This research aims to develop a proof-of-concept demonstration of a high efficiency vehicle air conditioning and refrigeration (VACR) system to be employed in service vehicles. The work herein is part of a collaborative research project with two local companies: Cool-It Group, and Saputo Inc., with a main focus on service vehicles. Due to global energy consumption and the environmental impacts of air conditioning and refrigeration (A/C-R) systems, the development of a high efficiency system can significantly contribute to green and sustainable development and environmental protection. This research fills a gap in the literature by developing real-time thermal and performance characteristics of the VACR systems employed in the food transportation industry. Field data is acquired from pilot refrigerated service vehicles during different seasons of the year and the duty cycles are established. The acquisition of field data begins in stationary A/C-R systems and continues in mobile VACR systems. Moreover, a testbed is built in the Laboratory for Alternative Energy Conversion (LAEC) for more comprehensive experiments. Mathematical models are developed for thermal and performance simulations of VACR systems under steady state and transient operating conditions. The models are validated using the laboratory and field data and employed for a thermal and performance investigation of VACR systems. A proof-of-concept demonstration of high efficiency VACR systems is built in LAEC using variable speed compressor and fans and high efficiency heat exchangers. The modeling results are validated and used to develop an optimization model. The optimization model is validated and utilized to determine the optimum compressor and fans speeds for achievement of the highest coefficient of performance (COP) under real-time operating conditions. The optimization model is integrated with an existing cooling demand simulator to develop a proof-of-concept demonstration of a proactive and model predictive controller (MPC) for the VACR system. The controller is implemented on the laboratory-built VACR system and a proof-of-concept demonstration of high efficiency VACR is finalized. The developed concept and platform is expandable to the entire transportation industry as well as stationary A/C-R systems.
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Thesis advisor: Bahrami, Majid
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