Numerical Study of Hydrocarbon Charge Reduction Methods in HVAC Heat Exchangers
Required refrigerant charge in heat pump systems with propane is analyzed. Two systems are compared: the first a direct heat pump, with fin-and-tube heat exchangers, and the second an indirect system, with plate heat exchangers with an additional brine-to-air heat exchanger. Each system was considered to be able to work reversibly, with 5 kW design cooling capacity in summer and 8 kW design heating capacity in winter. Two separately developed simulation codes were used to calculate the required refrigerant charge and the efficiency of each of the systems. The charge was reduced by the use of microfinned tubes up to 22% in direct system reduced using microfinned tubes compared to the smooth tube. For the indirect system using specially designed plate heat exchangers with the minimum internal volume, their charge was reduced by up to 66% compared to normal plate heat exchangers.