Comparative analysis of thermally activated, environmentally friendly cooling systems

Y. Gupta, L. Metchop, A. Frantzis, Patrick Phelan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


This paper compares the relative performances of three different thermally activated, environmentally friendly cooling systems, e.g. a silica-gel-water adsorption system, a LiBr-H2O absorption system and a desiccant air system. The adsorption and absorption systems in the current study employ water as the refrigerant, while the desiccant system cools atmospheric air directly. Each of these systems can be utilized at relatively low heat source temperatures such as achieved by flat plate solar collectors, but it is unclear which of these systems is best suited to what range of heat source temperature. Our study explores answers to this question by generating quantitative results comparing their relative thermal performance, i.e. COP and refrigeration capacity, and a qualitative comparison based on the size, maturity of technology, safe operation etc. In order to provide a fair comparison between the fundamentally different systems, a UA (overall heat transfer coefficient multiplied by the heat transfer area) value of 1.0 kW °C-1 is considered for the heat exchanger that transfers heat from the supplied hot water. Furthermore, to compare systems of similar size, the mass of silica-gel in the adsorption and desiccant systems and the mass of LiBr-H2O solution in the absorption system were specified such that each system provides the same amount of refrigeration (8.0 kW) at a source temperature of 90 °C. It is found that the absorption and adsorption cooling systems have a higher refrigeration capacity at heat source temperatures below 90 °C, while the desiccant air system outperforms the others at temperatures above 90 °C.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1091-1097
Number of pages7
JournalEnergy Conversion and Management
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2008


  • Absorption
  • Adsorption
  • Desiccant
  • Refrigeration
  • Sustainable cooling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology


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