Energy and Buildings, Vol.155, 425-438, 2017
Experimental verification of a virtual water flowmeter applicable to air conditioning systems
The main purpose of this research is to suggest a virtual water flowmeter applicable in hydraulic systems with low-cost sensors. Practical procedures for realizing virtual water flowmeters for constant flow pumps (i.e., Cases 1 and 2) and variable flow pumps (i.e., Cases 3 and 4) are proposed in this paper. In Case 1, for measuring the water flow rate through a constant flow pump, the pump head was measured and the water flow rate was estimated using the pump characteristic curve obtained from the manufacturer or by deriving an empirical model based on the field measurement data. In Case 2, the water flow rate through a valve with a constant flow pump was estimated by measuring the pressure head between the valve and the valve opening position. The valve characteristic curve can be obtained by deriving an empirical model based on the initial field test results. The water flow rate through the variable flow pump was calculated, using the pump affinity laws and an empirical model, by measuring the frequency (i.e., Case 3) or input power (i.e., Case 4). The initial setup and test procedures for virtual flowmeters are also proposed in this research for practical use in the field. To verify the proposed procedures, experiments were conducted using constant and variable flow pumps in a pilot system. It was found that the virtual water flowmeters showed 2.9% to 6.7% of root mean square error from Case 1 to Case 4, compared with an ultrasonic water flowmeter, through long-term experimental verification. (C) 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.