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With innovative product designs, Tatung's commercial air conditioners achieve smart energy conservation
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Tuesday 6 May 2014

Taiwan is highly dependent on imported energy, which is a potential threat to the security of its energy supply and its economic development. This is why energy conservation and carbon reduction is so important. Its first priority will be to reduce the amount of power consumption in electrical equipment; in the industrial and commercial spaces, air conditioning often accounts for up to 40-50% of power consumption, which clearly makes it the area that has the most urgent need for smart energy conservation.

Most home air conditioning systems emphasize temperature control, whereas air conditioning systems used in shopping malls, restaurants, theaters, and hospitals, etc., must provide environmental control as well as functions that ensure user comfort. The role of temperature and humidity environmental control systems (clean rooms) in industrial processes is even more critical, since the quality of environmental temperature and humidity control directly affects the quality and yield of products. Commercial air conditioners include water (air) cooled box type air conditioners, water (air) cooled water coolers, water (air) cooled brine chillers, commercial dehumidifiers, heat pumps, and box-type air conditioners, etc.

There is no doubt that the above-stated air conditioning products play a key role in supporting economic development, since many types of functions rely on air conditioning systems, including constant temperature and constant humidity for production processes as well as refrigeration and freezing, and the high levels of sensible heat required for machine rooms. However, in companies, medical institutions, government establishments, and schools, etc., air conditioning systems account for at least 40% of total power consumption, making it an "energy killer" and truly leaving much room for improvement.

Chi-Hung Chen, Manager of Tatung's Air Conditioning Design Division, believes that adding smart energy conservation functions to commercial air conditioning systems is the trend of the future. In light of this important trend, key product design goals will include hybrid heat pumps, high energy efficiency IPLV highly-parallel chiller refrigerant systems, inverter air conditioning systems, and centralized box-type air conditioning smart management systems.

Future products will be designed around the concept of smart energy conservation

Heat pumps are a type of high-efficiency refrigerant system that can absorb heat from Mother Nature and use it to produce hot water. Under reasonable operating conditions, its COP (Coefficient of Performance) should exceed 3. Heat pumps can replace traditional electric, gas, and diesel water heaters, saving users up to half or more in terms of energy and operation costs. In addition to producing hot water, hybrid heat pumps can also provide cold water as well as collect cold air for reuse, further increasing energy efficiency. The total COP values for most heat pumps usually exceed 5.

The "High Energy Efficiency IPLV Highly-Parallel Chiller Refrigerant System" is undoubtedly a major highlight in Tatung's commercial air conditioning system product line, since, slightly earlier, Tatung had already introduced a similar product model that emphasized the use of the R410A environmentally friendly refrigerant and had a load efficiency that was more than 25% higher than traditional models. The difference between highly-parallel refrigerant systems and traditional chilling systems is the ability to conduct partial load (partial compressor operation) operation and dramatically enhance heat exchange efficiencies. "High Energy Efficiency IPLV Highly-Parallel Chiller Refrigerant Systems" have even higher efficiency than the high-efficiency flooded chillers widely used in industries today. They also have smaller sizes and use scroll compressors, which have lower maintenance costs and higher efficiency compared to screw compressors. In addition to lowering electricity costs, these models will also play a role in protecting our precious environment.

The three pillars of commercial air conditioning systems – environmental protection, energy conservation, and safety

Inverter air conditioners are well-known for energy savings. Inverter technologies can adjust compressor operation speeds through varying power source frequencies, thereby achieving rapid cooling, constant temperatures, and low noise. For production process air conditioning applications, this can provide stable chilled water output temperatures and allow for even more precise environmental temperature and humidity control, thereby further improving process yield. In addition, refrigerant flows can be mediated through changing compressor operation speeds, which produces significant energy conservation effects when in low-frequency operation.

According to Chi-Hung Chen, in the average commercial environment, multiple compressors are usually required to spread out operation loads when non-inverter type air conditioners are used. This results in relatively high power consumption. In industrial environments, due to production process requirements, this may result in the need to allocate a large area of space for a chilled water storage tank; however, all of these traditional drawbacks are eliminated when inverter-type air conditioning systems are used.

Furthermore, this year (2014), Tatung plans to introduce a new box-type model that is equipped with "Centralized Electronic Panel Control and Management" functionality. This type of model has an MCU board at its core as well as RS-485 Modbus-RTU communications functionality, allowing users to control and manage up to 99 air conditioners in a centralized fashion, Chi-Hung Chen explains. Users can not only access input/output states and sensor temperature values, but also read/write final temperature configuration values, function modes, system ON/OFF states, as well as the status of offloading monitoring points. In environments where many air conditioning systems are installed, such as schools, hospitals, or factories, traditional electronic control systems only allow one-to-one control, which will result in a huge waste of manpower and maintenance costs. To the contrary, the one-to-many control mode provided by "Centralized Electronic Panel Control and Management" is undoubtedly the smarter and more ideal alternative.

It is also worth mentioning that Tatung's commercial air conditioning systems not only reflect the above-mentioned product design trends, but Tatung is also the only box-type air conditioner (regulated vertical expansion energy source product) vendor in Taiwan that has successfully obtained the Energy Conservation Certification Label. Tatung also insists on using environmentally friendly refrigerants, such as R134A or R410A, in all of its product lines, stressing ozone layer destruction coefficient values of zero. Tatung also emphasizes safe designs, achieving its goal of "being safe even if components malfunction." These measures were all taken to meet the environmental protection, energy conservation, and safety requirements of industrial and commercial customers.

Chi-Hung Chen, Manager of the Air Conditioning Design Division, points out key trends for smart, energy-conserving commercial air conditioners

Chi-Hung Chen, Manager of the Air Conditioning Design Division, points out key trends for smart, energy-conserving commercial air conditioners.

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