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-154

Pergamon Press Ltd., 1979. Printed in Great Britain

0038--092X/7910201-0149l$02.0010

REFRIGERATION SYSTEM OPERATED BY SOLAR ENERGY

S. ALIZADEH,F. BAHARand F. GEOOLA

Materials and Energy Research Centre, Aryamehr University of Tech. P.O. Box 41-2927, Tehran Iran.

(Received 10 March 1978; revision accepted 14 August 1978)

Abstract--A general theoretical study on design and optimisationof the water-lithium bromide and the ammoniawater absorption refrigerationcycles has been undertaken. The results of this study show that in general for fixed

initial conditions and given system refrigerationcapacity higher generator temperature causes higher cooling ratio

with smaller heat exchange surfaces and consequently lower cost. A comparison of the two cycles also indicate

that the water-lithium bromide system is simpler than the ammonia-watersystem and operates at a higher cooling

ratio and smaller heat exchange surfaces for the same conditions.

I. INTRODUCTION

refrigeration cycles including those using water-lithium

bromide and ammonia-water as refrigerant-absorbent

combinations have already been reported by various

authors[l-3]. In this paper further theoretical studies

have been performed considering in particular the design

and optimisation of an absorption refrigeration cycle

operated by solar energy. The water-lithium bromide and

ammonia-water refrigerant-absorbent combinations

were chosen for this study because of their extensive use

in absorption refrigeration systems especially those

operated by solar energy.

(2)

=l(h~-hw)+hw+(RYr

R = yr - y,

y~ - y,

2. CYCLE ANALYSIS

(I)

(3)

or ammonia in the refrigerant vapour leaving the generator (for water-lithium bromide system y, = 0), y, is the

weight concentration of the weak solution (weak in

refrigerant) leaving the generator and ys is the weight

concentration of the strong solution leaving the absorber.

The subscripts in eqns (I) and (2) refer to the states

represented in Figs. 1 and 2, respectively. Equations (1)

and (2) have been evaluated for a number of generator

temperatures with evaporator temperature of 1.7C,

condenser temperature of 35C and absorber temperature

of 21C.

absorption refrigeration cycle depends mostly on the

existing initial conditions. For example, the temperature

of the evaporator is fixed and as a result the low-side

pressure of the cycle is fixed and could be specified. Two

other fixed parameters are the condenser and absorber

temperatures. It has been shown that[l] the cooling ratio,

defined as the ratio of the energy removed from the

surroundings during the refrigeration phase to that

supplied to the generator during the regeneration phase,

increases as the condenser and absorber temperatures

decrease. In systems using a water cooled condenser and

absorber these two temperatures depend on the

temperature of the available cooling water. After the

temperatures of the evaporator, the condenser and the

absorber have been identified the generator temperature

has to be determined. This is the last and the most

important parameter which must be specified, because

unlike the other three temperatures of the cycle this

depends on other factors. If the cooling ratio of the

system is considered against other variables of the cycle

the following approximate relations can be derived for

the two cycles (see Figs. 1 and 2).

For the water-lithium bromide cycle

h/,

7/= h7 + (R - l)h4 - Rh3"

l)h,-Rh7

If sensible heat exchangers are used between the absorber and the generator for both the water-lithium

bromide and the ammonia-water systems so that the

strong solution leaving the absorber is heated by the

weak solution leaving the generator, the temperature rise

of the strong solution A Ts, is given by the following

equation

(4)

the heat exchanger and F ( x , k ) i s the heat exchanger

effectiveness defined as

b eX((l/k)--

F(x, k) = ~ eX~,lk~_,_ k

(5)

149

150

S. ALIZADEHet al.

Refrig.

vapour

Condenser t

(7)

j

]

Strong

Generator

solution

(3)

(Solar energy) 0G

(4)

Weak

solution

(8)

.I

Solution heat

exchanger

(2)

Exp.

(G)]

Evaporator

f

[Ab=b7

(,61

o."

Fig. 1. Schematic of the water-lithium bromide system.

5

Reflux

condenser

6[<

Condenser I

tw

Generator

~ 0 G(Solar energy)

Solution

heat

exchanger

Absorber

Exp.

valve

IO

(

oJ

Fig. 2. Schematic of the ammonia-water system.

relation

approximately given by

x

UA

__~pms'--

(6)

other variable in eqn (5) is the generator temperature

parameter, k, and is defined as

Cps

(7)

Co -- - 3.09y + 4.18

(8)

Cp = 0.71y +4.18

(9)

or ammonia in the mixture. The cooling ratio has been

plotted against the generator temperature for different

values of the heat exchanger parameter in Figs. 5 and 6

151

IIO

/ /f

Tc = 3 5 *C

TE = 1.7 *C

85

_P=___4zmm

h~

~D

35

I0

04

05

06

L i t h i u m bromide,

075

07

wl %

140

Tc = 3 5 "C

TE = 1.7 *C

Iio

.,.o/3

P

E

8o

o

50 -

20

035

040

045

0,50

Ammonia,

0,55

065

060

wl %

for both the water-lithium bromide and the ammoniawater cycles. The thermodynamic paths of the two

cycles have also been shown by the solid lines in Figs. 3

and 4. The value of x = pc in Figs. 5 and 6 could actually

be considered as heat exchanger parameters above 10.

The sensible heat exchangers between the fluid

streams entering and leaving the generator should transfer the maximum amount of heat consistent with

economy of construction. Assuming streamline flow for

the weak solution in the heat exchanger (this can usually

be done by selecting the proper diameter for the exchanger tube) it can be shown that [4] the value of UA

for the exchanger is proportional to the cube root of the

mass flow rate of the weak solution. By applying various

simplifications, Duflie and Sheridan[5] have shown that

the UA value for the exchanger could be approximated

by

UA = 379 m ~13

(10)

the value of the constant 379 has been determined from

experimental values of mass flow m,. By application of

eqn (10) the heat exchanger parameter can be expressed

as a function of the system refrigeration capacity, C, and

circulation factor, R, as follows:

x = B [C(R CR

I)]'/3

(II)

the temperatures of the condenser, the evaporator and

152

S. ALIZADEH et aL

09

0.8

07--

0.6

._0

0.5---0

._~

8 0.4

U

C ~ - -

@__

-r

-- =

o~

i,

0.2

0.1

O3

60

To

75

80

Generator

8~

temp,

90

9~

G e n e r a t o r temp,

the water-lithium bromide system.

0.8

temperature for the water-lithium bromide system.

0.7

J

X=I

05

.9

04

(J Q3

I/! ...........

,o

I

i

I

o.2

. . . .

"r"

TE=I.7 %

T~ = 35 c

i

70

80

90

I00

Generator

I I0

temp,

120

t30

140

60

70

80

90

I00

I10

120

130

140

Generator temp, =C

the ammonia-water system.

temperature for the ammonia-water system.

the absorber and it also varies from refrigerant to refrigerant. For evaporator temperature of 1.7C, condenser

temperature of 35C and absorber temperature of 21C,

the constant B for water-lithium bromide case is 46.6

and for the ammonia-water case it has a value of 16.1.

Since R is a function of the generator temperature only

when other conditions of the system are fixed, x in eqn

(11) is a function of the generator temperature for a

specified value of C. Therefore x can be plotted vs the

generator temperature for different values of C as in

Figs. 7 and 8. These figures show that as the generator

temperature decreases the circulation factor increases

for a given C. This places a lower bound for the generator temperature because as the circulation factor increases the mass flow rates in the system also increase

and this suggests larger heat exchange surfaces and

be seen that for a given refrigeration capacity, higher

generator temperature causes lower cost (because of

lower mass flow rates in the absorber, the generator and

the solution heat exchanger) and higher cooling ratio.

There are of course limitations for high generator

temperature one of which is the crystallization problem

in the case of water-lithium bromide when the generator

temperature becomes too high. Another limiting feature

is that producing very high temperatures with flat plate

solar collectors is difficult.

If a temperature difference of 8C is assumed between

the average temperature of the collector surface and the

generator temperature for heat transfer purposes, the flat

plate collector area required for producing I kJ hr-' for

an average horizontal insolation of 3046kJhr-' m -2 is

plotted vs the generator temperature for different heat

exchanger parameters in Figs. 9 and 10. The flat plate

collector is assumed to have a surface emissivity of 0.1

with a 30 tilt angle at 40 North Lat.

If the design generator temperature is assumed to be

8C below the average temperature of collector surface,

then the system could be designed for this generator

temperature and the collector area required is determined from Figs. 9 and 10. Assuming that 20 per cent of

total refrigeration has to be delivered during the time in

which there is no available solar energy, then the total

,8

rAlal *c

re- I z *c

r~=3~*c

116

i

I5

1.4

60 per cent higher (see Appendix), or

A, = (1.60)(12660)CAf

1.2

(12)

kJ hr-'. Increasing the flat plate collector area by 60 per

cent requires the use of a storage system to store the 20

per cent of refrigeration in the form of heat or refrigerant

for the time when there is no available solar energy[6]. If

the generator temperature taken as the average temperature of collector -8C is below the lower bound previously indicated for the generator temperature, then an

auxilliary heater could be used to increase the generator

temperature up to the lower limit. Once the generator

temperature has been specified the heat exchanger

parameter and the fiat plate collector area required are

known from Figs. 7-10. By eqn (11), knowing x and C

the circulation factor, R, is calculated and from that the

mass flow rate of the strong solution, m~, is determined

from the following relation

ms = R m r

153

(13)

by the equation

u- 1 . 0 ~ - -

--

m, = 12660 h-~I~'

(14)

0.9

I:

0.8--

Ol~55

I

]

60

65

--

70

75

80

85

Generotor ten'@, *C

90

.,

95

the water-lithium bromide system. The collector surface emissivity is 0.1 and the collector tilt angle is 300 at 40 North Lat.

of mr and m~.

A comparison of the two systems described briefly in

this paper and in more detail elsewhere [7, 8] show that

the water-lithium bromide system has a higher cooling

ratio for the same initial conditions. Also from Figs. 7

and 8 it is clear that for the same generator temperature

and system refrigeration capacity, the water-lithium

bromide system has a higher heat exchanger parameter.

4. C O N C L U S I O N S

2

%

o"

O

GecN~'amr ten'@, *C

the ammonia-water system. The collector surface emissivity is

0.1 and the collector tilt angle is 30 at 40o North Lat.

absorption refrigeration system the most important variable which has to be taken into account is the temperature of the generator because the other parameters of the

system depend on the existing initial conditions and

consequently are fixed. Determination of the generator

temperature is influenced by several factors. One of

these is economic considerations when the generator

temperature becomes too low, and this produces a lower

bound for the generator temperature. Also, a very high

generator temperature is not possible with flat plate

collectors. Another limiting feature in the case of waterlithium bromide cycle is the crystallization which occurs

when the generator temperature becomes too high. This

should be avoided by placing an upper limit on the

generator temperature.

A comparison of the two cycles also show that the

water-lithium bromide system is simpler than the ammonia-water system and operates at a higher cooling

ratio and heat exchanger parameter for the same conditions.

S. ALIZADEHet al.

154

A

A!

A,

C

Cp

F

HAy

h

h!~

K

m

p

R

T

AT

U

x

y

NOMENCLATURE

heat exchanger area, m 2

flat plate collector area, m2kJ-t hr

total flat plate collector area, mz

system capacity, refrigeration ton = 12660 LI hr -~

specific heat, kJ kg-I C-I

heat exchanger effectiveness

average horizontal insolation, kJ hr -~ m -z

enthalpy, kJ kg-~

enthalpy of vaporization, LI kg -~

generator temperature parameter

mass flow rate, kghrpressure

circulation factor

temperature, C

temperature difference.C

overall heat transfer coefficient of heat exchanger,

kj hr-I m-2OC-I

heat exchanger parameter

lithium bromide or ammonia weight per cent

cooling ratio

B.Sc.

thesis,

Chemical

Engineering

Department,

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1959).

7. S. Alizadeh, F. Bahar and F. Geoola, Development of a

computer package for the design of a water-lithium bromide

absorption refrigeration system utilising solar energy. Internal

Rep. 10100/06, Materials and Energy Research Centre, P.O.

Box 41-2927, Tehran, Iran.

8. S. Alizadeh, F. Bahar and F. Geoola, Development of a

computer package for the design of an ammonia-water absorption refrigeration system utilising solar energy. Internal

Rep. 10/00107, Materials and Energy Research Centre, P.O.

Box 41-2927, Tehran, Iran.

APPENDIX

C tons of refrigeration capacity roughly l J3 of the actual amount

of refrigeration is necessary, since it has to be supplied for only

about 8 out of 24 hr. Consequently the collector area required is

AI

Subscripts

a

A

C

E

]"

m

r

s

t

v

w

weak solution

absorber

condenser

evaporator

fiat plate collector

maximum

refrigerant

strong solution

total

vapour

saturated water

REFERENCES

I. E. H. Perry, The theoretical performance of the lithium

bromide-water intermittent absorption refrigeration cycle.

Solar Energy 17, 321 (1975).

2. J. C. V. Chinnappa, Performance of an intermittent refrigerator operated by a flat-plate collector. Solar Energy 6, 143

(1962).

3. S. L. Sargent and W. A. Beckman, Theoretical performance of

an ammonia sodium thiocyanate intermittent absorption

refrigeration cycle. Solar Energy 12, 137 (1968).

4. William H. McAdams, Heat Transmission. 3rd Edn. pp. 229235. McGraw-Hill, New York (1954).

5. J. A. Duffie and N. R. Sheridan, Lithium bromide-water

refrigerators for solar operation. Mech. and Chem. Engng

Trans.. the Institution of Engineers. Australia (1965).

1/3(12660C)(24)

D

(Al)

obtained from the flat plate collectors. If 20 per cent of the

refrigeration has to be delivered during the time in which there is

no available solar energy, then the total flat plate collector area

required is

A, =

1/3(12660C)(24) + 0.20(12660C)(24)

D

(A2)

At _ 1/3+0.20

- - =

Ai

1/3

1.60

or

Af = 1.60 A~

(A3)

A~ = (12660)CA:

(A4)

one kJhr -Z and can be obtained from Figs. 9 and 10. By

substituting for AI from eqn (A4) into eqn (A3) we obtain

A, = (I.60)(12660)CA!

which is the same as eqn (12) in the text.

Resumen--Un estudio general te6rico ha sido hecho sobre disefio y mejora de los ciclos de absorci6n refrigerativa

de agua-bromido de litio y amonia-agua. Los resultados de este estudio muestran queen general para condiciones

iniciales fijas y sistema dado de capacidad de refrigeraci6n, la temperatura mils alta del generador causa un radio

mis alto de enfriamiento con menor cambio de superficies de calory consecuentemente menor costo. Una

comparaci6n de los dos ciclos tambi6n indica que el sistema de agua-bromido de litio es mils simple que el sistema

de amonia-agua y opera en un radio de enfriamiento mils alto y menor cambio de superficies de calor para las

mismas condiciones.

R6sum6--Une 6tude sur la fabrication et l'optimization des cycles de refroidissement par absorption a 6t6

entreprise sur des syst6mes eau-bromure de lithium et eau-ammoniaque. Les r~sultats de cette 6tude montrent que

si on fixe les conditions initiales et la capacit6 de r6frig6ration, des temp6ratures plus 61ev6es du g6n6rateur

aboutissent h des refroidissements plus 61ev6s avec une surface plus petite des 6changeurs. done fi un cofit moins

61ev6. Une comparaison des deux syst6mes montre que le syst6me eau-bromure de lithium est plus simple que le

syst6me eau-ammoniaque, donne des refroidissements plus 61ev6s et ncessite de plus petites surfaces d'6changeurs duns les mimes conditions.

(A5)

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