(19)
(11)EP 3 725 636 A1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT APPLICATION
published in accordance with Art. 153(4) EPC

(43)Date of publication:
21.10.2020 Bulletin 2020/43

(21)Application number: 18889563.5

(22)Date of filing:  09.11.2018
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
B61D 27/00(2006.01)
B60L 1/02(2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/JP2018/041739
(87)International publication number:
WO 2019/116801 (20.06.2019 Gazette  2019/25)
(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR
Designated Extension States:
BA ME
Designated Validation States:
KH MA MD TN

(30)Priority: 15.12.2017 JP 2017241009

(71)Applicant: Mitsubishi Electric Corporation
Tokyo 100-8310 (JP)

(72)Inventor:
  • SHINGU Wahei
    Tokyo 100-8310 (JP)

(74)Representative: Studio Torta S.p.A. 
Via Viotti, 9
10121 Torino
10121 Torino (IT)

  


(54)AIR CONDITIONING DEVICE FOR RAILWAY VEHICLE AND AIR CONDITIONING METHOD FOR RAILWAY VEHICLE


(57) A compressor (110) compresses refrigerant using power supplied from an overhead line to a railway vehicle. A cooperating devices group forms, together with the compressor (110), a refrigeration cycle for performing air conditioning of a passenger compartment of the railway vehicle. A compressor heater (200) is supplied power to heat the compressor (110). A power storage device (300) stores, during a time period in which power is supplied from the overhead line to the railway vehicle, a portion of the power, and supplies, during a time period in which power supply from the overhead line to the railway vehicle remains interrupted, power stored therein to the compressor heater (200).




Description

Technical Field



[0001] The present disclosure relates to an air conditioning apparatus for a railway vehicle and an air conditioning method for the railway vehicle.

Background Art



[0002] An air conditioner that performs indoor air conditioning in a room provides a refrigeration cycle by inclusion of a compressor that compresses refrigerant, thereby attaining heat generation or coolness required for performance of the air conditioning. In the air conditioner, the refrigerant may accumulate in liquid form in the compressor while the compressor is stopped and dissolve in lubricating oil in the compressor.

[0003] Such a case leads to dilution of the lubricating oil by the refrigerant, and may cause galling at portions of the compressor where members thereof slide against one another upon activation of the compressor. Further, such a case may also lead to overloading of the compressor as the compressor tries to compress the liquid refrigerant accumulated in the compressor.

[0004] Thus, as disclosed in Patent Literature 1, an air conditioning device that includes a heater for heating a compressor is proposed. Heating the compressor by use of the heater before activating the compressor enables gasification of refrigerant accumulated in the compressor and separation of the refrigerant from the lubricating oil, thereby preventing or reducing occurrence of the galling and overloading described above.

Citation List


Patent Literature



[0005] Patent Literature 1: Unexamined Japanese Patent Application Kokai Publication No. H8-261571

Summary of Invention


Technical Problem



[0006] However, in a railway vehicle, not only a compressor but also a heater that heats the compressor is required to be supplied power from an overhead line. As a pantograph is lowered after operation of the railway vehicle ends, power supply from the overhead line to the heater cannot be achieved despite the stopped state of the compressor.

[0007] That is to say, in the railway vehicle, the heater provided for heating the compressor cannot heat the compressor until the pantograph is raised and is electrically connected to the overhead line. This creates difficulty in preventing or reducing the occurrence of galling and overloading described above to achieve long lasting use of the compressor.

[0008] An objective of the present disclosure is to provide an air conditioning apparatus for a railway vehicle and an air conditioning method for the railway vehicle that enable long lasting use of a compressor installed in the railway vehicle.

Solution to Problem



[0009] In order to achieve the aforementioned objective, an air conditioning apparatus for a railway vehicle of the present disclosure includes:

a compressor to compress refrigerant using power supplied from an overhead line to the railway vehicle;

a cooperating devices group to form, together with the compressor, a refrigeration cycle in which the refrigerant circulates, for performing air conditioning of a passenger compartment of the railway vehicle;

a compressor heater to heat the compressor by power supplied to the compressor heater; and

a power storage device to (i) store, during a time period in which power is supplied from the overhead line to the railway vehicle, a portion of the power, and (ii) supply, during a time period in which power supply from the overhead line to the railway vehicle remains interrupted, power stored therein to the compressor heater.


Advantageous Effects of Invention



[0010] The above-described configuration enables power stored in the power storage device to be supplied to the compressor heater to achieve heating of the compressor by the compressor heater during a time period in which the compressor is stopped due to interruption of power supply from the overhead line to the railway vehicle.

[0011] This facilitates gasification of the refrigerant in the compressor, preventing occurrence of malfunction of the compressor caused by accumulation of the liquid refrigerant in the compressor. Thus, long lasting use of a compressor installed in a railway vehicle can be achieved.

Brief Description of Drawings



[0012] 

FIG. 1 is a schematic diagram illustrating an arrangement of an air conditioning apparatus for a railway vehicle according to Embodiment 1;

FIG. 2 is a schematic diagram illustrating a configuration of an air conditioning device according to Embodiment 1;

FIG. 3 is a schematic diagram illustrating a main part of the air conditioning apparatus for a railway vehicle according to Embodiment 1;

FIG. 4 is a flowchart illustrating charging-discharging control according to Embodiment 1;

FIG. 5 is a schematic diagram illustrating a main part of an air conditioning apparatus for a railway vehicle according to Embodiment 2;

FIG. 6 is a flowchart illustrating charging-discharging control according to Embodiment 2;

FIG. 7 is a flowchart illustrating charging-discharging control according to Embodiment 3;

FIG. 8 is a schematic diagram illustrating a main part of an air conditioning apparatus for a railway vehicle according to Embodiment 4;

FIG. 9 is a flowchart illustrating charging-discharging control according to Embodiment 4;

FIG. 10 is a flowchart illustrating charging-discharging control according to Embodiment 5; and

FIG. 11 is a schematic diagram illustrating a main part of an air conditioning apparatus for a railway vehicle according to Embodiment 6.


Description of Embodiments



[0013] Hereinafter Embodiments 1-6 of an air conditioning apparatus for a railway vehicle according to the present disclosure are described with reference to the drawings. In the drawings, components having the same or equivalent are assigned the same reference signs.

Embodiment 1



[0014] As illustrated in FIG. 1, an air conditioning apparatus 600 for a railway vehicle according to the present embodiment is installed in a railway vehicle TR. The railway vehicle TR includes a pantograph PG that is to be brought electrically into contact with an overhead line WR and functions as a current collector, and an auxiliary circuit AP that functions as a power supply circuit for converting power supplied from the overhead line WR via the pantograph PG into a form consumable by equipment devices installed in the vehicle.

[0015] In the present embodiment, the auxiliary circuit AP includes a power inverter to convert direct-current power supplied from the overhead line WR via the pantograph PG into an alternating-current form. The equipment devices to which the auxiliary circuit AP supplies power are various loads installed in the railway vehicle TR other than a traction motor for propelling the railway vehicle TR.

[0016] The air conditioning apparatus 600 includes an air conditioning device 100 that is supplied power from the auxiliary circuit AP. The air conditioning device 100 performs air conditioning of a passenger compartment of the railway vehicle TR. Hereinafter a configuration of the air conditioning device 100 is described in detail with reference to FIG. 2.

[0017] As illustrated in FIG. 2, the air conditioning device 100 includes a compressor 110 that compresses refrigerant and a cooperating devices group 120 that forms, together with the compressor 110, a refrigeration cycle in which the refrigerant circulates for performing air conditioning of a passenger compartment of the railway vehicle TR.

[0018] The cooperating devices group 120 includes a condenser 121 that condenses the refrigerant compressed by the compressor 110, an expander 122 that expands the condensed refrigerant, an evaporator 123 that evaporates the expanded refrigerant and returns the evaporated refrigerant to the compressor 110, and a refrigerant piping 124 that circulates the refrigerant through the condenser 121, the expander 122 and the evaporator 123.

[0019] The cooperating devices group 120 further includes a check valve 125 that is arranged on the refrigerant piping 124 provided from the compressor 110 to the condenser 121 and a liquid line electromagnetic valve 126 that is arranged on the refrigerant piping 124 provided between the condenser 121 and the expander 122.

[0020] The check valve 125 prevents the refrigerant in liquid form from counterflowing from the condenser 121 into the compressor 110. The liquid line electromagnetic valve 126 limits an amount of the liquid refrigerant flowing from the condenser 121 to the expander 122 and prevents, during operation stoppage of the compressor 110, the liquid refrigerant from moving in the refrigerant piping 124.

[0021] The cooperating devices group 120 further includes a condenser fan 127 that facilitates heat exchange with air performed by the condenser 121 and an evaporator fan 128 that facilitates heat exchange with air performed by the evaporator 123. In performing heating, the condenser fan 127 blows heated air obtained by heat exchange performed by the condenser 121 to the passenger compartment of the railway vehicle TR. In performing cooling, the evaporator fan 128 blows cooled air obtained by heat exchange performed by the evaporator 123 to the passenger compartment of the railway vehicle TR.

[0022] The condenser fan 127 and the evaporator fan 128 are supplied power via the auxiliary circuit AP of FIG. 1 to operate. Similarly, the compressor 110 is supplied via the auxiliary circuit AP of FIG. 1 to operate.

[0023] As illustrated in FIG. 3, the compressor 110 includes a drive shaft 111, a motor 112 that rotates the drive shaft 111, a compression mechanism 113 that compresses the refrigerant using rotation of the drive shaft 111, and a housing 114 to house the drive shaft 111, the motor 112 and the compression mechanism 113. The motor 112 is electrically connected to a power supply line APL that is a part of the auxiliary circuit AP of FIG. 1, and is supplied power via the power supply line APL to operate.

[0024] The compressor 110 is arranged sideways, that is, arranged such that the drive shaft 111 inclines with respect to the vertical direction. Further, although not illustrated, lubricating oil is accumulated at portions in the housing 114 of the compressor 110 that may come in contact with the refrigerant. The lubricating oil reduces friction that occurs at a bearing of the drive shaft 111 and portions of the compression mechanism 113 where members thereof slide against one another.

[0025] In employing the above-described compressor 110, the refrigerant may accumulate in liquid form in the housing 114 during interruption of power supply from power supply line APL to the motor 112 and dissolve in the lubricating oil in the housing 114. Arranging the compressor 110 sideways leads to a larger contact surface area between the lubricating oil and the refrigerant than in arranging upright, increasing the likelihood that the refrigerant dissolves in the lubricating oil.

[0026] Occurrence of dissolution of the refrigerant in the lubricating oil leads to dilution of the lubricating oil by the refrigerant, and may cause occurrence of galling at the bearing of the drive shaft 111 and in the compression mechanism 113 upon activation of the motor 112. Further, such a case may lead to overloading of the motor 112 as the compression mechanism 113 tries to compress the liquid refrigerant accumulated in the housing 114.

[0027] Thus, in the present embodiment, the housing 114 is heated to prevent or reduce accumulation of the liquid refrigerant in the housing 114. Hereinafter this configuration is described in detail with reference to FIG. 3.

[0028] As illustrated in FIG. 3, the air conditioning apparatus 600 according to the present embodiment includes a compressor heater 200 that is supplied power from an exterior to heat the compressor 110 and a power storage device 300 that supplies power to the compressor heater 200.

[0029] The compressor heater 200 includes a resistance heating element that converts power supplied from the exterior to Joule heat. The compressor heater 200 is attached to the outer surface of the housing 114 of the compressor 110 to heat at least the portion of the compressor 110 where the lubricating oil is accumulated.

[0030] The power storage device 300 includes a capacitor 310 that stores power to be supplied to the compressor heater 200 and a controller 320 that performs charging-discharging control for controlling the timings at which charging of and discharging from the capacitor 310 are performed. The capacitor 310 is electrically connected to the auxiliary circuit AP of FIG. 1 via the power supply line APL.

[0031] The power storage device 300 further includes a rectifier 330 arranged on a transmission line extending from the power supply line APL to the capacitor 310. The rectifier 330 rectifies a three-phase alternating-current voltage supplied from the power supply line APL. A direct-current voltage obtained by rectification performed by the rectifier 330 charges the capacitor 310.

[0032] In the present embodiment, the capacitor 310 has a storage capacity that enables supplying, for a time period no less than a time period from the end of operation of the railway vehicle TR to the start of operation of the railway vehicle TR, to the compressor heater 200 power for allowing the compressor heater 200 to generate heat in an amount sufficient for facilitating gasification of the refrigerant accumulated in the compressor 110.

[0033] The power storage device 300 further includes an electrification detector 340 arranged on the transmission line extending from the power supply line APL to the capacitor 310. The electrification detector 340 detects whether the capacitor 310 is chargeable from the power supply line APL. Specifically, the electrification detector 340 detects whether electrical potential of the power supply line APL is greater than or equal to a predetermined value.

[0034] The power storage device 300 further includes a remaining power meter 350 that detects how much power remains left in the capacitor 310. The controller 320 determines, when performing the charging-discharging control, whether a remaining amount of power in the capacitor 310 reaches an upper limit indicating that the capacitor 310 is sufficiently charged and whether a remaining amount of power in the capacitor 310 reaches a lower limit indicating the lowest acceptable value.

[0035] The power storage device 300 further includes a charging switch 360 arranged on the transmission line extending from the power supply line APL to the capacitor 310 and a discharging switch 370 arranged on a transmission line extending from the capacitor 310 to the compressor heater 200.

[0036] When the charging switch 360 is turned on, charging of the capacitor 310 starts. When the charging switch 360 is turned off, charging of the capacitor 310 stops. When the discharging switch 370 is turned on, discharging from the capacitor 310 to the compressor heater 200 starts. When the discharging switch 370 is turned off, discharging from the capacitor 310 to the compressor heater 200 stops.

[0037] The controller 320 controls, when performing the above-described charging-discharging control, the charging switch 360 and the discharging switch 370 based on detection results obtained by the electrification detector 340 and the remaining power meter 350. Further, the controller 320 is also supplied power from the capacitor 310 to operate. This allows the controller 320 to operate even after interruption of power supply from the power supply line APL.

[0038] The controller 320 includes a memory 322 that stores a control program 321 defining operations to be performed in the charging-discharging control and a processor 323 that reads the control program 321 from the memory 322 and executes the control program 321. The processor 323 executes the control program 321 to achieve the charging-discharging control. Hereinafter the charging-discharging control is described in detail with reference to FIG. 4.

[0039] As illustrated in FIG. 4, in the present embodiment, both the charging switch 360 and the discharging switch 370 are taken to be in an off-state (step S101).

[0040] First, the processor 323 determines, based on the detection result obtained by the electrification detector 340, whether power is being supplied from the overhead line WR to the auxiliary circuit AP (step S102). When the detection results obtained by the electrification detector 340 indicates that power being supplied to the power supply line APL has a value greater than or equal to a predetermined value, the processor 323 determines that power is being supplied from the overhead line WR to the auxiliary circuit AP. When the detection results obtained by the electrification detector 340 indicate that power being supplied to the power supply line APL has a value less than the predetermined value, the processor 323 determines that the power supply from the overhead line WR to the auxiliary circuit AP is interrupted.

[0041] Here, when the compressor 110 is being supplied power from the auxiliary circuit AP and is operating, heating of the compressor 110 need not be performed. Thus, when power is being supplied from the overhead line WR to the auxiliary circuit AP (Yes in step S102), the processor 323 determines whether the discharging switch 370 is in an on-state (step S103), and when the discharging switch 370 is in the on-state (Yes in step S103), turns off the discharging switch 370 (step S104).

[0042] When the discharging switch 370 is turned off in step S104 or when the discharging switch 370 is in the off-state in step S103 (No in step S103), the processor 323 checks whether charging of the capacitor 310 is completed.

[0043] Specifically, the processor 323 determines, based on the detection result obtained by the remaining power meter 350, whether a remaining amount of power stored in the capacitor 310 (hereinafter the amount is referred to as a remaining stored power amount) is greater than or equal to an upper limit indicating that the capacitor 310 is sufficiently charged (step S105).

[0044] When the remaining stored power amount in the capacitor 310 is lower than the upper limit (No in step S105), the processor 323 turns on the charging switch 360 to start charging of the capacitor 310 (step S106), and then the processing returns to step S102. This allows, during a time period in which power is being supplied from the overhead line WR to the auxiliary circuit AP, continuous charging of the capacitor 310 until a remaining stored power amount reaches the upper limit.

[0045] Here, in performing charging of the capacitor 310 in step S106, the compressor 110 is operating using power supplied from the power supply line APL as power is supplied from the overhead line WR to the auxiliary circuit AP. Thus, a portion of power supplied from the overhead line WR to the auxiliary circuit AP that enables operation of the compressor 110 is stored in the capacitor 310 during operation of the compressor 110.

[0046] On the other hand, when the remaining stored power amount in the capacitor 310 is greater than or equal to the upper limit in step S105 (Yes in step S105), the processor 323 determines whether the charging switch 360 is in an on-state (step S107). When the charging switch 360 is in the on-state (Yes in step S107), the processor 323 turns off the charging switch 360 (step S108), and then the processing returns to step S102. When the charging switch 360 is in the off-state (No in step S107), the processing directly returns to step S102.

[0047] As described above, when the remaining stored power amount in the capacitor 310 reaches the upper limit, the charging switch 360 is turned off in step S108. This prevents the power supply line APL from applying voltage to the capacitor 310 for a time period no less than necessary, thereby slowing deterioration of the capacitor 310.

[0048] On the other hand, when the processor 323 determines in step S102 that the power supply from the overhead line WR to the auxiliary circuit AP is interrupted (No in step S102), this determination result indicates that the compressor 110 is stopped by the pantograph PG being lowered after the end of operation of the railway vehicle TR. In such a case, the processor 323 performs the following steps.

[0049] First, to prevent unnecessary discharging from the capacitor 310 to the power supply line APL, the processor 323 determines whether the charging switch 360 is in the on-state (step S109). When the charging switch 360 is in the on-state (Yes in step S109), the processor 323 turns off the charging switch 360 (step S 110).

[0050] When turning off the charging switch 360 in step S110 or when the charging switch 360 is in the off-state in step S109 (No in step S109), the processor 323 checks whether power can be supplied to the compressor heater 200. Specifically, the processor 323 determines, based on the detection result obtained by the remaining power meter 350, whether the remaining stored power amount in the capacitor 310 is greater than or equal to the lower limit indicating the lowest acceptable value (step Sill).

[0051] Next, when the remaining stored power amount in the capacitor 310 is greater than or equal to the lower limit (Yes in step Sill), the processor 323 turns on the discharging switch 370 to start discharging from the capacitor 310 to the compressor heater 200 (step S112), and then the processing returns to step S102.

[0052] This allows continuous power supply from the capacitor 310 to the compressor heater 200 until power supply from the overhead line WR to the auxiliary circuit AP resumes by the pantograph PG being raised or the remaining stored power amount reaches the lower limit.

[0053] As described above, the capacitor 310 has a storage capacity that enables supplying power to the compressor heater 200 for a time period no less than a time period from the end of operation of the railway vehicle TR to the start of operation of the railway vehicle TR. This, in principle, allows continuous power supply from the capacitor 310 to the compressor heater 200 until power supply from the overhead line WR to the auxiliary circuit AP resumes by the pantograph PG being raised.

[0054] However, the remaining stored power amount in the capacitor 310 might reach the lower limit during interruption of power supply from the overhead line WR to the auxiliary circuit AP in case of insufficient charging of the capacitor 310 during the latest operating time period of the railway vehicle TR or extension of the time period from the end of operation of the railway vehicle TR to the start of operation of the railway vehicle TR.

[0055] Thus, when the remaining stored power amount in the capacitor 310 reaches the lower limit in step S111 (No in step S111), the processor 323 determines whether the discharging switch 370 is in the on-state (step S113). When the discharging switch 370 is in the on-state (Yes in step S113), the processor 323 turns off the discharging switch 370 (step S114), and then the processing returns to step S102. When the discharging switch 370 is in the off-state (No in step S113), the processing directly returns to step S102.

[0056] Turning off the discharging switch 370 in step S114 allows the capacitor 310 to have remaining stored power amount that is about the lower limit. This lowers the probability of occurrence of interruption of power supply from the capacitor 310 to the processor 323 to be used for performing the charging-discharging control even in interruption of power supply from the overhead line WR to the auxiliary circuit AP.

[0057] As described above, in the present embodiment, power stored in the capacitor 310 is supplied to the compressor heater 200 during a time period in which the compressor 110 is stopped due to interruption of power supply from the overhead line WR to the railway vehicle TR, thereby allowing the compressor heater 200 to heat the compressor 110. Such configuration facilitates gasification of the refrigerant in the compressor 110, and prevents occurrence of malfunction of the compressor 110 caused by accumulation of the liquid refrigerant in the compressor 110, thereby achieving long lasting use of the compressor 110 installed in the railway vehicle TR.

Embodiment 2



[0058] Although a timing at which power supply from the capacitor 310 to the compressor heater 200 stops is determined based on the detection result obtained by the electrification detector 340 in Embodiment 1 described above, the timing at which power supply from the capacitor 310 to the compressor heater 200 stops may be determined based on an elapsed time. A case of employing such configuration is described below.

[0059] As illustrated in FIG. 5, the air conditioning apparatus 600 according to the present embodiment further includes a timer 400 that functions as timer means for measuring elapsed time. The timer 400 measures elapsed time from the time point at which the processor 323 instructs the timer 400 to start time measurement.

[0060] As illustrated in FIG. 6, when the remaining stored power amount is greater than or equal to the lower limit in the aforementioned step Sill (Yes in step S111), the processor 323 turns on the discharging switch 370 and instructs the timer 400 to start the time measurement (step S200). Next, the processor 323 refers to a measurement result obtained by the timer 400 and determines whether a predetermined heating time as a time for heating the compressor 110 has elapsed from the time point at which the processor 323 instructed the timer 400 to start time measurement (step S201).

[0061] When the heating time has not elapsed (No in step S201), the processor 323 returns the processing to the aforementioned step S111. When the heating time has elapsed (Yes in step S201), the processor 323 shifts the processing to the aforementioned step S113.

[0062] When the charging switch 360 is in the off-state in the aforementioned step S109 (No in step S109) or when having ended the processing in the aforementioned step S110, the processor 323 determines whether heating of the compressor 110 for the heating time is completed (step S202). When already completed (Yes in step S202), the processor 323 returns the processing to the aforementioned step S102, and when not already finished (No in step S202), the processor 323 shifts the processing to the aforementioned step S111. Configurations and operations other than described above of the present embodiment are the same as those of Embodiment 1.

[0063] According to the present embodiment, a timing at which power supply from the capacitor 310 to the compressor heater 200 stops is determined based on the heating time. That is to say, when supplying of a required amount of heat to the compressor 110 is completed, power supply from the capacitor 310 to the compressor heater 200 stops prior to resumption of the power supply from the overhead line WR to the auxiliary circuit AP. The required amount of heat indicates an amount of heat that achieves, at the time point of activating the compressor 110, a temperature in the compressor 110 for facilitating gasification of the refrigerant.

[0064] This allows reduction of the storage capacity of the capacitor 310 to a minimum necessary amount, leading to reduction of the size of the capacitor 310 and reduction of power consumed thereby.

Embodiment 3



[0065] Although the timer 400 measures elapsed time in Embodiment 2 described above, the timer 400 may measure clock time. Further, although a timing at which power supply to the compressor heater 200 stops is determined based on the measurement result obtained by the timer 400 in Embodiment 2 described above, a timing at which power supply to the compressor heater 200 starts may be determined based on the measurement result obtained by the timer 400. A case of employing such configuration is described below.

[0066] In the present embodiment, as illustrated in FIG. 7, when the remaining stored power amount in the capacitor 310 is greater than or equal to the lower limit in the aforementioned step S111 (Yes in step S111), the processor 323 refers to the measurement result obtained by the timer 400 and determines whether a predetermined clock time for heating, as a clock time at which heating of the compressor 110 is to be started, has come (step S301).

[0067] Next, when the clock time for heating has not come (No in step S301), the processor 323 returns the processing to the determination processing in step S301. That is to say, the determination in step S301 is repeated until the clock time for heating comes. Then, when the clock time for heating has come (Yes in step S301), the processor 323 shifts the processing to the aforementioned step S112.

[0068] According to the present embodiment, heating of the compressor 110 need not be performed during a time period from when the power supply from the overhead line WR to the auxiliary circuit AP is interrupted until the clock time for heating comes. This allows reduction of the storage capacity of the capacitor 310 than in Embodiment 1, leading to reduction of the size of the capacitor 310 and reduction of power consumed thereby.

Embodiment 4



[0069] In Embodiments 2 and 3 described above, a timing at which power supply from the capacitor 310 to the compressor heater 200 starts or stops is determined based on elapsed time or whether a predetermined clock time has come. However a timing at which power supply from the capacitor 310 to the compressor heater 200 starts may be determined based on a temperature of the compressor 110. A case of employing such configuration is described below.

[0070] As illustrated in FIG. 8, the air conditioning apparatus 600 according to the present embodiment further includes a temperature detection device 500 that detects a temperature. The temperature detection device 500 includes a compressor temperature detector 510 that detects a temperature of the compressor 110 and a cooperating-devices group temperature detector 520 that detects temperatures of the cooperating devices group 120 illustrated in FIG. 2. The cooperating-devices group temperature detector 520 detects the temperatures of the condenser 121, the expander 122, the evaporator 123 and the refrigerant piping 124 illustrated in FIG. 2.

[0071] As illustrated in FIG. 9, when the remaining stored power amount in the capacitor 310 is greater than or equal to the lower limit in the aforementioned step Sill (Yes in step S111), the processor 323 determines, based on a detection result obtained by the temperature detection device 500, whether the temperature of the compressor 110 is higher than or equal to the temperatures of the cooperating devices group 120 (step S401).

[0072] Specifically, the processor 323 determines, in step S401, whether the temperature of the compressor 110 detected by the compressor temperature detector 510 is higher than or equal to each of the temperatures of the condenser 121, the expander 122, the evaporator 123 and the refrigerant piping 124 that are detected by the cooperating-devices group temperature detector 520.

[0073] Then, when the temperature of the compressor 110 is lower than the temperatures of the cooperating devices group 120 (No in step S401), the processor 323 turns on the discharging switch 370 to start discharging from the capacitor 310 to the compressor heater 200 (step S112).

[0074] On the other hand, when the temperature of the compressor 110 becomes higher than or equal to each of the temperatures of the condenser 121, the expander 122, the evaporator 123 and the refrigerant piping 124 (Yes in step S401), the processor 323 shifts the processing to the aforementioned step S113 and turns off the discharging switch 370 (step S114).

[0075] According to the present embodiment, even after interruption of power supply from the overhead line WR to the auxiliary circuit AP, heating of the compressor 110 is performed only when the temperature of the compressor 110 is lower than the temperatures of the cooperating devices group 120. This allows reduction of wasteful consumption of power stored in the capacitor 310.

[0076] Hereinafter this point is described in detail. Refrigerant has a characteristic of moving from a warm place to a cold place. Thus, the refrigerant is apt to accumulate in the compressor 110 when the temperature of the compressor 110 is lower than the temperatures of the cooperating devices group 120. To address such a case, heating of the compressor 110 is performed in the present embodiment to gasify the refrigerant in the compressor 110.

[0077] On the other hand, when the temperature of the compressor 110 is higher than or equal to the temperatures of the cooperating devices group 120, it is hard to say that the refrigerant is apt to accumulate in the compressor 110. In such a case, heating the compressor 110 has little significance. Thus, in the present embodiment in a case where the temperature of the compressor 110 reaches a temperature higher than or equal to the temperatures of the cooperating devices group 120, the discharging switch 370 is to be turned off even after power supply from the capacitor 310 to the compressor heater 200 starts.

[0078] Such configuration prevents unnecessary heating of the compressor 110 and allows reduction of wasteful consumption of power stored in the capacitor 310. Further, optimizing the power supplied to the compressor heater 200 in such a manner allows reduction of the storage capacity of the capacitor 310, leading to reduction of the size of the capacitor 310.

Embodiment 5



[0079] Although a timing at which power supply to the compressor heater 200 starts is determined based on temperatures in Embodiment 4 described above, a timing at which power supply to the compressor heater 200 stops may be determined based on temperatures. A case of employing such configuration is described below.

[0080] In the present embodiment, as illustrated in FIG. 10, when a determination is made that the discharging switch 370 is in the on-state in step S103 (Yes in step S103), the processor 323 determines, based on the detection result obtained by the temperature detection device 500 of FIG. 8, whether the temperature of the compressor 110 is higher than or equal to the temperatures of the cooperating devices group 120 (step S501).

[0081] When the temperature of the compressor 110 is higher than or equal to the temperatures of the cooperating devices group 120 (Yes in step S501), the processor 323 turns off the discharging switch 370 (step S104). When the temperature of the compressor 110 is lower than the temperatures of the cooperating devices group 120 (No in step S501), the processor 323 returns the processing to the aforementioned step Sill.

[0082] According to the present embodiment, power supply from the capacitor 310 to the compressor heater 200 may be performed continuously until the temperature of the compressor 110 reaches a temperature higher than or equal to the temperatures of the cooperating devices group 120 even after power supply from the overhead line WR to the auxiliary circuit AP starts. That is to say, a time period from the start time of power supply from the overhead line WR to the auxiliary circuit AP by the pantograph PG of the railway vehicle TR being raised to (i) the activation time of the compressor 110 or (ii) a time immediately after activation of the compressor 110 may be effectively used to heat the compressor 110.

[0083] Then, upon confirmation that the temperature of the compressor 110 reaches a temperature higher than or equal to the temperatures of the cooperating devices group 120, that is, upon confirmation that a state of the compressor 110 becomes a state in which the refrigerant is less likely to accumulate in liquid form in the compressor 110, power supply from the capacitor 310 to the compressor heater 200 stops. This allows much more reduction in the probability of occurrence of malfunction in the compressor 110.

Embodiment 6



[0084] In Embodiment 1 described above, the compressor heater 200 is attached to the housing 114 of the compressor 110 as illustrated in FIG. 3. However, any portion of the compressor 110 may be heated. A case of heating another portion of the compressor 110 is described below.

[0085] As illustrated in FIG. 11, the compressor 110 includes a suction pipe 115 that sucks in the refrigerant and an ejection pipe 116 that ejects the refrigerant sucked in from the suction pipe 115 and compressed. In the present embodiment, the compressor heater 210 is attached to the suction pipe 115 and the ejection pipe 116. The compressor heater 210 heats the suction pipe 115 and the ejection pipe 116.

[0086] Heating the suction pipe 115 and the ejection pipe 116 enables prevention of or reduction in accumulation of the liquid refrigerant in the housing 114. Further, even as the liquid refrigerant flows from the evaporator 123 of FIG. 2 to the compressor 110, heating the suction pipe 115 enables gasification of the refrigerant in the suction pipe 115.

[0087] Further, even as the liquid refrigerant flows from the condenser 121 of FIG. 2 to the compressor 110, heating the ejection pipe 116 enables gasification of the refrigerant in the ejection pipe 116. Thus, heating the ejection pipe 116 has significance especially in omitting the check valve 125 of FIG. 2.

[0088] According to the present embodiment, the following effects can be obtained. Each of the suction pipe 115 and the ejection pipe 116 has less heat capacity than the housing 114. Thus, the present embodiment enables heating of the suction pipe 115 and the ejection pipe 116 with power lower than that used to heat the housing 114.

[0089] This allows greater reduction of the storage capacity of the capacitor 310 than in Embodiment 1, leading to greater reduction of the size of the capacitor 310 and greater reduction of power consumed thereby.

[0090] Further, supplying to the compressor heater 210 power that is similar to the power supplied to the compressor heater 200 in Embodiment 1 enables heating of the suction pipe 115 and the ejection pipe 116 to a temperature higher than or equal to the temperature of the housing 114 of Embodiment 1.

[0091] While embodiments according to the present disclosure are described above, the present disclosure is not limited to the above-described embodiments, and modifications as described below may be made.

[0092] Aforementioned Embodiment 1 describes a case in which the cooperating devices group 120 includes the check valve 125 and the liquid line electromagnetic valve 126, as illustrated in FIG. 2. Inclusion of the check valve 125 and the liquid line electromagnetic valve 126 enhances the effect of preventing or reducing accumulation of refrigerant in the compressor 110 together with the compressor heater 200 that heats the compressor 110. However, the check valve 125 and the liquid line electromagnetic valve 126 are not necessarily included because the heating of the compressor 110 enables prevention of or reduction in accumulation of the refrigerant in the compressor 110. That is to say, the cooperating devices group 120 may have a configuration that does not include the check valve 125 and the liquid line electromagnetic valve 126. This simplifies the configuration of the cooperating devices group 120.

[0093] In Embodiment 1 described above, the capacitor 310 supplies power stored therein to the compressor heater 200 during interruption of power supply from the overhead line WR to the railway vehicle TR. However, the capacitor 310 may also supply power stored therein to the compressor heater 200 during the supply of power from the overhead line WR to the railway vehicle TR. Specifically, heating of the compressor 110 may also be performed during a time period from the start time of power supply from the overhead line WR to the railway vehicle TR by the pantograph PG of the railway vehicle TR being raised to (i) the activation time of the compressor 110 or (ii) a time immediately after activation of the compressor 110, as in the case described in Embodiment 4.

[0094] In Embodiments 2 and 3 described above, the timer 400 is provided as a structural element separately from the power storage device 300 as illustrated in FIG. 5. However, functions of the timer 400 may be implemented by software instead of hardware. In achieving the functions of the timer 400 using software, the functions of the timer 400 may be included in the controller 320.

[0095] In Embodiment 4 described above, the discharging switch 370 is turned on when the temperature of the compressor 110 is lower than all of the temperatures of the condenser 121, the expander 122, the evaporator 123 and the refrigerant piping 124 of FIG. 2. However, the discharging switch 370 may be set to be turned on when the temperature of the compressor 110 is lower than any one of the temperatures of the condenser 121, the expander 122, the evaporator 123 and the refrigerant piping 124 of FIG. 2. Further, the cooperating-devices group temperature detector 520 may detect at least one of the temperatures of the condenser 121, the expander 122, the evaporator 123 and the refrigerant piping 124 of FIG. 2 as a representative.

[0096] In Embodiment 5 described above, the discharging switch 370 is turned off when the temperature of the compressor 110 is higher than or equal to all of the temperatures of the condenser 121, the expander 122, the evaporator 123 and the refrigerant piping 124 of FIG. 2. As an alternative, the discharging switch 370 may be set to be turned off when the temperature of the compressor 110 is higher than or equal to any one of the temperatures of the condenser 121, the expander 122, the evaporator 123 and the refrigerant piping 124 of FIG. 2.

[0097] In Embodiments 1-6 described above, the auxiliary circuit AP that converts power supplied from the overhead line WR into a form consumable by the compressor 110 and supplies the converted power to the compressor 110 also achieves charging of the capacitor 310. However, charging of the capacitor 310 may be achieved by a main circuit that supplies power supplied from the overhead line WR to the traction motor for propelling the railway vehicle TR.

[0098] The railway vehicle TR as used herein is not limited to a train but includes a Shinkansen, a monorail, and other vehicles that travel along a track. Further, although the overhead line WR extends above the railway vehicle TR in FIG. 1, a position from which the overhead line WR extends in not particularly limited. The overhead line WR as used herein is not limited to an overhead line but includes an overhead rigid conduction line, a third rail, and other means for supplying power to the railway vehicle TR.

[0099] Installing the control program 321 illustrated in FIGS. 3, 5, 8 and 11 in a computer enables the computer to function as the controller 320. The control program 321 may be distributed via a communication network, or may be distributed by storing the program in a computer-readable recording medium such as an optical disk and a flash memory.

[0100] The foregoing describes some example embodiments for explanatory purposes. Although the foregoing discussion has presented specific embodiments, persons skilled in the art will recognize that changes may be made in form and detail without departing from the broader spirit and scope of the invention. Accordingly, the specification and drawings are to be regarded in an illustrative rather than a restrictive sense. This detailed description, therefore, is not to be taken in a limiting sense, and the scope of the invention is defined only by the included claims, along with the full range of equivalents to which such claims are entitled.

[0101] This application claims the benefit of Japanese Patent Application No. 2017-241009, filed on Dec. 15, 2017, the entire disclosure of which is incorporated by reference herein.

Industrial Applicability



[0102] An air conditioning apparatus and an air conditioning method for a railway vehicle according to the present disclosure can be utilized for performing air conditioning of a passenger compartment of the railway vehicle.

Reference Signs List



[0103] 
100
Air conditioning device
110
Compressor
111
Drive shaft
112
Motor
113
Compression mechanism
114
Housing
115
Suction pipe
116
Ejection pipe
120
Cooperating devices group
121
Condenser
122
Expander
123
Evaporator
124
Refrigerant piping
125
Check valve
126
Liquid line electromagnetic valve
127
Condenser fan
128
Evaporator fan
200, 210
Compressor heater
300
Power storage device
310
Capacitor
320
Controller
321
Control program
322
Memory
323
Processor
330
Rectifier
340
Electrification detector
350
Remaining power meter
360
Charging switch
370
Discharging switch
400
Timer (Timer means)
500
Temperature detection device
510
Compressor temperature detector
520
Cooperating-devices group temperature detector
600
Air conditioning apparatus for railway vehicle
TR
Railway vehicle
WR
Overhead line
PG
Pantograph
AP
Auxiliary circuit (Power supply circuit)
APL
Power supply line



Claims

1. An air conditioning apparatus for a railway vehicle, the air conditioning apparatus comprising:

a compressor to compress refrigerant using power supplied from an overhead line to the railway vehicle;

a cooperating devices group to form, together with the compressor, a refrigeration cycle in which the refrigerant circulates, for performing air conditioning of a passenger compartment of the railway vehicle;

a compressor heater to heat the compressor by power supplied to the compressor heater; and

a power storage device to (i) store, during a time period in which power is supplied from the overhead line to the railway vehicle, a portion of the power, and (ii) supply, during a time period in which power supply from the overhead line to the railway vehicle remains interrupted, power stored therein to the compressor heater.


 
2. The air conditioning apparatus according to claim 1, wherein
a power supply circuit is installed in the railway vehicle, the power supply circuit converting the power supplied from the overhead line into a form consumable by the compressor and supplying the converted power to the compressor, and
the power storage device

detects whether power is supplied from the overhead line to the power supply circuit,

stores power output from the power supply circuit when detecting that power is being supplied from the overhead line to the power supply circuit, and

supplies power stored therein to the compressor heater when detecting that power supply from the overhead line to the power supply circuit is interrupted.


 
3. The air conditioning apparatus according to claim 1 or 2, further comprising:
timer means for measuring at least one of an elapsed time or a clock time, wherein
the power storage device determines, based on a measurement result obtained by the timer means, a timing at which the power storage device is to start or stop supplying the power stored therein to the compressor heater.
 
4. The air conditioning apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 3, further comprising:

a temperature detection device to detect temperatures of the compressor and the cooperating devices group, wherein

the power storage device determines, based on a detection result obtained by the temperature detection device, a timing at which the power storage device is to start or stop supplying the power stored therein to the compressor heater.


 
5. The air conditioning apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 4, wherein
the compressor includes (i) a suction pipe to suck in the refrigerant and (ii) an ejection pipe to eject the refrigerant sucked in from the suction pipe and compressed, and
the compressor heater heats the suction pipe and the ejection pipe.
 
6. An air conditioning method for a railway vehicle, the air conditioning method comprising:

a charging step of storing, during a time period in which a refrigeration cycle for performing air conditioning of a passenger compartment of the railway vehicle is formed by a compressor compressing refrigerant using power supplied from an overhead line to the railway vehicle, a portion of the power supplied from the overhead line to the railway vehicle; and

a heating step of heating, during a time period in which power supply from the overhead line to the railway vehicle remains interrupted, the compressor by the power stored in the charging step.


 




Drawing





































Search report







Cited references

REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

Patent documents cited in the description