Rotary Compressors – The rotary compressor used in HVAC applications for air conditioning and heating systems offer some of the most efficient air conditioner and heat pump systems one can find on the market. Despite the rotary compressor being a key component of an air-source air conditioner or heat pump the efficiency offered by this compressor when used as a modulating compressor can exceed efficiency ratings of some geothermal systems. When the compressor is coupled with an inverter and the proper inverter control system the efficiency of the air-source air conditioner or heat pump system spike to match those of some geothermal air conditioner or heat pump systems.
Comparison of Rotary Compressors Versus the Others
Like the reciprocating compressor and the scroll compressor used in HVAC applications, the rotary compressor compresses refrigerant vapor thereby raising its temperature and by raising the pressure of the refrigerant as all refrigerants have a temperature/pressure relationship. This is referred to as vapor compression refrigeration.
Rotary compressors used in HVAC applications are mostly either rotary vane compressors or rotary screw compressors with the rotary vane compressors being used in smaller HVAC applications such as residential split systems and mini-split ductless systems and the rotary screw being used in larger HVAC applications such as commercial chillers including process and industrial HVAC applications. Vibration issues are negligible for the rotary screw making it ideal for larger HVAC applications.
Modulation is the Future
Both the rotary vane compressor and the rotary screw compressors are suitable for modulating making the two types of compressors ideal for running at demand load as long as they are controlled properly. While modulating controls add to the total cost of the modulating compressor system the system is much more efficient thereby reducing operating costs and saving energy and energy dollars over the life of the equipment that utilizes modulating compressors.