to control the operating temperature of the driving device. In another aspect of the present invention, a liquid injection assembly is included in a refrigeration system to divert liquid refrigerant from the discharge of a liquid pressure amplification pump to a compressor discharge pathway within a compressor housing to desuperheat refrigerant vapor to the saturation point within the compressor housing. The liquid injection assembly includes a liquid injection pipe with a control valve to meter the volume of diverted liquid refrigerant. The liquid injection assembly may also include a feedback controller with a microprocessor responsive to a pressure sensor and a temperature sensor both positioned between the compressor to operate the control valve to maintain the refrigerant at or near saturation.
Gaul; Christopher J. (Thornton, CO)
Midwest Research Institute (Kansas City, MO)
09/ 246,080
February 5, 1999
CONTRACTUAL ORIGIN OF THE INVENTION The United States Government has rights in this invention under Contract No. DE-AC36-83CH10093 between the United States Department of Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, a Division of the Midwest Research Institute.