Internal Heat Exchanger Influence in Operational Cost and Environmental Impact of an Experimental Installation Using Low GWP Refrigerant for HVAC Conditions
The use of an internal heat exchanger in vapor compression refrigeration systems of one stage is a common practice because it helps to increase the cooling capacity in the evaporator. Furthermore, the use of refrigerants with low global warming potential is becoming more frequent due to environmental regulations worldwide. Thus, this paper presents an evaluation of the improvement produced by the inclusion of an internal heat exchanger cycle (IHXC) in an experimental installation from the viewpoint of exergy, economic and environmental through to exergy, exergoeconomics, and Specific Life Cycle Climate Performance (SLCCP) studies. The tests were conducted using R1234ze(E) as a replacement alternative to R134a in three evaporating temperature conditions: 4 C, 9 C, and 14 C. Comparisons were made considering R134a in BRC mode versus R1234ze(E) in BRC and IHXC modes. Results show that a lower environmental impact is produced by an evaporating temperature of 14 C with a reduction in SLCCP of 13.3% using IHXC and R1234ze(E). Moreover, the highest increase in exergy efficiency was observed for an evaporating temperature of 4 C, with this increase being 9%, while the lowest increase in the total cost rate was observed for the same evaporating temperature, being 12.3% and 21.2% for BRC and IHXC modes using R1234ze(E), respectively.