Development and studies of low capacity adsorption refrigeration systems based on silica gel-water and activated carbon-R134a pairs

Samson Paul Pinto, Praveen Karanam, B. G. Raghavendra, V. Boopathi, Prafulkumar Mathad, Upendra Behera, Srinivasan Kasthurirengan

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5 Citations (Scopus)


Adsorption Refrigeration Systems (ARS) are gaining considerable importance in view of their applications in several areas and in particular to transport industries. The refrigerants used in these systems are also quite acceptable from the points of view of Global warming and Ozone depletion. In our efforts to develop such refrigeration systems for transport vehicles, a sub-atmospheric Silicagel-Water ARS (SWARS) and a positive pressure Activated Carbon / R134a ARS (ACRARS) have been designed, fabricated and experimentally studied to evaluate their performances. A lumped parameter simulation model has been used to describe the dynamic behavior of these systems. The rate of adsorption / desorption of the refrigerants in both cases are assumed to be governed by the Linear Drive Force (LDF) model. The amount of refrigerants in adsorbent at equilibrium conditions are assumed to be described by the equations for modified Freundlich and Dubinin-Astakhov models for SWARS and ACRARS respectively. The simulation models are numerically solved by finite difference method with the simulation programs coded in MATLAB. The simulation results are found to be in good agreement with experimental results in both cases. A two-bed Silicagel-water adsorption refrigeration system has been built and it is well known that the refrigeration is produced at the evaporator. If the refrigeration power is not used to cool an external heat load (for example, by allowing the circulation of water through the heat exchanger coil embedded in the evaporator), the evaporator reaches the lowest temperature. This is the no-load condition at which the refrigeration power produced by the system is zero. When the evaporator temperature is higher than this lowest temperature, a finite refrigeration power is produced which increases with increasing evaporator temperature. The above Silicagel-water system reaches the lowest temperature of 5.3°C at no load conditions and produces a refrigeration power of ~ 284 ± 9 W at 18°C, which refers to the average temperature (Tavg) of the flowing water through the heat exchanger coil within the evaporator. An experimental COP of 0.52 has been measured for this system. On the other hand, the simulation model predicts a refrigeration power of 325 W at 18 °C with a COP of 0.55. Using Activated Carbon - R134a pair, a four bed adsorption refrigeration system has been designed and developed. The refrigeration system is designed such that it can be operated in three different configurations and they are: (A) A single bed (i.e. all four beds arranged in parallel), (B) A twin bed, (i.e. the four beds get grouped in two pairs and undergo the opposite processes of the adsorption cycle and (C) Four independent beds each undergoing the different processes of the adsorption cycle. The measured lowest temperatures under no-load conditions are 14.5 °C, 13.3 °C and 11.9 °C for configurations A, B and C respectively as against the predictions of the simulations which are 13.3°C, 12.5 °C & 11.4°C. The experimentally measured refrigeration powers are 430 ± 13 W, 556 ± 17 W and 657 ± 20 W at the Tavg temperature of 28.5 °C for configurations A, B and C respectively. On the other hand, the refrigeration powers predicted by simulation are 450 W, 582 W and 690 W for the respective configurations. The measured COP values are 0.5, 0.65 and 0.70 for configurations A, B and C respectively as against those predicted by simulation which are 0.54, 0.67 and 0.73 respectively. It is observed that the experimental results are reasonably in good agreement with those predicted by the simulations. The highlight of the present work is that the Activated Carbon - R134a Adsorption Refrigeration System produces continuous refrigeration power which can be very useful for practical applications. Efforts are now underway to adopt this refrigeration system for cooling of truck cabins.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)513-531
Number of pages19
JournalHeat and Mass Transfer/Waerme- und Stoffuebertragung
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 08-02-2019
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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