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Applied Thermal Engineering 26 (2006) 502–512

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Compression–absorption cascade refrigeration system
Jose´ Ferna´ndez-Seara *, Jaime Sieres, Manuel Va´zquez
A´rea de Ma´quinas y Motores Te´rmicos, Escuela Te´cnica Superior de Ingenieros Industriales, Universidade de Vigo,
Campus Lagoas-Marcosende, 9, 36200 Vigo, Spain
Received 28 October 2004; accepted 26 July 2005
Available online 13 September 2005

Abstract
This paper describes the study carried out to analyse a refrigeration system in cascade with a compression system at the low temperature stage and an absorption system at the high temperature stage to generate cooling at low temperatures, as well as the possibility of powering it by means of a cogeneration system. CO2 and NH3 have been considered as refrigerants in the compression
stage and the pair NH3–H2O in the absorption stage. The analysis has been realized by means of a mathematical model of the refrigeration system implemented in a computer program and taking into account the characteristic operating conditions of a cogeneration system with gas engines. The paper presents the results obtained regarding the performance of the refrigeration system and the
adaptability between the power requirements of the refrigeration system and the power supplied by the cogeneration system taking
into account the present Spanish Regulations about the use of cogeneration systems.
Ó 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Cascade refrigeration; Cogeneration; Compression; Absorption

1. Introduction
The integration of environmentally friendly refrigeration with cogeneration systems [1] appears to be an
interesting option since it could lead to autonomous systems with on-site power generation independent from
the electric grid [2].
In the refrigeration field there are applications which
require the production of very high cooling power at low
temperatures, such as freezing processes and cold stores
for the storage of frozen products. Currently, different
configurations of vapor compression systems of double
stage with ammonia or synthetic refrigerants are generally applied to this type of applications. Two stage vapor
compression systems in cascade are also considered in
the general literature [3]. Moreover, recently the two
stage compression systems in cascade with CO2 as refrigerant in the low temperature stage are the object of
*

Corresponding author. Tel.: +34 986 812605; fax: +34 986 811995.
E-mail address: jseara@uvigo.es (J. Ferna´ndez-Seara).

1359-4311/$ - see front matter Ó 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.applthermaleng.2005.07.015

important research and nowadays there are already several industrial and commercial installations successfully
running [4,5]. However, the disadvantage of the compression systems in this type of applications is their high
electricity consumption.
In this paper the analysis of an alternative refrigeration system that could reduce the electricity consumption in those applications is realized. The system is a
two stages cascade that consists of a single stage compression system for the generation of the cooling power
at low temperature and an absorption system in the high
temperature stage, as shown in Fig. 1. Both systems
share a heat exchanger, which operates simultaneously
as the condenser of the compression system and as the
evaporator of the absorption system. This refrigeration
system would decrease the electricity consumption compared to the two stages compression systems, since it is
only required to operate the compression system at the
low stage; meanwhile the absorption system is driven
by heat. Moreover, it could use environmentally friendly
working fluids such as carbon dioxide or ammonia in

compressor con condensation. from the viewpoint of the energetic requirements. VALVE SOLUTION H. evaporator ex extra exh exhaust gases g global gen generation. LOW TEMPERATURE STAGE. Ferna´ndez-Seara et al. .J. VALVE PUMP ABSORBER COMPRESSOR EVAPORATOR COMPRESSION SYSTEM. since the global system could be designed as a standalone device independent of the electric grid. H. to simulate and analyse the influence of the key design parameters and the operating conditions on the performance of the compression–absorption cascade refrigeration system. this cascade refrigeration system could be integrated with a cogeneration system. This has been defined according to the available literature data [6]. Therefore. These regulations define the parameter named as Equivalent Electric Efficiency (EEE). and on the other hand. between the refrigeration and the cogeneration systems. the heat recovered. condenser el electrical the compression stage and the pairs ammonia–water or water–lithium bromide in the absorption system. Furthermore. The analysis has been carried out using a mathematical model of the refrigeration system implemented in a computer program and taking into account the general performance of a cogeneration system employing gas engines. since this would supply simultaneously the electricity to the compression system and the heat to the absorption system. EXP.EX. VALVE EVAPORATORCONDENSER EXP. generator h heat int intermediate lim limit max maximum minEEE minimum equivalent electric efficiency opt optimal p pump rec recovered. which takes into account the electrical power generated. the objectives of the paper are twofold. reused w water ABSORPTION SYSTEM. Schematic diagram of the compression–absorption cascade refrigeration system. At a first glance. However.EX. Fig. on the one hand. and the primary energy eva evaporation. Moreover. the performance of the global refrigeration–cogeneration system is also obtained. 1. it would bring an additional advantage. The energy adaptability between the cogeneration and the refrigeration systems is evaluated based on the current Spanish regulations [7] about the use of cogeneration systems. / Applied Thermal Engineering 26 (2006) 502–512 503 Nomenclature COP E EEE P PE PER Q Q0 T coefficient of performance (–) electrical power (kW) equivalent electric efficiency (–) pressure (Pa) primary energy per unit time (kW) primary energy ratio (–) heat (kW) cooling duty (kW) temperature (°C) Subscripts a absorption system c compression system com compression. CONDENSER RECTIFICATION COLUMN GENERATOR LIQ. HIGH TEMPERATURE STAGE. to determine and evaluate the adaptability. making use of these benefits requires knowledge of the adaptability of the energy needs of the refrigeration system (electricity and heat) to the power distribution supplied by the cogeneration system.-VAP. EXP.

DPeva–abs [bar] 1 45 2 125 30 0 5 8 5 10 0 8 0. Xref [kg/kg] Distillation tower reflux. distillation column. Finally. The analysis has been carried out considering two different natural refrigerants. the heat flux in each heat exchanger. whose main components are the evaporator. DTeva–con [°C] Outlet–inlet temperature difference in the evaporator. the refrigerant solution leaving the condenser and the weak solution leaving the generator are saturated at condensation and generation temperature. GSa [°C] Design absorber temperature difference. respectively.7 0. in the compression system. 2. solution heat exchanger.c [°C] Condensation temperature at the compression system. Table 1 Model input data General system data Cooling duty. pump and two expansion devices. Q0 [kW] Evaporation temperature at the compression system. hence the cooling duty of the absorption system is equated to the condensation power of the compression system. respectively. taken into account a power plant efficiency of 0.504 J. Q0 Ecom Qcon. The condensation temperature at the compression system is taken as design parameter to define the intermediate temperature level. The results obtained directly from the simulations are the thermodynamic state and the mass and volume flow rates at every representative point in the thermodynamic cycles of the compression and absorption systems. the compressor efficiency is calculated as a function of the compression ratio. In the model. Tcon.1 The model equations are not presented here for the sake of brevity. (1) and (2).995 0. condenser and the expansion device.HX [–] Liquid–vapor heat exchanger efficiency.c [°C] Generation temperature at the absorption system. the electric power required by the compressor and the pump and the compression and absorption systems performance (COPc and COPa) which are obtained from Eqs. the components irreversibilities are defined either directly by means of temperature differences or by means of the components efficiency. eL–V HX [–] Pump efficiency. The global system performance (COPg) is calculated from Eq. GSc [°C] Vapour superheat at the evaporator outlet. generator. The model has been implemented in a computer program using Fortran 95.8 0. Refrigeration system and simulation model The absorption–compression cascade system being considered is depicted schematically in Fig. (3). DTeva.4. carbon dioxide and ammonia. The compression and the absorption systems are connected to each other by means of the evaporator– condenser heat exchanger. The model input data have been divided into three groups. DTcon. as shown in Table 1. A simple steady state simulation model based on sequential modular approach has been developed and implemented in a computer program.a [°C] Design condenser temperature difference. compressor. / Applied Thermal Engineering 26 (2006) 502–512 per unit time consumed by the cogeneration system. eabs [–] Solution heat exchanger efficiency. The condensation temperature of the compression system together with the temperature difference between this temperature and the evaporation temperature at the absorption system are used to characterise the heat transfer processes in the evaporator–condenser heat exchanger. The model equations are formulated from species.a [°C] Liquid subcooling at the condenser outlet. GRc [°C] Absorption system Temperature difference at the evaporator–condenser. State equations used for the working fluids at equilibrium and the thermodynamic properties are taken from REFPROP [8] for the pure refrigerants and from Ziegler and Trepp [9] for the ammonia–water mixture. In the absorption system. A perfect isolation of the evaporator–condenser heat exchanger is assumed.c COPa ¼ Qgen þ Ep COPc ¼ ð1Þ ð2Þ . the general system data and the specific data for the compression and for the absorption systems. The absorption system uses the pair ammonia–water and its major components are the absorber. Tgen [°C] Temperature of the water used as external cooling medium.8 0. It consists of a single stage compression system in the low temperature cascade and a single stage absorption system in the high temperature cascade. mass and energy balances.5 0. In the compression system. esol. [10]. but they are described in detail in Ref. Teva.4 0. Ferna´ndez-Seara et al. Tw [°C] Compression system Liquid subcooling at the condenser outlet. ep [–] Pressure drop between evaporator and absorber. the performance of the cascade refrigeration system with the cogeneration system is evaluated by means of the primary energy ratio (PER). condenser. liquid– vapour heat exchanger. evaporator. DTabs [°C] Refrigerant concentration. 1. Refl [–] Absorber efficiency. the following assumptions are taken into account.

3. Results of the simulation program on the system scheme.lim) of 90 °C. The data in white boxes are the energy flux in the corresponding system component. Taken into account the assumptions cited above and the cogeneration system operating conditions.rec T w  T gen ¼ 0:25  PE T w  T w.rec T exh  T gen ¼ 0:18  PE T exh  T exh. / Applied Thermal Engineering 26 (2006) 502–512 505 Fig. respectively. In order to estimate the heat that could be recovered and applied to drive the absorption system. then the ratio of the primary energy per unit time that could be recovered as heat from the engine exhaust gases (PERexh) and the cooling water (PERw) and applied to drive the absorption system can be estimated from Eqs. as shown in Fig. The electrical efficiency of the cogeneration plant is taken as 40%. Cogeneration system The cogeneration system considered in the analysis is based on the use of gas engines. PERexh ¼ PERw ¼ Qexh. with a cooling limit (Tw. The exhaust gases and the cooling water outlet temperatures (Texh and Tw) have been considered as 600 °C and 120 °C.J. The system operating conditions have been established taken into account general literature data [6]. considering a cooling limit (Texh. (4) and (5). The heat recovered from the exhaust gases is set at 18% of the primary energy.lim ð4Þ ð5Þ The adaptability of the cascade refrigeration system to the cogeneration system is assessed by calculating the parameter named as equivalent electric efficiency (EEE) . If the cascade refrigeration system is powered by the cogeneration system. respectively. COPg ¼ Q0 Qgen þ Ecom 0:4 þ Ep 0:4 ð3Þ The sample program results for temperatures around the circuit are displayed on the system scheme.lim Qw. 2. The heat recovered from the engine cooling water is considered 25% of the primary energy. then the heat recovered from the exhaust gases and from the engine cooling water will be limited by the generator temperature (Tgen) in the absorption system. it is assumed that the generator temperature in the absorption system is the cooling limit for the engine exhaust gases and the cooling water.lim) of 25 °C. It is also assumed that the specific heat capacity for exhaust gases and water is constant. 2. Ferna´ndez-Seara et al.

(16).lim If T gen 6 90  C ! PEh ¼ ð8Þ ð9Þ required by the absorption system (Qgen). (8)–(10). then the primary energy per unit time needed to produce the limiting power is taken as the primary energy per unit time consumed by the cogeneration system. (6). then the extra electrical power is calculated from Eq.lim  PEh  Qgen ð13Þ  If T 6 90 C ! Qex   Tw  T ¼ 0:18 þ 0:25   PEh  Qgen T w  T w. Finally. If PEh > PEel ! PE ¼ PEh ! Eex ¼ 0:4  PE  ðEcom þ Ep Þ If T P 120  C ! Qex T exh  T ¼ 0:18   PEh  Qgen T exh  T exh. if the EEE value obtained is lower than the minimum value imposed by the regulations. 4. there is also an extra heat that could be recovered at temperature levels lower than the generation temperature.lim T T gen 0:18 þ 0:25  T wwT w. either the extra electrical power is calculated when the heat is limiting. / Applied Thermal Engineering 26 (2006) 502–512 506 given by Eq. (12). the adaptability of the cogeneration system to the cascade refrigeration system can be evaluated in each simulation run and it is included in the parametric analysis. If the heat is limiting (PEh > PEel). Eq.lim þ 0:25  T wwT w. Otherwise.minEEE PE ð16Þ The calculations described above have been implemented as a Fortran subroutine in the simulation program of the cascade refrigeration system. (6).lim ð10Þ Once the limiting power is known. (15). (13) or (14). EEE ¼ E rec PE  Q0:9 ð6Þ Moreover.J. The primary energy per unit time needed to obtain the electrical power is calculated from Eq. The primary energy per unit time needed to obtain the heat is calculated from Eqs. After that. In this case. then the EEE of the cogeneration system will be obtained considering that the extra electricity is used in other applications or put on the market. depending on the temperature value and the heat ð12Þ If 90  C < T < 120  C ! Qex   T exh  T Tw  T ¼ 0:18  þ 0:25  T exh  T exh. Ferna´ndez-Seara et al. Then. Then the type of limiting power (electrical or heat) is determined by calculating the primary energy by unit of time that is needed to obtain the electrical power and the heat required by the cascade system. PERg ¼ Qgen ð11Þ Q0 PE PERg. Moreover. if the heat is the limiting one. The PER is calculated considering that the cogeneration system is used only to power the refrigeration system (PERg). if the electrical power is the limiting one (PEel > PEh).minEEE). (11). Eq. then the heat that should be recovered to attain the minimum EEE of 0. the regulations also impose a minimum annual average value for the EEE of the cogeneration system. according to the present Spanish regulations [7] relating to the use of cogeneration systems. (7).lim T w  T w. Results and discussion The model has been used to simulate and analyse the performance of the cascade refrigeration system and the possibilities of it being powered by the cogeneration . then there is no extra electric power and the maximum heat that could be recovered is also calculated from Eqs. (12).lim  0:18 T exh  T gen If 90  C < T gen < 120  C ! Qgen PEh ¼ T exh T gen T T gen 0:18  T exh T exh. the primary energy ratio of the global system (cascade refrigeration system and the cogeneration system) is obtained. The heat that could be recovered up to a temperature level (T) is given by Eqs. and also when the EEE is equal to the minimum value imposed by the Spanish Regulations [7] and part of the electric power and/or the heat are reused in other applications (PERg. then the quantity of the electricity and/or heat energy that should be recovered and used in other applications in order to reach the minimum EEE value are also calculated. In the analysis.minEEE ¼ ð15Þ Q0 þ Eex þ Qrec. taking into account the generation temperature. This minimum EEE value for a cogeneration system based on the use of gas engines is set at 55%. if the value of the EEE of the cogeneration system is bellow the limiting value imposed by the Spanish Regulations. PEel ¼ Ecom þ Ep 0:4 ð7Þ If T gen P 120  C ! PEh ¼ Qgen T exh  T exh.55 will be calculated by using Eq. or the extra heat is obtained when the electrical power is the limiting one. the EEE is obtained considering that the cogeneration system is only used to power the cascade refrigeration system. Then. (13) or (14). taking into account the electric efficiency of the cogeneration plant. The calculation procedure starts by obtaining the electricity and the heat required by the cascade refrigeration system by using the system model described in the previous section.lim ð14Þ Furthermore.

463 0. The numbers next to the characteristic points of the system show the temperature values. Tcom.472 14. The intermediate temperature that produces the maximum COP depends on the evaporation temperature of the compression system.254 . The results with NH3 are not shown here for the sake of brevity. Cascade refrigeration system Fig.406 2. COPa [–] COP of the cascade system. an optimum COP value can be expected for the overall cascade system. It can be noticed that the intermediate temperature increase causes simultaneously a compression COP decrease and an absorption COP increase. Ecom [kW] COP of the compression system.1. COPg [–] 8. the compression system COP is also slightly higher with CO2 than with NH3. The results considering NH3 as refrigerant in the compression system are also presented by the program on the system scheme (as shown in Fig. In this analysis. 2).233 0. 40 and 30 °C obtained by varying the intermediate temperature while keeping the remaining design parameters and operating conditions equal to the values indicated in Table 1. Another significant parameter that makes a difference between both refrigerants is the compressor discharge temperature. Table 1 shows the general system operating conditions considered in the analysis. absorption and cascade systems with CO2 as the refrigerant in the compression system and evaporation temperatures of 50.c [kW] Electric power required by the compressor. Pcon [bar] Refrigerant mass flow at the compression system. 3 shows the results of the COP values of the compression. The white boxes on the system diagram show the heat interchanged in each heat exchanger. 4.J. Thus. In addition.204 96.73 1. The mass flow of CO2 is higher than the mass flow of NH3 due to the low refrigerant effect produced by CO2.143 3. Similar results are obtained considering NH3 as the refrigerant in the compression system. The absorption COP does not depend on the evaporation temperature of the compression system. / Applied Thermal Engineering 26 (2006) 502–512 system. as well as the low evaporation pressure required when using NH3 at low temperature levels. Fig. COPc [–] COP of the absorption system. the volume flow of CO2 is much smaller than the volume flow of NH3 due to the low specific volume of the CO2 at the compressor inlet state.384 2.14 1.602 0.702 53. However. mc [kg/h] Volume flow at the compressor inlet.762 0. An outstanding design parameter in cascade refrigeration systems is the intermediate temperature level at which the low temperature system gives up the condensing heat to the high temperature system. Fig. it can be concluded that the use of CO2 or NH3 as refrigerants at the compression stage does not modify significantly the operating conditions at the absorption system.427 0. Vcom [m3/h] Compressor discharge temperature. The following sections show the noteworthy results.0 [°C] Condensation heat at the compression system and cooling duty at the absorption system. Peva [bar] Condensation pressure at the compression system. the cascade system COP presents a maximum when the intermediate temperature is varied.976 2.953 6. The mass flow and the volume flow at the compressor inlet are also quite different. The compression COP decrease is less significant as the evaporation temperature decreases. The electric power required by the compressor is slightly lower when using CO2 than when using NH3.262 0. 507 Therefore. 2 shows the direct results provided by the simulation program considering the data in Table 1 with CO2 as refrigerant in the compression system.427 33. The main differences in the operating conditions of the system using CO2 or NH3 as refrigerants in the compression stage are due to the characteristic thermodynamic properties of each refrigerant.427 0. 4 shows the optimal intermediate temperature (maximum COP of the cascade system) Table 2 Cascade system operating conditions with CO2 and NH3 as refrigerants in the compression stage Cascade system operating conditions CO2 NH3 Evaporation pressure at the compression system. Table 2 summarizes the major differences. Ferna´ndez-Seara et al. The condensation heat at the compression system and therefore the cooling duty of the absorption system are similar for both refrigerants. Therefore. Note the high pressure levels in the compression system when using CO2.253 0. This temperature has an opposite effect on the COP values of the compression and absorption systems. As expected. the intermediate temperature level is defined by the condensation temperature of the compression system. The high values of the discharge temperature produced by NH3 should be taken into account at the design stage in order to select an adequate intermediate temperature level and avoid the wellknown problems caused by excessive discharge temperatures on the compressor lubrication. Qcon. the electric power required by the compressor in the compression system and by the pump in the absorption system.

max (CO2) PERg.opt [°C] -2 -3 -4 -5 -6 -7 -8 -9 -50 -48 -46 -44 -42 -40 -38 -36 -34 -32 -30 Teva [°C] Fig. / Applied Thermal Engineering 26 (2006) 502–512 COPc (-50) COPg (-40) COPc (-40) COPg (-30) COPc (-30) COPa COPg (-50) 11 0. 4. .max (NH3) 1 0 -1 Tint.40 COPc 7 0.45 8 0. 40 and 50 °C.25 4 0.10 -16 -12 -8 -4 0 4 8 12 16 Tint [°C] Fig. COPg 508 0.55 10 0.J. intermediate temperature level (condensation temperature of the compression system) with CO2 as refrigerant in the compression stage and for evaporation temperatures of 30.50 9 0.20 3 0. absorption system COP (COPa) and cascade system COP (COPg) vs.35 6 0.30 5 COPa.15 2 1 0.max (CO2) COPg.max (NH3) PERg. Compression system COP (COPc). Ferna´ndez-Seara et al. Optimal intermediate temperature level (condensation temperature of the compression system) for maximum system COP and for maximum PER with a EEE of 55% vs. evaporation temperature at the compression stage with CO2 and NH3 as refrigerants in the compression system. COPg. 3.

511 .491 1. it is concluded that the use of a cogeneration system only to power the absorption–compression refrigeration system should be discarded.933 0. Therefore. Therefore. Results in Table 3 show clearly that the limiting power is the heat required by the absorption system. PEel [kW] Electricity surplus. Another significant result shown in Table 3 is the very low value of the EEE obtained from the energy requirements of the cascade refrigeration system. Ec [kW] Primary energy required by the absorption system generator. taken into account that the cogeneration system supplies the heat required by the cascade system. The significant results obtained considering the variation of the intermediate temperature are shown in the following figures. They have been obtained considering the data in Table 1 and expressed per unit of cooling power. This result also reinforces the conclusion of discarding the option of coupling the cascade refrigeration system with the cogeneration system as a stand-alone unit. The primary energy needed to obtain the heat required by the generator is much greater than the primary energy per unit time needed to obtain the electricity required by the cascade system. PERg [–] Global primary energy ratio to attain the minimum EEE.031 0. Eex [kW] Electric equivalent efficiency.025 0. EEE [–] Electric equivalent efficiency considering the extra electricity. Therefore. The value of the PER of the global system (refrigeration and cogeneration system) without considering the use of any extra electric or heat in other applications is shown in Table 3.059 0. PEh [kW] Primary energy required by the electric power. the results from the simulation model can be an outstanding tool at the design stage of the system.025 0. They demonstrate the unfitting of the cogeneration system to the energy needs of the cascade system. if the cogeneration system is used to power the cascade refrigeration system.minEEE [kW] Global primary energy ratio of the cascade system.589 0. Qgen [kW] Electricity required by the compressor.2. Cogeneration system Results for the significant parameters required to evaluate the suitability of powering the cascade refrigeration system by means of the cogeneration system taking into account the use of CO2 and NH3 as refrigerants in the compression stage are collected in Table 3.865 0. However. then the EEE of the cogeneration system is still below the limiting value imposed by the Spanish regulations. EEEel [–] Heat recovered to attain the minimum EEE.09 1. Results in Fig. then the electric power generated by the cogeneration system surpasses the electric power required by the cascade system.33 0. The EEE is also much smaller than the minimum value imposed by the Spanish Regulations of 0. it would be necessary to reuse in other applications part of the heat that is not required by the refrigeration system in order to attain the minimum value imposed to the EEE.029 0. from the results obtained.405 0. Thus. The effects of the absorption system design parameters such as the generation and the external cooling medium temperatures are not presented here for the sake of brevity but they can be established from data in Ref.55.J. Ferna´ndez-Seara et al.406 0. the effect of the evaporation temperature on the optimal intermediate temperature is more significant with NH3 than with CO2. if the cogeneration system is used to power the cascade refrigeration system and the extra electric power is reused or put on the market but no additional heat is recovered.minEEE [–] 2. It is noticeable that the optimal intermediate temperature level should be determined in a previous design stage because of its influence on the cascade system. / Applied Thermal Engineering 26 (2006) 502–512 with CO2 and NH3 as a function of the evaporation temperature.078 6. These results express clearly that the energy requirements of the cascade refrigeration are very different from the energy supplied by the cogeneration 509 system.41 17. Furthermore.492 1. Therefore.384 0. Ep [kW] Electricity required by the cascade system (compressor + pump). The parametric analysis has been extended to the parameters shown in Table 3 taking into account CO2 and NH3 as refrigerants in the compression stage. [11]. 4. PERg. then it will be necessary to make use of the extra electric power and part of the extra heat in other applications. 4 corroborate clearly that the optimal intermediate temperature increases when the evaporation temperature increases with both refrigerants. Ecom [kW] Electricity required by the pump.431 17.361 0.057 0. Therefore. it can be concluded that. there will be extra electric power for selling or reusing in other applications. It also clearly shows that the electric to heat ratio required by the cascade system does not match the energy ratio provided by the cogeneration system. Qrec. in order to fulfil the present Spanish Regulations.512 2.497 1. Table 3 Refrigeration and cogeneration systems operating conditions Operating conditions CO2 NH3 Heat at the absorption generator.024 6.

Therefore. 5 shows the effect of the intermediate temperature level (the condensation temperature of the compression system) on the EEE taking into account evaporation temperatures of 30.03 0. The heat decrease that occurs simultaneously with the intermediate temperature level increase observed in Fig. and secondly. Fig.05 0. The more significant results are the very small values of the EEE. Finally. 40 and 50 °C and CO2 and NH3 as refrigerants in the compression system. 40 and 50 °C taking into account that the cogeneration system is used to power only the cascade refrigeration system (PERg) and also considering the reusing of the extra electric power and the extra heat needed to attain the EEE of 0. 5. Fig.07 0. These results are considering CO2 as refrigerant in the compression system. 6 is also due to the reduction in the heat demanded by the absorption system and therefore the reduction of the primary energy and consequently of the heat generated by the cogeneration system. It points out again the mismatch between the energy requirements of the cascade system and the energy distribution provided by the cogeneration system. The reason is twofold. when the cogeneration system attends only the energy demands of the cascade refrigeration system. when the intermediate temperature level is varied. 40 and 50 °C.01 -16 -12 -8 -4 0 4 8 12 16 Tint [°C] Fig. firstly the increase of the intermediate temperature causes an increase in the electric power required by the compressor in the compression system. then the electrical to heat ratio required by the cascade system will approach the energy ratio provided by the cogeneration system.55 (PERg. It is also remarkable that the depiction of the global PER EEE CO2 (-40) EEE NH3 (-40) EEE CO2 (-30) EEE NH3 (-30) 0.06 EEE 0. which states clearly once again the unsuitability of employing the cogeneration system only to power the cascade refrigeration system.04 0. The increase of the EEE when increasing the intermediate temperature is due to an increase in the electrical power demanded by the compression system and simultaneously to the reduction of the heat demanded by the absorption system.02 0. if the intermediate temperature increases. Equivalent electric efficiency (EEE) vs. when the intermediate temperature level is varied.minEEE). It is worth to note the low values of the PERg. Ferna´ndez-Seara et al. / Applied Thermal Engineering 26 (2006) 502–512 510 Fig. The surplus of the electrical power decreases as the intermediate temperature in- EEE CO2 (-50) EEE NH3 (-50) creases.J. 6 shows the extra electric energy and heat that should be reused in other applications in order to attain the minimum value of the EEE imposed by the Spanish regulations taking into account the evaporation temperatures of 30. The results with NH3 are very similar. intermediate temperature level (condensation temperature at the compression stage) with CO2 and NH3 as refrigerants in the compression system and evaporation temperatures of 30. it simultaneously causes a reduction in the heat demanded by the absorption system and therefore the decrease of primary energy consumed by the cogeneration system and the heat and the extra electric power produced by the cogeneration system. . 7 shows the results of the PER for evaporation temperatures of 30. 40 and 50 °C and CO2 as refrigerant in the compression system.

the intermediate temperature level (condensation temperature at the compression stage). .minEEE (-40) PERg. 7.minEEE PER g 0.5 Eex.minEEE (-40) rec.minEEE) vs.06 0. the intermediate temperature level (condensation temperature at the compression stage) with CO2 as refrigerant in the compression system and for evaporation temperatures of 30.minEEE (-50) Eex.0 6 1.53 0.minEEE [kW] 3.49 0. Ferna´ndez-Seara et al.0 11 3.minEEE (-50) PERg. Primary energy ratio of the cascade-cogeneration system taking into account that the cogeneration system is used to power only the cascade refrigeration system (PERg) and also considering the reusing of the extra electric and the extra heat needed to attain the EEE of 55% (PERg.5 5 1.minEEE [kW] Qrec.minEEE 511 (-30) Eex.52 0.0 4 -16 -12 -8 -4 0 Tint [°C] 4 8 12 16 Fig.0 7 2.minEEE (-30) PERg (-50) PERg (-40) PERg (-30) 0.51 0. Electricity surplus and heat that should be recovered in other application in order to attain the minimum EEE of 55% vs.54 0.47 0. PERg. 40 and 50 °C.minEEE (-30) 12 4.J. / Applied Thermal Engineering 26 (2006) 502–512 Qrec. 6.48 0.5 10 9 8 2.07 0.46 -16 -12 -8 -4 0 4 8 12 16 Tint [°C] Fig.05 PERg.03 0.04 0.minEEE (-40) Q rec.50 0.minEEE (-50) Q Eex.

McLinden. [8] E. Va´zquez. Therefore. Therefore. The use of CO2 or NH3 as refrigerants in the compression stage does not affect significantly the operating conditions at the absorption stage due to the condensation heat is similar with both refrigerants. M. Moreover. General Foundation of the Polytechnic University of Madrid. then there will be a surplus of electric power. The primary energy per unit time required by the cogeneration system in order to fulfil the heat demanded by the cascade refrigeration system is higher than the primary energy per unit time needed to generate the electricity required by the refrigeration system. 1989. Refrigeration systems and applications. Atlanta. Physical and Chemical Properties Division National Institute of Standards and Technology. cascade refrigeration system by means of a cogeneration system in order to obtain a stand-alone unit should be discarded. [11] J. 1990 ASHRAE Handbook. in: Proceedings of the VII Congreso Iberoamericano de Aire Acondicionado y Refrigeracio´n (CIARÕ2003). . [2] Y. American Society of Heating. Conclusions The results shown in this paper and the results obtained in the complete analysis about the compression–absorption cascade refrigeration system and the possibilities of being powered by a cogeneration system allows us to draw the following conclusions. 2004. The optimal intermediate temperature level should be determined in a previous design stage because of its influence on the cascade system. Lemmon. [5] L. USA. M.M. Payri. 4. Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers. Experiences from CO2 cascade plants. Ch. [10] J. in: Proceedings of the 21st IIR International Congress of Refrigeration. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Therefore. Colonna. [4] S. M. M. 4. 2003. References 5. The optimal intermediate temperatures from the viewpoint of the maximum global PER considering CO2 and NH3 as refrigerants in the compression system as a function of the evaporation temperature are shown in Fig. Industrial trigeneration using ammonia– water absorption refrigeration systems (AAR). residuos y cogeneracio´n. Potential energy benefits of integrated refrigeration system with microturbine and absorption chiller. USA. Therefore. then the intermediate temperature level should be selected based on the maximum of the global PER. The very low values of the EEE and the PER obtained when the cogeneration system is used only to power the cascade refrigeration system show clearly that the energy requirements of the cascade system and the energy distribution provided by the cogeneration system are very different. [9] B. [7] Real Decreto 2818 de 23/12/1998. the cascade system COP presents a maximum when the intermediate temperature is varied. F.D. 4). USA. Publication Service of the Industrial Engineering School. Koppenol. it can be seen that the optimal intermediate temperature increases when the evaporation temperature increases with both refrigerants. S.0. The intermediate temperature that produces the maximum COP depends on the evaporation temperature of the compression system. Ferna´ndez-Seara et al. However. in: Proceedings of the 21st IIR International Congress of Refrigeration. Trepp. Equation of state of ammonia–water mixtures.L. if the cogeneration system fulfils the needs of the cascade refrigeration system. Rolfsman. J. The intermediate temperature that provides the maximum value for the global PER does not coincide with the intermediate temperature that provides the maximum COP of the cascade refrigeration system (see Fig. CO2 systems are sweeping through the Netherlands. The intermediate temperature level is an important design parameter that causes an opposite effect on the COP of the compression and absorption systems. Lobreget. 1998. if the cogeneration system is used only to power the cascade refrigeration system. 2003. A. Taking into account the present Spanish regulation it would be necessary to make use not only of the extra electric power but also of part of the extra heat in other applications. Hwang. Gabrielli. Ferna´ndez-Seara. the results from the simulation model can be an outstanding tool at the system design stage. 1990. Cuba.W. The effect of the evaporation temperature on the optimal intermediate temperature is more significant with NH3 than with CO2 as refrigerant in the compression system. [6] M.O. International Journal of Refrigeration 7 (1984) 101–106. Washington DC. Sieres. La Habana. International Journal of Refrigeration 27 (2004) 816–829. Mun˜iz. Modelo de ca´lculo y simulacio´n de un sistema de refrigeracio´n con compresio´n y absorcio´n en cascada para bajas temperaturas. Applied Thermal Engineering 23 (2003) 381–396. the increase of the optimal intermediate temperature is higher with NH3 than with CO2 as shown in Fig. A. 2003. S. The extra electricity could be sold or used in other applications. Huber. [3] ASHRAE. Therefore. Motores de combustio´n interna alternativos. Van der Sluis. Va´zquez. Ferna´ndez-Seara.512 J. Reference Fluid Thermodynamic and Transport Properties (REFPROP) version 7. the idea of powering the [1] P. Ziegler. Applied Thermal Engineering 21 (2001) 343–347. / Applied Thermal Engineering 26 (2006) 502–512 presents a maximum. Se dictan normas sobre produccio´n de energı´a ele´ctrica por instalaciones abastecidas por recursos o fuentes de energı´a renovables. Washington DC. Mun˜oz. Study and control of the optimal generation temperature in NH3–H2O absorption refrigeration system.