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Procedure for Balancing an Air Distribution System with Decentralised Fan

Amalie Gunner, Göran Hultmark, Anders Vorre, Alireza Afshari, Niels Christian Bergsøe, 2015
mechanical ventilation | low pressure drop | fan efficiency | low energy use
Bibliographic info: The International Journal of Ventilation, Vol. 13 N°4, March 2015
Languages: English

This paper presents results from an on-going project concerning new design procedures for mechanical ventilation systems with low energy use. Conventional constant air volume (CAV) systems are usually balanced using flat plate dampers. The purpose of using balancing dampers is to intentionally introduce pressure drops in the duct system thus nominal airflows are achieved throughout the ductwork within specified tolerances. However, introduction of pressure drops will increase energy requirement for the ventilation system and in addition, balancing a duct system is a time consuming task and often flawed. This paper presents a new procedure for balancing of CAV systems in combination with decentralised fans. The new system was based on replacing the balancing dampers with decentralised fans. By replacing the balancing dampers with decentralised fans, airflows can be balanced by adjusting the speed of the fans. In conventional air distribution systems the fan provides the necessary pressure to overcome the resistance in the branch with the highest pressure resistance. This gives an unnecessary overpressure in the remaining branches that does not provide any useful purpose. In order to decrease the fan pressure requirements the fan was dimensioned for the branch with the least pressure resistance. The decentralised fans then provided sufficient pressure to overcome the exact resistance in the corresponding branch. The results show that by using decentralised fans in duct systems instead of dampers there is a potential for energy saving. In this study the calculated saving in the power consumption for the main fan was found to be 40%. The results also show that when dampers are replaced with decentralised fans with the same efficiency the overall power saving potential was 16%. In the study a mock-up of the calculated ventilation system was tested. Results from the calculations and the measurements showed a good correlation and the balancing procedure was acceptable.

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