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A New Combined Power and Cooling Cycle for Low Temperature Heat Sources

[+] Author Affiliations
D. Y. Goswami, Gunnar Tamm, Sanjay Vijayaraghavan

University of Florida, Gainesville, FL

Paper No. IJPGC2003-40157, pp. 979-985; 7 pages
  • International Joint Power Generation Conference collocated with TurboExpo 2003
  • 2003 International Joint Power Generation Conference
  • Atlanta, Georgia, USA, June 16–19, 2003
  • Conference Sponsors: Power Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-3692-4 | eISBN: 0-7918-3677-0
  • Copyright © 2003 by ASME


A new thermodynamic cycle has been developed for the simultaneous production of power and cooling from low temperature heat sources. The proposed cycle combines the Rankine and absorption refrigeration cycles, providing power and cooling in desired ratios to best suit the application. A binary mixture of ammonia and water is used as the working fluid, providing a good thermal match with the sensible heat source over a range of boiling temperatures. Due to its low boiling point, the ammonia-rich vapor expands to refrigeration temperatures while work is extracted through the turbine. Absorption condensation of the vapor back into the bulk solution occurs near ambient temperatures. The proposed cycle is suitable as a bottoming cycle using waste heat from conventional power generation systems, or can utilize low temperature solar or geothermal renewable resources. The cycle can be scaled to residential, commercial or industrial uses, providing power as the primary goal while satisfying some of the cooling requirements of the application. The cycle is under both theoretical and experimental investigations. Initial parametric studies of how the cycle performs at various operating conditions showed the potential for the cycle to be optimized. Optimization studies performed over a range of heat source and heat sink temperatures showed that the cycle could be optimized for maximum work or cooling output, or for first or second law efficiencies. Depending on the heat source temperatures, as much as half of the output may be obtained as refrigeration under optimized conditions, with refrigeration temperatures as low as 205 K being achievable. Maximum second law efficiencies over 60% have been found with the heat source between 350 and 450 K. An experimental system was constructed to verify the theoretical results and to demonstrate the feasibility of the cycle. The investigation focused on the vapor generation and absorption processes, setting up for the power and refrigeration studies to come later. The turbine was simulated with an equivalent expansion process in this initial phase of testing. Results showed that the vapor generation and absorption processes work experimentally, over a range of operating conditions and in simulating the sources and sinks of interest. The potential for combined work and cooling output was evidenced in operating the system. Comparison to ideally simulated results verified that there are thermal and flow losses present, which were assessed to make both improvements in the experimental system and modifications in the simulations to include realistic losses.

Copyright © 2003 by ASME



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