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**Experimental investigation and mathematical modelling of a solid adsorption refrigeration systemB
**

Ning Meia, Yingchun Xiea, Zhen Xua, Jian Sub,*

a

College of Engineering, Ocean University of China, Qingdao 266071, People’s Republic of China b Nuclear Engineering Program, COPPE, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, CP 68509, Rio de Janeiro, 21945-970, Brazil

Abstract The objective of this work is to study the thermodynamic mechanism and performance of an engine exhaustpowered adsorption refrigeration system using CaCl2 as adsorbent and NH3 as refrigerant. A 6 kW nominal refrigerating capacity adsorption refrigerator was developed. The working performance of the refrigerator is presented. It is concluded that the refrigerating capacity at constant evaporating temperatures varies with the input heat into the generator, and the heat transfer affects strongly the mass transfer in the adsorbent, making it work in different mean generation and adsorption temperatures. A conventional test bed was developed for investigating the properties of CaCl2–NH3 adsorption/desorption unit tube. A mathematical model based on non-equilibrium thermodynamics was developed to describe the performances of the adsorption refrigerating system. D 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Adsorption refrigeration; Unit tube; Heat and mass transfer; Adsorption and desorption; Mathematical modelling; Experimental investigation

1. Introduction Due to increasing concerns with the environmental problems caused by CFCs and the huge energy consumed by conventional refrigeration systems, solid adsorption refrigeration systems driven by midB

Communicated by J.P. Hartnett and W.J. Minkowycz. * Corresponding author. Tel.: +55 21 2562 8448; fax: +55 21 2562 8444. E-mail addresses: nmei@mail.ouc.edu.cn (N. Mei)8 sujian@con.ufrj.br (J. Su).

0735-1933/$ - see front matter D 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.icheatmasstransfer.2004.06.008

such as quiet. 5: pressure gauge. The energy equation for porous medium is solved by a second-order fully implicit finite difference method. The working performance of the refrigerator was investigated. The mathematical model consists of the energy conservation equation for porous medium in the bed. 6: relief valve. a lumped-capacity model is used to simplify the heat conduction equation for the tube wall. 13: evaporator. . pressure and the saturation level of the adsorbent. etc. 14 drain. 2. Mei et al. 9: induction valve. Heat and Mass Tranf. can be directly driven by a low-grade thermal energy such as engine exhaust and solar energy. 4: throttle. cost effectiveness. the heat conduction equation for the tube wall. 32 (2005) 349–359 and low-temperature heat sources have been developed as an economic and environmental friendly alternative [1–9]. The adsorption rate of NH3 mainly depends on the temperature. An experimental test bed was built for the investigation of the heat and mass transfer behaviour in the desorption and adsorption processes of the adsorption refrigeration system by using a test unit tube. 3: distribution valve. The testing system of solid adsorption refrigerator.350 N. 10: liquid pump. 12: condenser. so that an electrical power meter can measure the evaporating temperature and nominal refrigerating capacity. Considering the high thermal conductivity and small thickness of the metallic tube wall. Commun. 11: vacuum pump. simplicity in construction. The evaporator consists of three spirally coiled tubes in a cylindrical vessel of salt water. 1. 1. We developed a mathematical model for heat and mass transfer in a single tube bed in the adsorption refrigeration system based on the CaCl2–NH3 pair. A computer program is developed by implementing the numerical solution of the mathematical model. Experimental study of a solid adsorption refrigeration system The construction and assembly of the adsorption refrigeration system performance test bed is illustrated in Fig. 8: check valve. meanwhile. Adsorption refrigeration systems have many advantages. cheap to maintain and. air-conditioning or ice-making fields. The adsorber/generator unit consists of three groups of tube bank based on simple cycle. 1: Diesel engine. The engine exhaust pipe is connected to the generator by a distribution valve. / Int. A 6 kW nominal refrigerating capacity engine exhaust-powered adsorption refrigerator using CaCl2– NH3 pair was developed. the adsorption equilibrium equation. Therefore. and the adsorption dynamics equation. whose temperature is maintained by an electrical heater. The adsorption refrigerator can be used for both refrigeration and air conditioning purposes. 7: generator. they can be widely used in fishery preservation. 2: dynamo meter. which can let only one group of the generator heated by engine exhaust Fig.

It could be deduced that the ratio of adsorption reaction is influenced by the saturation level of adsorbent. In its working period. NH3 is released slowly again at a higher temperature and pressure. The adsorbent is mixed with another inert material and treated by a special process to cope with the swelling of the CaCl2 grains. W is the refrigerating capacity. t is the adsorption time.N. desorption and adsorption seems independent if working conditions can be maintained for each Table 2 Parameters of the refrigerator Parameter Exhaust temperature Refrigerating capacity Size of unit tube Number of generator/adsorber Bank of unit tube Value 523–623 K 5–8 kW 1 mÂ/ 0. the released ammonia adsorbs again by adsorbent. constant evaporation temperature of ammonia in the evaporator. When the engine works at the nominal condition. With constant adsorption pressure. Mei et al. as shown in Fig. The machine has been operated for one cycle to obtain the final value of the adsorbent permeability. The refrigerating capacity can be calculated by the following equation Z 1 m rdm ð1Þ W ¼ t 0 where m is the amount of adsorbed NH3 liquid. The rate of ammonia desorption from adsorbent is measured by a level gauge so that the desorption capacity of this refrigerator can be evaluated.025 m 3 52 . The refrigerator parameters and diesel engine specifications are shown in Tables 1 and 2. NH3 is released rapidly through an endothermic reaction maintained by the heat input from engine exhaust and condensed in the condenser. Heat and Mass Tranf. the refrigerating capacity keeps high at the beginning of the adsorption process when the state of adsorbent is far beyond its saturation state with ammonia. Commun. therefore. After that. At lower engine output. 2. 3. In the final stage. that is.8 kg ammonia to release from the solid adsorbent. / Int. In the first stage. The temporal history of NH3 desorption can be divided into three stages. NH3 is released slowly.7 L 1000 rpm 1360 kW while the others are cooled by water. 32 (2005) 349–359 Table 1 Specification of the diesel engine Parameter Bore Displacement Rated engine speed Rated engine output Value 351 180 mm 8Â5. r is the latent heat of evaporation of NH3. It could be deduced that the heat from the engine exhaust is mainly used to increase the enthalpy of the solid adsorbent until the pressure in the generator is higher than that in the condenser. it takes several minutes for 2. and then the ratio slows down when it tends to saturation. The refrigerating capacity is shown in Fig. the amount of released NH3 drops down because of the lower input of engine exhaust heat flux. but the refrigerating capacity varies periodically.

3. Mei et al. Transient and Mean Refrigerating capabilities. The refrigerating capacity. 3.352 N. in which sufficient ammonia should be supplied to refrigeration. process. . 2. however. as Fig. 32 (2005) 349–359 Fig. Commun. Performance in the desorption process. / Int. Experimental study of a single tube adsorbent bed An experimental test bed was built for the investigation of the heat and mass transfer behaviour in desorption and adsorption processes of the adsorption refrigerating system by using a test unit tube. is controlled by desorption process. Heat and Mass Tranf.

32 (2005) 349–359 353 Fig. temperature and pressure in the adsorbent drop and NH3 can be readsorbed by the adsorbent when the pressure in the tube is lower than that in the evaporator. which is in a cylindrical vessel filled with water. 10: inside thermocouple. the adsorbent is heated. Cooling the unit tube. In the final period. the rate of ammonia released from or reabsorbed by the adsorbent during desorption and adsorption processes can be calculated. and little NH3 is released from the adsorbent. 11: middle thermocouple. the temperatures on the two sides of the adsorbent increase linearly. The reaction pressure in the unit tube was measured by a pressure gauge connected to the unit tube. Commun. 1: Delivery pipe. and NH3 is released and diffused to the central cylinder hollow. 6: condenser/evaporator. Schematic of the unit tube testing bed. 2: adsorbent. 3: pressure gauge. 12: wall thermocouple. Mei et al. the temperature in the adsorbent tends to the same value while the desorption of NH3 stops. 4.002 m 0. while the reaction heat is provided by the input heat and the temperature grades in the adsorbent become larger. When forced. At the beginning. The unit tube is connected to a cylindrical condenser/evaporator. the temperature difference between the two sides of the adsorbent becomes larger and NH3 is released more rapidly. By measuring the time history of the water temperature. Heat and Mass Tranf. the temperature on the inner wall of adsorbent drops while that of Table 3 Parameters of the testing unit tube Parameter Length Diameter Wall thickness Adsorbent charged Diameter of central void Value 1m 0. This indicates that the desorption reaction begins in this period. uniform axial heat flux passes by the adsorption/desorption unit tube. 13: steel shell.025 m 0. which is then condensed in the condenser/evaporator. 8: mixer. / Int.12 kg 0. 4. The unit tube is a 1-m-long steel tube packed with adsorbent particles in a hollow cylinder.N. 9: outside thermocouple. 7: isolation vessel. 5.005 m . The behaviour of the unit tube in the desorption process is shown in Fig. The parameters of the testing unit bed are given in Table 3. When the temperature in the adsorbent is higher than 350 K. shown in Fig. 5: thermometer. 4: valve. With constant adsorption pressure and sufficient cooling flow.

Heat and Mass Tranf. Mathematical model of the adsorbent bed As observed earlier. the outer wall almost keeps constant. The rate of NH3 readsorbed in the adsorbent is high at the beginning and decreases gradually as the adsorbent tends to the saturation level. The behaviour of the unit tube in the adsorption process. the reactions of desorption and adsorption in an adsorption refrigerating system can bring NH3 from a lower temperature and pressure state into a higher temperature and pressure state. Fig. 32 (2005) 349–359 Fig.354 N. The behaviour of the unit tube in the desorption process. . Commun. as shown in Fig. 5. 6. 4. Mei et al. / Int. 6.

Heat and Mass Tranf. 4.2. Energy equation Á BT ke B BT dX ¼ r þ qs qst qs cps þ X cpl Bt Br dt r Br À ð2Þ where k is the thermal conductivity of CaCl2. Ks ¼ 15D R2 F ð6Þ where R F is the average diameter of adsorption particles.N. the mass transfer coefficient can be determined as follows rﬃﬃﬃﬃﬃ T D ¼ 9700rF M ð7Þ .1. (5) thermal–physical properties are constant. is given by the Clausius-Clapeyron equation Blnp qst ¼ À R ð3Þ Bð1=T Þ X 4. À Á dX ¼ Ks Xeq À X dt ð5Þ where X is the instantaneous adsorption quantity. Mass transfer equation Bqv BX ¼0 m qs Bt Bt e ð4Þ where e is the ratio of porosity. D is the mass transfer coefficient. the adsorption rate is expressed as a function of the adsorption quantity X as. q v is the density of ammonia gas and U s is the density of CaCl2. the power per unit mass released during the adsorption process. Reaction kinetics equation According to Sokoda and Suziki [10]. / Int. Mei et al. Supposing that the adsorption molecules satisfy the Knudsen diffusion condition in the micro-channels of adsorption. (4) the porous packed bed is uniform and has the same physical properties as the adsorbent. X is the ratio of refrigerant weight to adsorbent weight. 4. c ps is the specific heat of CaCl2. K s is the overall mass transfer coefficient representing the mass transfer resistance in the adsorption process and consisted by internal and external resistences. Commun. 32 (2005) 349–359 355 A mathematical model for the desorption and adsorption processes is established by introducing the following simplifications of the physical problem: (1) desorption and adsorption reactions in the CaCl2–NH3 adsorbent are controlled by the mechanism of non-equilibrium thermodynamics.3. (3) NH3 is taken as an ideal gas. (2) mass diffusion in the porous media accords with Knudson’s diffusion. c pl is the specific heat of NH3. q st.

Boundary conditions BT ¼ 0 at Br BX ¼ 0 at Bt p ¼ pc at r ¼ R is r ¼ R is r ¼ Ris ð12Þ . q F is the density of the particle. r F is the average radius of the micro-holes in the adsorption particles. Commun. 32 (2005) 349–359 where T is the temperature of diffusion mass.7.5. S t is the total surface area of the adsorption particle.6. Tube wall equation The energy equation for the wall is written as mw c pw À Á BTw ¼ S o h fw Tf À Tw À S i h ws ðTw À T Þ Bt ð9Þ where S o is the outer surface area of the single tube. h fw is the heat transfer coefficient between the wall and the external heating or cooling fluid. p0 Þ for 4. 4. Mei et al. Ideal gas equation of state p ¼ qv RT 4. given by 2VF 2eF ¼ ð8Þ rF ¼ St S t qF where V F is the volume of the hole. M is the molecular weight of the adsorption substance. S i is the inner surface area of the single tube. Heat and Mass Tranf. h ws is the heat transfer coefficient between the wall and the adsorption particles.356 N. 4. Initial conditions p ¼ po for t¼0 for t¼0 t¼0 ð11Þ ð10Þ T ðr. / Int. 0Þ ¼ T0 X ¼ X eq ðT0 .4.

the occurrence of desorption is delayed. The temperature gradient along the radial direction is due to the low thermal conductivity of the adsorption bed of CaCl2. the desorption period is reduced. / Int. Br at r ¼ R os at r ¼ R os ð14Þ p ¼ pc and during the adsorption process ke BT ¼ h ws ðTw À T Þ.1 W/(mK) to 5 W/(mK). Fig. Mei et al. It can be seen that when the thermal conductivity is increased from 0. which is . Commun.N. 32 (2005) 349–359 357 and during the adsorption process T ¼ Te at r ¼ Ris r ¼ Ris r ¼ Ris ð13Þ BX ¼ 0 at Bt p ¼ pe at On the external boundary of the adsorption bed. which decreases during the desorption process to around 10–30 8C. being about 1/3 of the original period. Heat and Mass Tranf. However. the refrigerating capacity of the ammonia is given by Z 1 t dX W ¼ dt rqs t 0 dt ð16Þ ð17Þ Figs. Br at r ¼ R os at r ¼ R os ð15Þ p ¼ pe When desorbing. 8. which is strongly affected by the thermal conductivity of the adsorbent. The temporal variations of temperature at several radial positions are shown in Fig. 9 shows the relative desorption ratio of ammonia as a function of time in the desorption process. usually 0. while radial distributions of temperature at different times are shown in Fig. We can see that the maximum temperature difference across the adsorption bed may reach 30 8C. the desorbed ammonia is given by Z t dX qs dt m¼ dt 0 When adsorbing. the boundary conditions are given by ke BT ¼ h ws ðTw À T Þ. 7 and 8 show the temperature distribution in the adsorption bed predicted by the numerical solution of the mathematical model.3 W/(mK).1–0. The temperature gradient is smaller during the adsorption process than during the desorption process. 7.

7. . Heat and Mass Tranf. It is concluded that the refrigerating capacity at constant evaporating temperatures varies with the input heat into the generator. Mei et al. 32 (2005) 349–359 Fig. we can only compare relevant parameters. 8. and the heat and mass transfer characteristics in the adsorbent bed during desorption and adsorption processes were investigated experimentally and numerically. Radial distributions of temperature in the adsorption bed. 5.358 N. As it is difficult to obtain the same parameters for experimental and numerical works. helpful in reducing the period of the refrigeration cicle and increasing the average refrigerating capacity of the adsorption refrigeration system. / Int. Fig. the performance of a solid adsorption refrigerator was studied. Temperature history in the adsorption bed. Commun. Conclusion In this paper.

Y. R. Renew. Pons. Relative ratio of adsorption as a function of time. Y. Tribes. Therm. P. Kaushik.C. 17 (1997) 289. Poyelle. J. Int. 15 (1992) 31. 9. the efficiency of the system can be improved. W. H. Han. Eng. J.F. Refrig. R. Commun. H. D. 17 (1984) 52. The desorption reaction and its thermodynamic state can be controlled by input heat flux and heat and mass transfer properties of adsorbent. S. 21 (2001) 439. Wang.X. Boelman. F. Qingdao 26 (1996) 212. Energy 26 (2002) 599. Li. Sukoda. Neveu. Shi. Lin. R. B. Sami. Appl. Energy 20 (1995) 983. Int. Wang. The increasing of thermal conductivity of the adsorbent is important to reduce the period of the refrigeration cicle and to increase the average refrigerating capacity of the adsorption refrigeration system. Appl.J. By increasing the exhaust temperature and the heat flux. R. Eng. / Int. Therm. Qu.Z. M. Zhu. Jpn. F. T.Z. Y. Teng. N. Mei et al. J. Kashiwagi. People’s Republic of China. Acknowledgements The authors are grateful to the Science and Technology Agency of Qingdao. F. Zhang. making it work in different mean generation and adsorption temperatures. M. 32 (2005) 349–359 359 Fig. References [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] N. Mei.J. The engine exhaust temperature and the heat flux are the controllable parameters to the performance of a given adsorption refrigerating system. B. J. X. the Brazilian National Research Council (MCT/CNPq) and the Ministry of Education of Brazil (MEC/CAPES) for the financial support during the realisation of the work. Liu. Chem. Feng. . Yu.N. and the heat transfer affects strongly the mass transfer in the adsorbent. Wu. Ocean Univ. Therm.C. 17 (1997) 327. Meunier. Eng. T. Chu.Z. Wang. S. Eng. A. Therm. Refrig. E.F.B. Huang. Heat and Mass Tranf.S. Appl. 16 (1996) 149. C.M. Wang. M. Appl. Saha. Suzuki.Y. Eng. J. 19 (1996) 414.

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