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Title:
REFRIGERATION AND HEATING SYSTEM
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2016/096051
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A method of operating a refrigeration and heating system (2a, 2b) comprises: circulating a refrigerant through a refrigeration circuit (4) which comprises in the direction of flow of the circulating refrigerant: at least one compressor (6a, 6b, 6c); a refrigeration circuit side (8a) of a coupling heat exchanger (8); at least one gas cooler (10); at least one expansion device (12, 14); and at least one evaporator (16); circulating a heating fluid through a heating circuit (20) which comprises a heating circuit side (8b) of the coupling heat exchanger (8) and at least one heat consumer (22); wherein the coupling heat exchanger (8) is configured for transferring heat from the circulating refrigerant to the circulating heating fluid. The method further includes increasing the temperature of the refrigerant entering the at least one gas cooler (10) in order to meet increased heating demands by allowing at least a portion of the heating fluid to flow directly from an outlet to an inlet of the heating circuit side (8b) of the coupling heat exchanger (8) bypassing the at least one heat consumer (22) or by allowing at least a portion of the refrigerant circulating through the refrigeration circuit (4) to bypass the coupling heat exchanger (8).

Inventors:
DOUVEN CHRISTIAN (DE)
HAFKEMEYER MARKUS (DE)
Application Number:
EP2014/078847
Publication Date:
June 23, 2016
Filing Date:
December 19, 2014
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
CARRIER CORP (US)
DOUVEN CHRISTIAN (DE)
HAFKEMEYER MARKUS (DE)
International Classes:
F25B9/00; F25B29/00; F25B40/04; F25B41/04; F25B49/02
Domestic Patent References:
WO2002052206A12002-07-04
Foreign References:
CA2748027A12013-02-04
US6668572B12003-12-30
EP1617158A22006-01-18
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KSNH PATENTANWÄLTE KLUNKER.SCHMITT-NILSON.HIRSCH (Munich, DE)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

1. Refrigeration and heating system (2a) comprising: a refrigeration circuit (4) which comprises in the direction of flow of a circulating refrigerant:

at least one compressor (6a, 6b, 6c);

a refrigeration circuit side (8a) of a coupling heat exchanger (8); at least one gas cooler (10);

at least one expansion device (12, 14); and

at least one evaporator (16); a heating circuit (20) which comprises:

a heating circuit side (8b) of the coupling heat exchanger (8); at least one heat consumer (22); and

at least one controllable heating fluid bypass valve (23) allowing at least a portion of the heating fluid to flow directly from an outlet to an inlet of the heating circuit side (8b) of the coupling heat exchanger (8) bypassing the at least one heat consumer (22); wherein the coupling heat exchanger (8) is configured for transferring heat from the refrigerant flowing through the refrigeration circuit side (8a) to the heating fluid flowing through the heating circuit side (8b); and wherein the refrigeration and heating system further comprises a control unit (38), which is configured for selectively opening the at least one heating fluid bypass valve (23) for increasing the temperature of the refrigerant leaving the coupling heat exchanger (8) in order to meet increased heating demands.

2. Refrigeration and heating system (2a) of claim 1, wherein the control unit (38) is further configured to increase the performance of the at least one compressor (6a, 6b, 6c) when the at least one heating fluid bypass valve (23) is opened .

3. Refrigeration and heating system (2a) of claim 1 or 2, the heating fluid bypass valve (23) is a continuously adjustable valve.

4. Refrigeration and heating system (2b) comprising: a refrigeration circuit (4) which comprises in the direction of flow of a circulating refrigerant:

at least one compressor (6a, 6b, 6c);

a heat exchanger bypass valve (34);

a refrigeration circuit side (8a) of a coupling heat exchanger (8); at least one gas cooler (10);

at least one expansion device (12, 14); and

at least one evaporator (16); a heating circuit (20) which comprises:

a heating circuit side (8b) of the coupling heat exchanger (8); and at least one heat consumer (22); wherein the coupling heat exchanger (8) is configured for transferring heat from the refrigerant flowing through the refrigeration circuit side (8a) to the heating fluid flowing through the heating circuit side (8b); wherein the heat exchanger bypass valve (34) is provided as an adjustable mixing valve (34); and wherein the refrigeration and heating system further comprises a control unit (38), which is configured for selectively controlling the heat exchanger bypass valve (34) for allowing at least a portion of the refrigerant to bypass the refrigeration circuit side (8a) of a coupling heat exchanger (8) for increasing the temperature of the refrigerant upstream the gas cooler (10).

5. Refrigeration and heating system (2a, 2b) of any of the preceding claims, wherein the refrigeration circuit (4) comprises a gas cooler bypass line (18) including a gas cooler bypass valve (24) allowing refrigerant to selectively bypass the gas cooler (10).

6. Refrigeration and heating system (2a, 2b) of any of the preceding claims further comprising a refrigerant receiver (26) downstream of the gas cooler (10).

7. Refrigeration and heating system (2a, 2b) of claim 6, further comprising a high pressure control device (12) upstream of the refrigerant receiver (26).

8. Refrigeration and heating system (2a, 2b) of claim 6 or 7, further comprising a flash gas line (28) fluidly connecting an upper portion of the refrigerant receiver (26) with the inlet line (7a, 7b, 7c) of the at least one compressor (6a, 6b, 6c).

9. Refrigeration and heating system (2a, 2b) of claim 8 further comprising a flash gas valve (30) in the flash gas line (28).

10. Refrigeration and heating system (2a, 2b) of claim 8 or 9, further comprising a flash gas heat exchanger (32) providing heat exchange between the flash gas flowing through the flash gas line (28) and refrigerant leaving from the bottom of the receiver (26).

11. Refrigeration and heating system (2a, 2b) of claim 7 or 8, further comprising an additional flash gas compressor (6d) and a flash gas compressor line (29) fluidly connecting an upper portion of the refrigerant receiver (26) with an inlet line (7d) of the additional flash gas compressor (6d).

12. Refrigeration and heating system (2a, 2b) of any of the preceding claims, further comprising at least one of a refrigerant pressure sensor (40), a refrigerant temperature sensor (42), a heating fluid temperature sensor (44) and an ambient air temperature sensor (46) for allowing the control unit (38) to control the compressors (6a, 6b, 6c) and/or the heating fluid bypass valve (23) based on the measured temperatures and/or pressures.

13. Refrigeration and heating system (2a, 2b) of any of the preceding claims, wherein the refrigerant comprises carbon dioxide.

14. Method of operating a refrigeration and heating system (2a, 2b) comprising: circulating a refrigerant through a refrigeration circuit (4) which comprises in the direction of flow of the circulating refrigerant:

at least one compressor (6a, 6b, 6c);

a refrigeration circuit side (8a) of a coupling heat exchanger (8); at least one gas cooler (10);

at least one expansion device (12, 14); and

at least one evaporator (16); circulating a heating fluid through a heating circuit (20) which comprises:

a heating circuit side (8b) of the coupling heat exchanger (8); and at least one heat consumer (22); wherein the coupling heat exchanger (8) is configured for transferring heat from the circulating refrigerant to the circulating heating fluid; and the method includes increasing the temperature of the refrigerant entering the at least one gas cooler (10) in order to meet increased heating demands by allowing at least a portion of the heating fluid to flow directly from an outlet to an inlet of the heating circuit side (8b) of the coupling heat exchanger (8) bypassing the at least one heat consumer (22) or by allowing at least a portion of the refrigerant circulating through the refrigeration circuit (4) to bypass the coupling heat exchanger (8).

15. Method of operating a refrigeration and heating system (2a) according to claim 14, wherein the method includes controlling a controllable valve (23), which is connected between the outlet and the inlet of the heating circuit side (8b) of the coupling heat exchanger (8).

16. Method of operating a refrigeration and heating system (2b) according to claim 14, wherein the method includes controlling an adjustable heat exchanger bypass valve (34), which is configured for allowing refrigerant to bypass the refrigeration circuit side (8a) of the coupling heat exchanger (8).

17. Method of operating a refrigeration and heating system (2a, 2b) according to any of claim 14 to 16, wherein the method includes increasing the performance of the at least one compressor (6a, 6b, 6c).

18. Method of operating a refrigeration and heating system (2a, 2b) according to any of claims 14 to 17, wherein the method comprises measuring the temperature of the refrigerant circulating within the refrigeration circuit (4) and/or the temperature of the heating fluid circulating within the heating circuit (20) and controlling the controllable valve (23), the adjustable heat exchanger bypass valve (34) and/or the at least one compressor (6a, 6b, 6c) based on the measured temperature of the circulating refrigerant and/or the measured temperature of the heating fluid, respectively.

19. Method of operating a refrigeration and heating system (2a, 2b) according to any of claims 14 to 18, wherein the method comprises measuring the ambient temperature and controlling the controllable valve (23), the adjustable heat exchanger bypass valve (34) and/or the at least one compressor (6a, 6b, 6c) based on the measured ambient temperature.

20. Method of operating a refrigeration and heating system (2a, 2b) according to any of claims 14 to 19, wherein the method comprises measuring the pressure of the refrigerant circulating within the refrigeration circuit (4) and controlling the controllable bypass valve (23), the adjustable heat exchanger bypass valve (34) and/or the at least one compressor (6a, 6b, 6c) based on the measured pressure in order to set the point of operation of the refrigeration circuit (4).

21. Method of operating a refrigeration and heating system (2a, 2b) according to any of claims 14 to 20, wherein the method comprises to determine the heating and/or cooling demands and controlling the controllable valve (23), the adjustable heat exchanger bypass valve (34) and/or the at least one compressor (6a, 6b, 6c) based on said demands. 22. Method of operating a refrigeration and heating system (2a, 2b) according to any of claims 14 to 21, wherein the refrigerant comprises carbon dioxide and the refrigeration circuit (4) is at least partly operated under transcritical conditions.

Description:
Refrigeration and Heating System

Background of the Invention

In order to increase the efficiency of a refrigeration system by recovering the heat rejected by the refrigeration system combined refrigeration and heating systems are provided in which the heat generated by the refrigeration system is not rejected as waste heat to the envi ronment but del ivered to a heating system to be used for heati ng a bui ldi ng a nd/or servi ce water etc.

At low ambient temperatures, e.g . i n wi nter, only a comparatively low cooli ng capacity is needed . As a result, the compressor(s) of the refrigeration system will run only in part load providing only a comparatively low heating capacity. Full l oad with all compressors running at full speed, which causes the system's heating capacity to be at its maximum , will take place only rarely, namely during the hottest days of su mmer, when usual ly only a reduced amount of heat is needed .

As in case of low ambient temperatures, less cooling capacity but increased heati ng capacity is needed, the heat provided by the refrigeration process may not be sufficient to meet the heati ng demands.

It therefore would be beneficial to provide an improved combined refrigeration and heati ng system and a method of operati ng such a system al lowi ng to meet i ncreased heating demands even when less cool i ng ca pacity is needed . Disclosure of the I nvention

A refrigeration and heating system according to an exemplary embodiment of the invention comprises a refrigeration circuit and a heating circuit, which are coupled by a coupling heat exchanger configured for transferring heat from a refrigerant circulati ng within the refrigeration circuit to a heating fluid circulating within the heating circuit. The refrigeration circuit comprises in the direction of flow of the circulating refrigerant: at least one compressor; a refrigeration circuit side of a coupling heat exchanger; at least one gas cooler; at least one expansion device; and at least one evaporator. The heating circuit comprises: a heating circuit side of the coupling heat exchanger; at least one heat consumer; and at least one controllable heating fluid bypass valve, which allows at least a portion of the heating fluid to flow directly from an outlet to an inlet of the heating circuit side of the coupling heat exchanger bypassing the at least one heat consumer. The refrigeration and heating system further comprises a control unit, which is configured for selectively opening the at least one heating fluid bypass valve in order to meet increased heating demands.

A method of operating a refrigeration and heating system according to an exemplary embodiment of the i nvention comprises the steps of

circulating a refrigerant through a refrigeration circuit;

circulating a heating fluid through a heating circuit; the heating circuit and the refrigeration circuit being thermally coupled by means of a coupling heat exchanger allowing heat to transfer from the refrigeration circuit to the heating circuit; and

increasing the temperature of the refrigerant leaving the coupling heat exchanger by allowing at least a portion of the heating fluid to flow directly from an outlet to an inlet of the heating circuit side of the coupling heat exchanger bypassi ng the at least one heat consumer in order to meet increased heating demands.

A refrigeration and heating system according to another exemplary embodiment of the invention comprises a refrigeration circuit and a heating circuit, which are coupled by a coupling heat exchanger configured for transferring heat from a refrigerant circulating within the refrigeration circuit to a heating fluid circulating within the heating circuit. The refrigeration circuit comprises in the direction of flow of the circulating refrigerant: at least one compressor, a heat exchanger bypass valve, which is provided as an adjustable mixing valve, a refrigeration circuit side of a coupling heat exchanger, at least one gas cooler, at least one expansion device and at least one evaporator. The heating circuit comprises a heating circuit side of the coupling heat exchanger and at least one heat consumer. The coupling heat exchanger is configured for transferring heat from the refrigerant flowing through the refrigeration circuit side to the heating fluid flowing through the heating circuit side . The refrigeration and heating system further comprises a control unit, which is configured for selectively controlling the heat exchanger bypass valve for allowing at least a portion of the refrigerant to bypass the refrigeration circuit side of a coupling heat exchanger for increasi ng the temperature of the refrigerant upstream the gas cooler in order to meet increased heating demands.

A method of operating a refrigeration and heating system according to an exemplary embodiment of the invention comprises the steps of

circulating a refrigerant through a refrigeration ci rcuit;

circulating a heating fluid through a heating circuit; the heating circuit and the refrigeration circuit being thermally coupled by means of a coupling heat exchanger allowing heat to transfer from the refrigeration circuit to the heating circuit; and

increasing the temperature of the refrigerant circulating within the refrigeration circuit by allowing at least a portion of the refrigerant to bypass the coupling heat exchanger in order to meet increased heati ng demands.

According to an idea of the invention the refrigeration process is made less efficient by increasing the temperature of the refrigerant circulating within the refrigeration circuit. This can be achieved either by delivering a portion of the heating fluid leaving the coupling heat exchanger directly back into the coupling heat exchanger by means of a heating fluid bypass valve connected between then outlet side and the inlet side of the coupling heat exchanger's heating circuit side or by allowing at least a portion of the refrigerant ci rculating within the refrigeration circuit to bypass the coupling heat exchanger. When the temperature of the refrigerant within the refrigeration circuit is increased, enhanced operation of the compressor(s) is needed in order to meet the required cooling demands. This results in more thermal heat, which may be used for heating purposes, being created without increasing the cooling capacity.

For a system using carbon dioxide as a refrigerant it has been found that in average 33% more heating capacity can be generated, by maintaining the pressure and increasing the temperature of the refrigerant entering the gas cooler. In addition the thermal heat can be regulated without capacity stages. The additional heat generated by the compressor(s) can either be used for reducing the size of an externa) (e.g. electrical) heat source, which is used in state of the art systems in order to meet high heating demands, or even make an external heating source obsolete. As existing equipment can be used with only minor modifications, the implementation costs are low.

Short Description of the Figures:

Figure 1 shows a refrigeration and heating system 2a according to a first exemplary embodiment of the invention; and

Figure 2 shows a refrigeration and heating system 2b according to a second exemplary embodiment of the invention.

Description of the Figures:

In the following, exemplary embodiments of the invention will be described in more detail with reference to the enclosed figures:

Figure 1 shows a schematic view of a refrigeration and heating system 2a according to a first exemplary embodiment of the invention.

The refrigeration and heating system 2a comprises a refrigeration circuit 4 and a heating circuit 20 thermally coupled with each other by a coupling heat exchanger 8, which is configured for transferring heat from the refrigeration circuit 4 to the heating circuit 20.

The refrigeration circuit 4 in particular comprises in the direction of flow of a circulating refrigerant: a plurality of compressors 6a, 6b, 6c fluidly connected in parallel for compressing and circulating a fluid refrigerant through the refrigeration circuit 4; a coupling heat exchanger bypass valve 34 allowing to selectively direct the flow of refrigerant leaving the compressors 6a, 6b, 6c either to a refrigeration circuit side 8a of a coupling heat exchanger 8, which couples the refrigeration circuit 4 to the heating circuit 20, or to bypass said coupling heat exchanger 8 in order to direct the flow of refrigerant leaving the plurality of compressors 6a, 6b, 6c directly to the inlet side 10a of at least one gas cooler 10, which is fluidly connected to the outlet side of the coupling heat exchanger 8. The outlet side 10b of the at least one gas cooler 10 is connected via a gas cooler bypass valve 24, which will be described in more detail further below, to the inlet side of a high pressure control device 12, which is configured for expanding the refrigerant from the high pressure generated by the compressors 6a, 6b, 6c to a lower medium pressure, before it enters into a receiver 26, which is configured for separating gas phase refrigera nt collecting at the top of the receiver 26 from liquid refrigerant, collecting at the bottom of the receiver 26. The bottom of the receiver is fluidly connected to a medium pressure expansion device 14 and an evaporator 16 fluidly connected downstream of the medium pressure expansion device 14 for evaporating the expanded refrigerant thereby absorbing heat from the environment and providing the desired cooling capacity. The outlet side of the evaporator 16 is fluidly connected to the inlet lines 7a, 7b, 7c of the compressors 6a, 6b, 6c closing the refrigeration cycle.

The compressors 6a, 6b, 6c may be individually switched on and off allowing to va ry their combined performance. Optionally, at least one of the compressors 6a, 6b, 6c may be provided as a variable speed compressor 6a allowing to continuously vary its performance in order to adjust the capacity provided by the compressors 6a, 6b, 6c even more precisely. A flash gas line 28 comprising a flash gas valve 30 and an optional heat exchanger 32, which is configured for allowing heat exchange between the flash gas flowing through the flash gas line 28 and the liquid refrigerant leaving the bottom of the receiver 26, fluidiy connects an upper portion of the receiver 26 to inlet lines 7a, 7b, 7c of the compressors 6a, 6b, 6c allowing, by controlling the flash gas valve 30, flash gas to selectively exit from the top of the receiver and to flow to the inlet side of the compressors 6a, 6b, 6c. Selectively delivering flash gas from the receiver 26 to the inlet lines 7a, 7b, 7c of the compressors 6a, 6b, 6c allows to adjust the pressure with the receiver 26.

An optional gas cooler bypass line 18, which connects between the inlet side 10a of the gas cooler 10 and the gas cooler bypass valve 24 arranged between the outlet side 10b of the gas cooler 10 and the high pressure control device 12, allows to selectively bypass the gas cooler 10 by opening the gas cooler bypass valve 24 in case so much heat is transferred from the refrigerant circuit 4 to the heating circuit 20 by means of the coupling heat exchanger 8 that no further cooling of the circulating refrigerant is necessary.

The heating circuit 20 comprises in the direction of flow of a circulating heati ng fluid a heating circuit side 8b of the coupling heat exchanger 8 and at least one heat consumer 22 for consuming the transferred heat, e.g. for heating water and/or (parts of) a building.

The coupling heat exchanger 8 is in thermal connection with the refrigerant circuit side 8a of the coupling heat exchanger 8 allowing heat to transfer from the refrigerant ci rculating within refrigeration circuit 4 and flowing through the refrigeration circuit side 8a of the coupling heat exchanger 8 to the heating fluid circulating within the heating circuit 20 and flowing through the heating circuit side 8b of the coupling heat exchanger 8. At least one heating fluid pump 36 may be provided for supporting the circulation of the heating fluid through the heating circuit 20. According to an exemplary embodiment of the invention, at least one heating fluid bypass vaive 23 is connected in parallel to the at least one heat consumer 22 allowing to partially bypass said at least one heat consumer 22 by at least partially opening the at least one heating fluid bypass valve 23 for allowing fluid to flow from the outlet side of the coupling heat exchanger's 8 heating circuit side 8b of the coupling heat exchanger 8 to the inlet side of said heating circuit side 8b of the coupling heat exchanger 8 without being cooled by delivering heat to the at least one heat consumer 22. As a result, the temperature within the coupling heat exchanger 8 will increase and the temperature of the refrigerant leaving the refrigeration circuit side 8a of the coupling heat exchanger 8 will increase, as well .

The increased temperature of the refrigerant will result in more flash gas being produced downstream of the high pressure control device 12, and as a result, the refrigeration circuit 4 will operate with less efficiency. In order to maintain the desired refrigeration capacity at the evaporator 16, the performance of the compressors 6a, 6b, 6c has to be increased, e.g. by switching on additional compressors 6a, 6b, 6c or increasing the rotational speed of an adjustable compressor 6a, 6b, 6c. An increased operation of the compressors 6a, 6b, 6c will add more thermal energy into the refrigeration and heating system 2a, which is used for providing the desired heat at the heat consumer(s) 22.

The refrigeration and heating system 2a further comprises a control unit 38 for controlling the compressors 6a, 6b, 6c, the switchable valves 12, 24, 30, 34 of the refrigeration circuit 4 and in particular the heating fluid bypass valve 23 in order to provide the desired cooling and heating capacities. The control unit 38 may control the compressors 6a, 6b, 6c and valves 12, 23, 24, 30, 34 by means of electrical wires, which are not shown in the figure for reasons of clarity, or by means of wireless connections (WLAN; Bluetooth etc.).

In order to enable the control unit 38 to control the compressors 6a, 6b, 6c and valves 12, 23, 24, 30, 34 appropriately, at least one of a refrigerant pressure sensor 40, a refrigerant temperature sensor 42, a heating fluid temperature sensor 44 and an ambient air temperature sensor 46 may be provided, allowing the control unit 38 to control the compressors 6a, 6b, 6c and valves 12, 23, 24, 30, 34 based on the temperatures and/or pressures measured by said sensor(s) 40, 42, 44, 46. A refrigerant pressure sensor 40 may in particular be located upstream the high pressure control valve 12,

Figure 2 shows a schematic view of a refrigeration and heating system 2b according to a second exemplary embodiment of the invention.

The features of the refrigeration and heating system 2b which are identical to the features of the first embodiment shown in Figure 1 are denoted with the same reference signs and will not be discussed in detail again .

In the refrigeration and heating system 2b according to the second embodiment the heat exchanger bypass valve 34 is provided as an adjustable mixing valve 34, which may be controlled by the control unit 38 to selectively allow a portion of the refrigerant to bypass the coupling heat exchanger 8 in order to increase the temperature of the refrigerant upstream the gas cooler 10.

As the temperature of the refrigerant may be regulated by means of the heat exchanger bypass valve 34, the heating fluid bypass valve 23, which has been described in the context of the first embodiment, is optional and may be omitted in the refrigeration and heating system 2b according to the second embodiment.

Furthermore, in said second embodiment, as it is shown in Figure 2, a flash gas compressor line 29 fluidly connects between an upper portion of the receiver 26 and the inlet side 7d of an additional flash gas compressor (economizer compressor) 6d , The output side of said flash gas compressor 6d is connected with the outputs sides of the other compressors 6a, 6b, 6c. Providing a separate flash gas compressor 6d allows for an efficient compression of the flash gas delivered from the refrigerant receiver 26. A flash gas compressor 6d and the flash gas compressor line 29 as shown in Figure 2 may by employed in the first embodiment comprising a heating fluid bypass valve 23 instead of an adjustable head exchanger bypass valve 34, as well . The flash gas compressor 6d and the flash gas compressor line 29 may be employed alternatively or in addition to the flash gas line 28 comprising the flash gas valve 30 as shown in Figure 1.

Further Embodiments

A number of optional features are set out in the following . These features may be realized in particular embodiments, alone or in combination with any of the other features:

In an embodiment the bypass valve is a continuously adjustable valve allowing to selectively adjust the flow of heating fluid bypassing the heat consumer(s) with high accuracy.

In an embodiment the refrigeration circuit comprises a gas cooler bypass line and a gas cooler bypass valve allowing refrigerant to selectively bypass the gas cooler(s) in case the temperature of the refrigerant leaving the coupling heat exchanger is low enough so that no further cooling of the refrigerant is necessary.

In an embodiment a refrigerant receiver is provided downstream of the gas coo\er for separating gas phase refrigerant from liquid phase refrigerant and storing said refrigerant. Such a separation, which allows to deliver only liquid refrigerant to the expansion device which is located upstream of the evaporator, will enhance the efficiency of the refrigeration circuit.

In an embodiment a high pressure control device is provided upstream of the refrigerant receiver in order to expand the refrigerant leaving the gas cooler before entering the receiver.

In an embodiment a flash gas line fluidly connects between an upper portion of the refrigerant receiver and an inlet line of the at least one compressor for allowing flash gas, which collects at the top of the receiver, to flow from the receiver directly to the inlet side of the compressor(s) bypassing the medium expansion device(s) and the evaporator(s).

In an embodiment a flash gas valve provided in the flash gas line allows to control and regulate the flow of flash gas through the flash gas line and to adjust the pressure within the receiver.

Additionally or alternatively a flash gas compressor line may fluidly connect the upper portion of the refrigerant receiver with an inlet line of an additional flash gas compressor.

In an embodiment an additional flash gas heat exchanger allows heat exchange between the flash gas flowing through the flash gas line and refrigerant leaving from the bottom of the receiver. This heat exchange may improve the efficiency of the refrigeration circuit even further.

In an embodiment the control unit for controlling the at least one compressor, the heating fluid bypass valve and/or the gas cooler bypass valve comprises a microcomputer which is configured for running an appropriate program controlling the operation of the combined refrigeration and heating system.

In an embodiment the refrigeration and heating system further comprises at least one of a refrigerant pressure sensor, a refrigerant temperature sensor, a heating fluid temperature sensor and/or an ambient air temperature sensor functionally connected to the control unit for allowing the control unit to control the compressors, the heating fluid bypass valve and/or the gas cooler bypass valve based on the measured temperatures and/or pressures in order to optimally adjust the operation of the refrigeration and heating system.

In an embodiment the refrigerant comprises carbon dioxide, which provides an efficient, inflammable, non-toxic and environmentally acceptable refrigerant, which partly operates in transcritical conditions. The heating fluid in particular may include water, which may in particular comprise an anti-corrosive additive. In an embodiment the method of operating a refrigeration and heating system includes the step of controlling a controllable valve, which is connected between the outlet and the inlet of the heating circuit side of the coupling heat exchanger, for selectively allowing a portion of the heating fluid to flow di rectly from an outlet to an inlet of the heating circuit side of the coupling heat exchanger bypassing the at least one heat consumer.

In an embodiment the method of operating a refrigeration and heating system includes the step of controlling an adj ustable heat exchanger bypass valve for selectively allowing a portion of the heating fluid to bypass the coupling heat exchanger in order to increase the temperature of the refrigerant circulating within the refrigeration circuit.

In an embodiment the method may further include measuring the temperature of the refrigerant circulating within the refrigeration circuit and/or the temperature of the heating fluid circulating within the heating circuit and controlling the controllable valve, the adjustable heat exchanger bypass valve and/or the at least one compressor based on the measured temperature of the circulating refrigerant and/or the measured temperature of the heating fluid, respectively, in order to set an optimal operating point of the refrigeration circuit.

Alternatively or additionally the method may further include measuring the pressure of the refrigerant circulating within the refrigeration circuit, in particular upstream the high pressure control valve and controlling the controllable bypass valve, the adjustable heat exchanger bypass valve and/or the at least one compressor based on the measured pressure in order to set the optimal point of operation of the refrigeration circuit.

In an embodiment the method may further comprise measuring the ambient temperature and controlling the controllable valve based on the measured ambient temperature and/or determining the heating and/or cooling demands and controlling the controllable valve, the adjustable heat exchanger bypass valve and/or the at least one compressor based on said demands.

The method may also include to determine the heating and/or cooling demands and controlling the controllable valve, the adjustable heat exchanger bypass valve and/or the at least one compressor based on said demands.

While the invention has been described with reference to exemplary embodiments, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes may be made and equivalents may be substituted for elements thereof without departing from the scope of the invention. In addition many modifications may be made to adopt a particular situation or material to the teachings of the invention without departing from the essential scope thereof. Therefore, it is intended that the invention not be limited to the particular embodiment disclosed, but that the invention include all embodiments falling within the scope of the dependent claims.

References

2a, 2b refrigeration and heating system

4 refrigeration circuit

6a, 6b, 6c at least one compressor

6d flash gas compressor

7a, 7b, 7c, 7d compressor inlet lines

8 coupling heat exchanger

8a refrigeration circuit side of the heat exchanger

8b heating circuit side of the heat exchanger

10 gas cooler;

10a inlet side of the gas cooler;

10b outlet side of the gas cooler;

12 high pressure control device

14 medium pressure expansion device

16 evaporator

18 gas cooler bypass line

20 heating circuit

22 heat consumer

23 heating fluid bypass valve

24 gas cooler bypass valve

26 refrigerant receiver

28 flash gas line

29 flash gas compressor line

30 flash gas valve / medium pressure control valve

32 flash gas heat exchanger

34 heat exchanger bypass valve / adjustable mixing valve

36 heating fluid pump

38 control unit

40 refrigerant pressure sensor

42 refrigerant temperature sensor

44 heating fluid temperature sensor

46 ambient air temperature sensor