Thermodynamic Optimization of Solar-Driven Refrigerators

[+] Author and Article Information
J. V. C. Vargas, A. Bejan

Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708-0300

M. Sokolov

Department of Fluid Mechanics and Heat Transfer, Tel-Aviv University, Ramat-Aviv 69978 Israel

J. Sol. Energy Eng 118(2), 130-135 (May 01, 1996) (6 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2847995 History: Received December 01, 1994; Revised September 01, 1995; Online February 14, 2008


This paper describes the thermodynamic optimization of a class of refrigerators without work input, which are driven by heat transfer from a solar collector. The model consists of a finite-size solar collector with heat loss to the ambient, and a refrigerator with three finite-size heat exchangers, namely, the evaporator between refrigeration load and refrigerant, the condenser between the refrigerant and the ambient, and the heat exchanger between the solar collector and the refrigerant. The total thermal conductance of the three heat exchangers is fixed. The solar collector heat loss to the ambient is proportional to the collector-ambient temperature difference. The first part of the paper reports the operating conditions for maximum refrigeration effect, specifically, the optimal collector temperature, and the optimal way of allocating the thermal conductance inventory to the three heat exchangers. For example, the optimal condenser conductance is equal to half of the total thermal conductance, and is independent of other operating parameters. The second part of the paper examines the changes in the optimal design when the price of the refrigeration load (pL ) is different (higher) than the price of the heat input provided by the collector (pH ). The optimal collector temperature and the optimal three-way allocation of the thermal conductance inventory are reported as functions of the price ratio pH /pL .

Copyright © 1996 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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