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Experimental evaluation of a novel absorption heat pump module for solar cooling applications.

Number: pap. n. 86

Author(s) : BLACKMAN C., BALES C.


Given the environmental benefits of utilising free thermal energy sources, such as waste heat and solar thermal energy for cooling purposes, many developments in the realm of heat driven cooling have come about. However, there are still some barriers to the general commercialisation and market penetration of such technologies which are associated with system and installation costs, complexity and maintenance. In efforts to overcome these limitations, a novel absorption heat pump module has been developed and tested. The module comprises a fully encapsulated sorption tube containing hygroscopic salt sorbent and water as a refrigerant, sealed under vacuum and within which there are no moving parts. The absorption module consists of two main components, one which alternately functions as an absorber or generator while the other alternates between the roles of evaporator and condenser. The module therefore operates cyclically between a cooling delivery phase and a regeneration phase. Via heat exchangers, individual absorption modules may be interconnected in parallel or in series to provide various cooling and heating power outputs, energy storage capacities and temperature lifts. Each module has a significant energy storage capacity with cooling delivery phases ranging from 6 to 10 hours in length with temperature lifts between 16°C and 25°C. Due to their high energy storage capacity, modules are optimised for integration directly into a solar thermal collector, where they may be installed on a roof or façade for daytime regeneration and night time cooling delivery. Collector integrated modules would work as completely modular maintenance-free absorption heat pumps with very similar installation requirements to a standard solar thermal collector, thus reducing installation costs and system complexity. Modules may also be integrated for implementation similar to that of a standard adsorption chiller. Some modules would be in the regeneration mode while others in the cooling delivery mode swapping between modes to provide quasi-continuous cooling. The long cycle times of the absorption process improves the system’s overall coefficient of performance and advantageously causes the system to be less influenced by the variability of solar energy. This paper describes the test method and performance characteristics for the individual absorption modules. By means of experiment, test sequences with constant and variable irradiation levels were used to determine effective energy storage capacities, average cooling powers, average heating powers and coefficients of performance, over the entire cycle times for different module designs and various temperature lifts.

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  • Original title: Experimental evaluation of a novel absorption heat pump module for solar cooling applications.
  • Record ID : 30014369
  • Languages: English
  • Source: International sorption heat pump conference (ISHPC2014), College Park, United States, March 31-April 2, 2014.
  • Publication date: 2014/03/02


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