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International Journal of Emerging Technology and Advanced Engineering

Website: (ISSN 2250-2459, Volume 2, Issue 10, October 2012)

Adsorption Refrigeration System for Cabin Cooling of Trucks

Harish Tiwari1, Dr. G. V. Parishwad2
Associate Professor, Mechanical Department, Pimpri Chinchwad College of Engineering, Nigdi, Pune - 411 044 India
Professor, Mechanical Department, Government College of Engineering, Pune - 411 005 India
Abstract - The work presented in this paper is design The feasibility proved theoretically for automobiles but
development and experimentation of an adsorption very little could be done to demonstrate it practically for
refrigeration system powered by exhaust heat with only two mobile applications. At present no VAR system is available
control valves. The cooling capacity for a truck cabin is in market for capacities up to 10 kW (Jacob, 2006).
estimated as 1 TR a scale of 3.5:1 is decided and a prototype
of 1 kW has been designed and developed and tested in A. Adsorption Systems
laboratory. A cooling effect of 1 to 1.2 kW has been obtained.
Solid vapour adsorption is similar to liquid vapour
The COP of the system is in the range of 0 4 to 0.45. The
dimensions of the system are compact. It can be easily absorption system, except that the refrigerant is adsorbed at
accommodated on a Transport Truck. The total weight of the the surface of another solid known as adsorbent. A report,
system for a cooling capacity of 1 kW is 30 kg. The heating presented by Metrons transportation centre suggests the
time required to achieve the cooling effect is around 10 suitability of Adsorption systems for vehicles (Christry,
minutes. 2001). In that report the performance of VCR system and
VAR system has been compared. Series of carried
Keywords - Prototype, Truck cabin cooling, Engine exhaust, experimental results suggest about the feasibility of
Adsorption cooling. adsorption systems. NH3 - activated carbon has been
suggested as refrigerant - adsorbent pair. “Wang et al.
I. INTRODUCTION (2009) after comparing the performances of various
For automobile air conditioning normally vapour suitable systems has claimed that adsorption system is
compression refrigeration cycle is used. The cycle run on more suitable for automobile cooling”.
engine power and consumes around 10% of the total power “Saha et al (2003) in the presented work have
produced by the engine and thereby increases the fuel demonstrated dual mode silica gel water adsorption chillers
consumption (Lambert and Jones, 2006). In case of truck design along with various temperature ranges and obtained
large amount of heat of input around 30% of the total heat optimum results for temperature range of 50 oC and 55 oC.
supplied is going away with exhaust gases at very high Comparison of COP has been presented for three stage
temperature and around 25%to 30% is going away with mode and single stage multiple modes. Simulation has been
cooling water. This can be effectively used to develop a presented and the COP is in the range of 0.2 and 0.45
heat generated cooling system.(Alam,2006) respectively.” “Wang and Oliveira (2005) have presented
the achievements in solid sorption refrigeration prototypes,
II. LITERATURE REVIEW obtained since the interest in sorption system was renewed
The first refrigerator automobile air conditioning system at the end of 1970s. The applications included ice making
was vapour compression refrigeration system and was and air conditioning.” “Wang (2005) in his work claimed to
introduced by Packer in 1939. In the last 70 years, obtain COP of 0.15 for solar application. In the review
automobile air conditioning system has undergone gradual work the details of performance of adsorption system for
and continual improvements in performance and efficiency different applications with COP has been presented in a
as a result of improvements in the individual components tabular form. The COP is in the range of 0.3 to 0.6.” “Kong
(McLaughlin, 2005). Alternative systems powered by heat et al. (2005) have presented an experimental investigation
which can be used in automobiles are solid adsorption of the performance of a micro combined, cooling heating
cooling systems, thermo acoustic refrigeration, active and power system driven by a gas engine. In the described
magnetic regenerator system thermo electric devices and system a COP of 0.3 for refrigeration at 13 oC has been
vapour absorption refrigeration (VAR) systems (Zoontjens, obtained successfully. The suggested system can supply
2005),(Johnson,2002).VAR systems were found to be more electricity of 12 kW and heat load of 28 kW and cooling
suitable and efforts have been made to develop (VAR) load of 9 kW simultaneously.”
systems (Koehler, 1997), (Mclaughlin 2005), (Kim and
Park, 2007).
International Journal of Emerging Technology and Advanced Engineering
Website: (ISSN 2250-2459, Volume 2, Issue 10, October 2012)
“Maggio et al. (2006) presents the results of a predictive These problems can be solved by implementing the
two dimensional mathematical model of an adsorption suggested improvements mentioned in the review. The
cooling machine consisting of a double consolidated surface area volume ratio is higher for activated carbon and
adsorbent bed with internal heat recovery. Internal heat the latent heat of ammonia is the maximum after water, so
recovery enhances the COP”. It is suggested that the this pair is suggested as suitable adsorbent and refrigerant
adsorbent thickness should be limited to 2 to 3 mm for pair.
optimum results.
“Lambert and Jones (2006) has presented a detailed III. PROPOSED SYSTEM AND WORKING PRINCIPLE
study of vapour adsorption refrigeration system specifically The exhaust of an I.C. engine test rig is used to supply
for automobile air conditioning. Adsorption cooling has the necessary heat to the adsorber. The schematic diagram
been compared with other heat generated cooling of the system is shown in Figure 1. The set up consists of
technologies and it is claimed that adsorption system is the two adsorber, two condensers and one evaporator. The
best alternative in terms of size and mass.” In the second condensers are connected to the evaporator through control
part of his work he has demonstrated air conditioner for a valves.
car successfully. The detailed design of the critical Two adsorber beds are proposed one in heating mode
components has also been presented. It has been claimed and another in cooling mode. One of the adsorber is
that the overall weight of the system is ~3.5 percent to the charged with refrigerant ammonia. Two condensers, one
total vehicle mass, which is at par with the mass of current evaporator .two control valves and one evaporator are
systems. Similar work has been done to demonstrate a connected as shown in Fig. 2.The condensers and
cooling system for a car developing 2 kW cooling power evaporator is fitted with a fan for forced air circulation.
with COP 0.22, bed thickness ( δad ) of 4 mm and an eight
way valve has been suggested in this work (Tamainot et al.,
2008 ). “Wang et al (2006) has presented a design of an
adsorption air conditioner for locomotive driver cabin,
powered by 350 oC – 450oC exhaust gases. The cooling
power and COP is 5 KW and 0.25 respectively”. The cycle
time of 1060 s with exhaust temperature of 450 oC cooling
air temp of 40oC and chilled water temp. of 10 oC is
achieved. The specific cooling power of 164 W/kg to 200
W/kg has been obtained. “Huguess, and Beyene (2008) has
presented an approach for the heat recovery from the
automotive engine to improve COP”. Some innovative
methods like use of fuzzy controller, heat pipe, additives in
adsorber bed, suction pump with adsorber have been
demonstrated in some papers to enhance the performance
of adsorption systems (Farzaneh, and Tootoonchi, 2008
),(Fadar et al., 2009),(Tassou et al., 2009),(Hirot et al.,
2008). Where,
1and 2 are adsorbers,3and 4 condensers,5 evaporator,8
B. Synopsis of Adsorption Systems
fan, 9 and 10 heat input and output,11 and 12 cooling inlet
The above review is of some selected recent paper. The and outlet, 6 and 7 control valves
other referred work is also in the same direction .It is clear The Engine exhaust gases enter the adsorber filled with
that the vapour adsorption system has a strong potential to ammonia to heat the adsorber bed at constant mass.
be used as an alternative cooling system. The presented Adsorber rejects the refrigerant with the adsorption of heat
design suffered from low heat available, low live mass of as the adsorptivity is a function of rise in temperature. The
adsorbing material, leakage problems, inefficient heat refrigerant gets compressed because of heating at constant
transfer, poor thermal conductivity of adsorber bed , mass. The compressed refrigerant passes to condenser
settling of adsorbed particles, which cause the absorbent to through control valve. The refrigerant which is in gaseous
loose contact with the heat exchanger, and low specific state is condensed in the condenser at high pressure
cooling power. depending on the atmospheric temperature.

International Journal of Emerging Technology and Advanced Engineering
Website: (ISSN 2250-2459, Volume 2, Issue 10, October 2012)
On one side of control valve the pressure is high and on A. Design of Adsorber
the other side of control valve the pressure is low. The In adsorption refrigeration system adsorber is the most
control valve outlet is connected to the other adsorber in important component Adsorber works like generator as
cooling mode through evaporator and other condenser. The well as absorber both of an absorption system. It is a shell
control valve (number 6 in figure) is opened very gradually and tube double pipe heat exchanger as shown in Figure 2.
so that pressure in the adsober (number 1) remains There are three concentric tubes of stainless steel. The
constant. The liquid refrigerant starts getting converted to adsorbing material is filled between the gap of inner tube
vapour at low pressure and refrigerating effect is produced. and the middle tube. The adsorbing material is activated
The vapour at low pressure enters the adsorber (number 2) charcoal and the refrigerant is ammonia. End covers are
through condenser (number 4). fitted at the ends of these tubes to hold the adsoerbing
The adsorber absobs the refrigerant, ammonia. The material. The exhaust gases flow through the inner tube and
adsober is in cooling mode and is cooled by water. Cooling the annular space between the outer tube and the middle
of adsorber is essential to maintain the adsorptivity of the tube. The adsorbing material is heated from both side i e
adsorber. The pressure in the adsober gradually increases. from inside and outside. Fins are provided from outside of
The cooling effect at the condenser is continued till there is the middle tube and to the inner tube from inside to
a pressure difference in adsorber on and adsober 2. Once enhance heat transfer from exhaust gases to the adsorbing
the the adsorber is filled with ammonia. The heating is material. 10 % aluminum chips by weight are added to the
stopped and adsorber one is cooled with water and the adsorbing material to enhance the conduction in the
cycle is repeated by heating adsober 2. adsorber bed. The adsorbing material is closely packed in
the space. The adsorptivity of activated carbon at 60 oC is
IV. DESIGN OF PROPOSED SYSTEM 30% and that at 160 oC is around 0 %. The system is
The main system components are adsorbers, condenser, designed for heating and cooling time of 450 s.
and evaporator and control valves. These are basically heat Adsorber temperatures are decided as T ad,max = 160 oC
exchangers and are designed by using heat transfer and Tad,min = 60 oC. Designed refrigerating effect (R.E.) =
equations and thermal correlations. The cooling load for a 1 kW, latent heat of evaporation of ammonia (L) at
transport truck is obtained considering the following points. evaporator pressure is 1035 kJ/kg. Amount of ammonia is
The cooling load required for a medium size truck has obtained by dividing the R.E. by latent heat as 0.45 kg.
been calculated as around 3, so a cooling system of 1 TR Mass of adsorber, mad is obtained as 1.65kg. Density of
should be sufficient to maintain the desired conditions. The adsorbing material (ad) is 680 kg/m3 adsorbent thickness =
useful heat available in the engine exhaust of transport 10 mm. Volume of adsorber, is calculated, Vad = 0.005 m3..
truck is calculated and is more than 50 kW, for a small size Heat required to heat or cool adsorber between 60 oC and
truck considered for reference. Whereas the required heat 165 oC is the summation of sensible heat and latent heat of
to operate the cooling system with minimum COP of 0.2 is refrigerant at evaporator pressure. It is given by “equation
17.5 kW. So the exhaust potential to drive the system is (1)” and “equation (2)”.
justified. Qsensible, heating = [(mad  Cpad ΔTad) +
It is decided to first develop a prototype to study the
effect of different variables and optimization of the system (mst  Cpst ΔTst)] ÷ Δt (1)
parameters. A scale of 3.5: 1 is decided and a prototype of Qlatent heating = [mad (X2 - X1) x (H2 - H1)] ÷ Δt (2)
1 kW capacity is designed and developed in the Qadsorber = Qasensible,heating + Qlatent heating (3)
Laboratory. The adsorber and refrigerant are selected as From “equation (3)”, The heat required to heat or cool
activated carbon granules and Ammonia. Considering the the adsorber (Qad,heating) is calculated. Qad,heating = 2 kW for
temperature of exhaust gases and high latent heat of getting a cooling effect of 1 kW.
Ammonia this combination is found to be suitable. The The heat transfer area is calculated from the following
adsorbers, condenser, evaporator and the control valves are equation.
the main components of the system. The adsorber has been
designed and developed to enhance the heat transfer. The Q = U x A x Tad (4)
other components are readily available like the evaporator The overall heat transfer coefficient, Uo depeds upon the
and condenser for automobiles and the control valves used inside and outside heat transfer coefficients and the
in ammonia refrigeration systems. conductance through steel tubes and adsorbing material.

International Journal of Emerging Technology and Advanced Engineering
Website: (ISSN 2250-2459, Volume 2, Issue 10, October 2012)
It is calculated using overall heat transfer through a C. Evaporator
compound cylinder. The area required for heat transfer to The evaporator is a cross flow box type compact heat
supply the heat of 2 kW to the adsorber is calculated as Aad exchanger. It is exposed to the cabin to be cooled. In the
= 0.6 m2. The area available for heat transfer in this case is experimental set up the evaporator is provided with a fan.
0.45 m2. Fins are provided on the middle shell and inside The designed cooling temperature is 30 0C. The evaporator
the central tube increases the area to around 0.8 m2. This is connected to both the condensers through control valves.
area should be sufficient for heat transfer. The final It has been designed to have a temperature difference of
dimensions and main features of the adsorber of the system around 15 0C. The evaporator of this system has to work in
are given in Table I. both directions as the refrigerant will be coming as inlet
The theoretical COP is calculated as 0.5. The pressure from one side as well as from other side also depending
drop in the adsorber heat exchanger is given by following upon heating and cooling mode of the adsorbers. It is fitted
equation [5]; with a fan for forced air circulation.
P = [f Gs2 (Nb +1)Ds] ÷ (2 x  x De ) (5)
f = e (0.57-0.19lnRe) (6) A small prototype for a cooling capacity of 200 W has
Pressure drop is obtained as 0.42 Pa, the design is safe, been designed and built as shown in the Fig. 3. Two
as allowable pressure drop is 4 kPa [11, 12]. adsorber developed and connected to condenser coil. An
B. Condenser evaporator coil was placed between the two condenser
through control valve. Two pressure gauges were fitted to
Condenser will be exposed to atmospheric air striking the adsorber and tested as first stage of developments.
with truck velocity. Temperature difference is assumed to
be 7 0C. Qc = 2 kW. The standard condenser used in TABLE I
automobiles has been used for the experimentation. A fan SYSTEM
is fitted to the condenser for condensing the refrigerant in
the condenser. Condensers are two in number and are Refrigerant used Ammonia
connected to each adsorber.
The outlet of the condenser is connected to control Adsorbing material Activated charcoal 4 mm
valves. (Photo condenser) (coconut shell) granule size

Mass of adsorbing material 1.8 kg

in each adsorber

Mass of refrigerant 0.6 kg

Weight of each adsorber 10.5 kg

Length and Diameter of 1.1 m and 110 mm.


Weight of condenser with 2.4 kg


Weight of evaporator 2.4 kg

Overall weight of the 30 kg


Fig. 2 Condenser Number of control valves 2

Control valve size 10 mm

International Journal of Emerging Technology and Advanced Engineering
Website: (ISSN 2250-2459, Volume 2, Issue 10, October 2012)
The engine power required to run an air conditioning
system can be saved by using waste heat powered cooling
system. After literature review in the field of alternative
cooling systems powered by heat, adsorption air cooling
systems with activated carbon and NH3 as adsorbent
refrigerant pair is selected and used in the present system.
In the present system solid material is used as adsorber
which makes the system suitable for mobile applications.
The design COP of the system is around 0.5 for a cooling
capacity of 1 kW. The overall weight of the system for
cooling capacity of 1 TR is estimated as 30 kg. The system
is quite compact and can be installed in a truck. The
reduced number of valves makes the system more reliable
and leakage free. The innovative heat exchanger as
adsorber reduces the heating and cooling time. The mass of
Fig3 Prototype of Adsorption system ammonia in the system is 600 gms.
This work has been supported by Pimpri chinchwad
The experiments have been carried out on the prototype College of Engineering (PCCOE) Nigdi Pune 44,
using a blower stove as a heat source. One of the adsorber Maharashtra India and Board of College and University
was heated and another cooled simultaneously. The results Development, (BCUD) University of Pune, Pune- 411 007,
are tabulated in Table II. Maharashtra, India. The authors are thankful to PCCOE
TABLE II and BCUD and concerned authorities.
Heat A Area of heat transfer (m2)
consumptio RE Cp Specific heat at constant pressure (kJ/kg
S. Heating supplied
n-ion COP
N time(s) K)
(kJ) CV Calorific value of fuel (kJ/kg)
D Diameter of shell (m)

1. 600 24 141 1080 .117 d Diameter of tube (mm)

G Mass density (kg/m2 s)

2. 630 25 137 1125 .112
h Heat transfer coefficient ( W/m2K )

3. 645 27 134 1215 .104 H Enthalpy of refrigerant (kJ/kg)

k Thermal conductivity (W/m K)

4. 660 29 130 1305 .097
L Length of tubes (m)

mr Mass flow rate of refrigerant ( kg/s)

5. 720 31 125 1395 .094
Nb Number of baffle plates
n Number of tubes
PR Pitch ratio
International Journal of Emerging Technology and Advanced Engineering
Website: (ISSN 2250-2459, Volume 2, Issue 10, October 2012)
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