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Principle of Operation
Working Fluid for Vapor Absorption Refrigeration

System (VARS)
Some Experimental Results for Different Fluid
Various Designs of VARS

Cost Analysis

The basic aim of this presentation is to provide basic
background and review existing literatures on VARS.
VARS is also belongs to class of vapor cycle is similar to the

However, in VCRS mechanical work is required as input so it is

called work operated cycle and unlike VCRS the required input in
VARS is low grade thermal energy so, called heat operated cycle.
VARS is heat operated system then waste industrial heat or solar

thermal energy can be used for it.

It helps to reduce problems related to global environmental,

such as green house effect from CO2 emission from the utility


Electricity purchased from utility plant for VCRS can be

Another major difference is VCRS commonly used CFCs as

refrigerants or working fluid which is cause of ozone layer

depletion that will make VARS more prominent.
VARS use natural refrigerants such as NH and H O.
3 2
COP of VARS is much lower than the VCRS.

Although VARS seem to be many advantages , VCRS still

dominate all market sectors.

In order to promote the use of absorption system, further

development is required to improve performance and reduce

Working fluid in VARS is a binary solution consisting of refrigerant
and absorbent .
Absorbent absorb refrigerant causing pressure to reduce and
rejecting some amount of heat and make a stable solution.
from fig. Refrigeration is obtained by connecting two vessel left

vessel containing pure refrigerant while right containing solution of

refrigerant and absorbent.
This is basically an intermittent system means continuous
refrigeration effect we can not get.
As the cooling process can not be produced continuously so we

need a system which gives continuous refrigeration.

Mechanical work is less in VARS compared to VCRS because here
pump is used instead of compressor.
However, a large amount of heat is required so the solution

pump work is negligible compare to it.

Now COP of VCRS and VARS is given by


Since VARS uses heat energy its COP is much smaller then VCRS.
Comparing of system is not fully justify by only COP as mechanical

energy is more expansive than thermal energy.

Sometimes a second law efficiency (i.e. Ratio of actual COP to
that of Carnot COP) or exergetic efficiency.
It is seen that exergetic efficiency for VARS system is of the same

order as that of a VCRS system.

COPideal VARS = = =
Thus COP of ideal VARS increases as:
1.Evaporator temperature increases
2.Generator temperature increases
3.Heat sink (absorber + condenser) temperature decreases.
The COP of actual VARS is much smaller than ideal because of

Working Fluid for Vapor Absorption
Refrigeration System (VARS)
Properties of Working Fluid (Refrigerant
Absorbent System):
1.Low viscosity to minimize pump work.
2.Low freezing point by which we can maintain the low evaporator
3.Thermal stability.
4.Irreversible chemical reaction of all kinds, such as
decomposition, polymerization, corrosion, etc. Are to be avoided.
5.It must be completely miscible both in liquid as well as in
vapour as well as in vapour phase.
In addition to above, two main thermodynamic requirements of

the mixture are.

6. Solubility requirement:
The refrigerant should have more than Raoults law solubility in
the absorbent (i.e. Solution is not ideal solution) so that a strong
solution, highly rich in the refrigerant is formed in the absorber.
7. Boiling points requirement:
There should be a large difference in the NBP of the two
substances at least 200oc, so that absorbent shows the negligible
vapour pressure.
Thus almost absorbent free refrigerant is boiled off from the

generator and the absorbent alone returns to the absorber.

Different types of working fluid
A survey of absorption fluids provided by Marcriss suggested
that there are some 40 refrigerants and 200 absorbents available.
Some Working Fluids Are:
Zellhoeffer et al. Determined the solubility of R21 and R22 in a
number of solvents such as ether, esters, amides, and amines.
They found that dimethyl ether of tetra ethylene glycol(DMG-TEG)
is an extremely good solvent.
Arora et al. Chose DMG-TEG, isobutyl acetate, dimethyl

formamide (DMF) and diethyl formamide as absorbent for R22.

System (NBP in oc) Circulation

ratio (f)
NH3 and H2O 133 3.78
R22 + DME-TEG 316.6 3.18
R22 + isobutyl acetate 158.8 3.67
R22 + DME 193.8 2.76
R22 +DEF 218.3 4.36
From the table we can see that DMF is the best absorbent
because of low circulation rate.
by Arora et al. R22 + DMF gives high COP among them but due

ozone layer depletion it is not environmental friendly and

restricts its uses.
It is also costlier than NH and H O.
3 2
Also a binary mixture using inorganic salt such as water +NAOH,

and NH3 in combination with solid absorbent such as calcium

chloride, sodium thiocynate, lithium thiocynate, lithium nitrate
etc. Is BEING tried in VARS.
But the main problem is all absorbents are highly corrosive in

nature and at high temperature and concentration the solution is

prone to crystallization.
Some Experimental Results for
Different Fluid
All fig. in this section is taken from the ref., Comparison of the
performances of absorption refrigeration cycles by Z. CREPINSEK, D. GORICANEC,
J. KROPE, Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering.
They use 10 working fluids to compare the performance of
Out of ten, only three working fluid is taken to be consideration

to compare the COP and circulation ratio f values with different

temperatures of the generator, evaporator, condenser, and
absorber or compare the performance of 2 and 3 with 1 because
1 is most commonly used.
1.NH3 and H2O
2.NH3 and LiNO3
3.NH3 and NaSCN
Fig. 1 Comparison of the effect of
Fig. 2 Comparison of the effect of
COP values on generator
circulation ratio values on
generator temperatures

From fig. 1 NH3 and LiNO3 cycle a lower generators temperature can
be used than for the others this is an important point for utilizing
solar energy.
Fig. 3 Comparison of the effect of Fig. 4 Comparison of the effect of
COP values on evaporator circulation ratio values on
temperatures evaporator temperatures
From fig. 3 NH3-NaSCN cycle gives better performance for lower temp
and for higher temperature performance of NH3-H2O cycle is better.
Circulation ratio is greater for NH -NaSCN cycle.
But we can not use NH -NaSCN below -10oc because of crystallization.
Fig. 5 Comparison of the effect of Fig. 6 Comparison of the effect of
COP values on condenser circulation ratio values on condenser
temperatures temperatures
Increasing condenser temperatures cause a decrease in system
From 20oc to 40oc NH -NaSCN and NH -LiNO cycles show better
3 3 3
performance. For low condenser temperature NH3-NaSCN has highest
COP and for high condenser temp. NH3-LiNO3 has high COP.
Fig. 7 Comparison of the effect of Fig. 8 Comparison of the effect of
COP values on absorber circulation ratio values on absorber
temperatures temperatures
The effect of absorber temperature is similar to that of condenser
From the above discussion we can see that NH -NaSCN and NH -LiNO
3 3 3
is suitable alternative for NH3-H2O. And also no analyser and rectifier are
Fig. 9 Variation of the
COP with generator
temperature, tg, for
evaporator temperature
of -5C and cooling
water temperature of

Briefly we can see the performance of HFC refrigerant such as R32,

R125, R134a, R152a, and HCFC such as R22 and R124.
Various Designs of VARS
In this sction all fig. Are taken from the ref. P. Srikhirin et al. /
Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 5 (2001) 343372

Fig. 10 A single-effect LiBr/water absorption refrigeration system with a

solution heat exchanger (HX) that helps decrease heat input at the generator.
Wastage of heat in condenser and absorber decrease with a
solution heat exchanger and COP can be increased up to 60%.
Fig. 11 A double-effect water/LiBr absorption cycle. Heat released from the
condensation of refrigerant vapor is used as heat input in generator II. This cycle
is operated with 3 pressure levels i.e. high, moderate and low pressure.
A double effect absorption system has a COP of 0.96 when the
corresponding single-effect system has a COP of 0.6.
Fig. 12 The dotted loop shows secondary fluid used for transferring heat from
high the temperature section in the absorber to low temperature section in the
Higher performance can be achieved with a single-effect absorption
system with GAX stands for generator/absorber heat exchanger than
double effect absorption system.
There is an additional secondary-fluid, which used for transferring

heat between the absorber and the generator.

Fig. 13 Solar driven dual cycle absorption employs two different working fluids i.e.
NH3/water and water/LiBr. Heat of absorption and condensation from NH3/water
cycle are supplied to the generator of water/LiBr cycle.

Two parallel completely separated cycles using different kinds of working

This system consists of two single-effect absorption cycles using

water/NH3 and LiBr/water. The NH3 system is driven by heat obtained from
an external heat source. The heat reject from its absorber and condenser is
used as a driving heat for the LiBr/water system.
Fig. 14 A combined ejector/absorption proposed by Aphornratana and Eames [92],
was invented. High pressure refrigerant vapor from the generator enters the ejector
as motive fluid to carry the refrigerant vapor from the evaporator.

An ejector is placed between a generator and a condenser of a

single-effect absorption system.
LiBr/water is used as the working fluid. The ejector uses high-

pressure water vapor from the generator as the motive fluid.

For fig. 14 Experimental investigation showed that COPs as high as
0.86 to 1.04 was found.

This system must be operated with a high temperature heat source

(190 to 210C) and acceptable surrounding temperature.

As the generator temperature is high, the corrosion of construction

material may be problematic.

Fig. 15 A combined cycle proposed by Eames and Wu [93]. The highest solution
circuit temperature is maintained at about 80C. So the corrosion problem is

This cycle is a combined cycle between a steam jet heat pump and
a single-effect absorption cycle.
A steam jet system is used as an internal heat pump, which was
used to recover rejected heat during the condensation of the
refrigerant vapor from a single-effect absorption cycle.
The heat pump supplies heat to the generator of an absorption

The refrigerant vapor generated from the generator is

entrained by the steam ejector and is liquefied together with

the ejectors motive steam by rejecting heat to the solution in
the generator.
In this system the corrosion problem is eliminated as the

solution maximum temperature is maintained at 80C.

The driving heat (from an external source) is supplied to the

steam boiler only at temperatures around 200C.

The experimental COP of this system was found to be 1.03.
Fig. 16 A combined cycle proposed by Eames and Wu [93]. The highest solution
circuit temperature is maintained at about 80C. So the corrosion problem is

the refrigerant from the absorber can be transferred to the

generator by an osmotic diffusion effect through the membrane
without any mechanical pump.
The membrane should minimize heat transfer between the

generator and the absorber.

Fig. 17 A diffusion absorption refrigerator; DAR, schematic diagram is proposed. This
system was once widely used as a domestic refrigerator as no electricity is required in
its operation. NH3/water/auxiliary gas is charged in the machine as the working fluid.
It works on 3- fluid system third one is called auxiliary gas
remains mainly in the evaporator thus reducing partial pressure
of refrigerant to enable it to evaporate.
There is no need of solution circulation pump so neither

electricity nor maintenance is required.

It can be easily used in remote areas where is no electricity

However, its cooling capacity is very low up to 50 W.

Hydrogen and helium is generally used as auxiliary gas.

A thermosyphone is used to lift the weak aqua form the

Through out the system total pressure is constant (20.33 bar).

And partial pressures of ammonia in evaporator are 1.516 bar at

inlet and 2.36 bar at outlet.
Cost Analysis

Fig. 18 Chillers and auxiliary equipment costs - electric and absorption (Means,
presents some more general cost information on large tonnage
(>100 tons) cooling equipment for space conditioning
To our knowledge, there is only one company (Yazaki,undated)
currently manufacturing small tonnage (<20 tons) lithium bromide
refrigeration equipment.
Currently, units are available in 1.3, 2, 3, 5, 7.5, and 10 ton capacities.

They require considerably more mechanical equipment for a given

capacity than the conventional electric vapor compression equipment.

Fig. 19 Simple payback

on small absorption
equipment compared to
conventional rooftop

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