The design and control of mine refrigeration systems
The research is directed towards modelling the chiller set, the heat rejection and the load subsystems of a complete mine refrigeration system and simulating the performance in order that the design can be optimised and the most cost effective control system determined. The refrigeration load profile for a mechanised mine is complex and primarily a function of surface climatic variations, the strongly cyclic sources of heat resulting from the operation of diesel powered mining equipment and the associated differences in thermal environmental acceptance criteria. Modelling of the central element of the system, the compressor, is based on empirical relationships which use the actual cooling duty and input power rather than general compressor curves using theoretical flow and head coefficients. This has a more general application and is not restricted to a single compressor type. The steady state modelling of five refrigeration systems has included two types of compressor, four types of evaporator, three types of condenser, two types of cooling tower and five types of mine cooling appliances. The research has extended modelling of refrigeration systems by incorporating fully the heat rejection and load subsystems and has demonstrated that relatively complex mine refrigeration systems can be modelled and the simulation results related to actual measurements with an acceptable accuracy. This has been further improved by testing the system elements and adjusting the theoretical performance analysis where necessary. These adjustments concern either the more difficult to assess factors such as evaporating and condensing heat transfer coefficients or factors influenced by unusual operating conditions. The research has shown that, despite the complexity of the load profile and the refrigeration system, modelling and simulation can be used effectively to optimise both the design and the control system.