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ECN publication
Development and test of a rotating system for a continuous solid sorption process
Published by: Publication date:
ECN Energy Efficiency in Industry 1-7-2006
ECN report number: Document type:
ECN-RX--06-086 Conference Paper
Number of pages: Full text:
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Presented at: Heat Powered Cycles Conference, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, 11-14 september 2006.

The use of solid-sorption heat pumps for heating and cooling purposes can be beneficial because of the potential to reduce primary energy consumption as well as to reduce direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions. Because the basic type of operation of a solid-sorption heat pump is in batch mode, with repeated heating and cooling phases for the solid sorbent, a drawback of the technology is the fluctuation of the thermal powers consumed and delivered with time. Additional heat exchangers and/or intermediate fluids are also required to prevent the different thermal fluids for heating and cooling from becoming mixed. Another disadvantage is the use of multiple activated valves to direct the thermal fluids for heating and cooling to the sorbent heat exchangers. The efficiency of these systems is also limited because of the repeated heating and cooling of thermally inert masses, such as metal heat exchangers, that does not contribute to the heat pumping process. These drawbacks are barriers to a more widespread application of this environmentally benign technology. This paper describes the design, construction, tests and results of an innovative system concept for solid-sorption heat pumps. In the new concept multiple sorbent reactors are positioned in a rotating carrousel arrangement, and by continuous rotation go repeatedly through the process phases of adsorption and desorption, to achieve a continuous cooling process with constant thermal power levels. A lab-scale test-rig based on this new design was constructed and its performance was determined. It is shown that with the new design a continuous operation of a solid-sorption heat pump can be obtained that has constant thermal power levels for heating and cooling. Further improvements of the performance still need to be achieved by reducing the thermal inertia of the individual batch reactors and improving the performance of the evaporator.

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