Solar cooling on a district-scale in the South of France

The installation could cut CO2 production by 40 tons annually!
The installation could cut CO2 production by 40 tons annually!

In a press release issued in July 2013, the Montpellier council authority presented a new solar-cooling project for the air conditioning of an urban complex including the “Arche Jacques Coeur” and “l’Amiral”. It comprises over 11 000 m² of offices, 3000 m² of commercial premises and 170 homes.

The 415 000-€ installation, commissioned from SERM, could reduce annual CO2 equivalent emissions by 40 tonnes, i.e. the equivalent of 25 cars travelling 10 000 km. Its annual cooling output is 20 MWh and it can produce 113 MWh domestic hot water per year, covering 14% of the annual cooling and hot water needs, while only consuming 8 MWh electricity. This cooling plant is linked to an existing heat and cooling cogeneration plant.  It uses a 35 kW single-effect lithium-bromide absorption cooling system that produces chilled water with a theoretical annual COP of 16.6.

Mechanical compression in the refrigerant cycle is replaced by thermochemical compression combining simultaneous enhanced heat and pressure.

The heat is provided to the absorption system by 240 m² of solar captors. Excess heat from the operation is evacuated thanks to ventilation cooling. The system then cools an existing secondary cooling glycol-water loop equipped with fan-coil units at its extremities.