Heat and Mass Transfer

, Volume 55, Issue 2, pp 513–531 | Cite as

Development and studies of low capacity adsorption refrigeration systems based on silica gel-water and activated carbon-R134a pairs

  • Samson Paul Pinto
  • Praveen Karanam
  • B. G. Raghavendra
  • V. Boopathi
  • Prafulkumar Mathad
  • Upendra Behera
  • Srinivasan KasthurirenganEmail author


Adsorption Refrigeration Systems (ARS) are gaining considerable importance in view of their applications in several areas and in particular to transport industries. The refrigerants used in these systems are also quite acceptable from the points of view of Global warming and Ozone depletion. In our efforts to develop such refrigeration systems for transport vehicles, a sub-atmospheric Silicagel-Water ARS (SWARS) and a positive pressure Activated Carbon / R134a ARS (ACRARS) have been designed, fabricated and experimentally studied to evaluate their performances. A lumped parameter simulation model has been used to describe the dynamic behavior of these systems. The rate of adsorption / desorption of the refrigerants in both cases are assumed to be governed by the Linear Drive Force (LDF) model. The amount of refrigerants in adsorbent at equilibrium conditions are assumed to be described by the equations for modified Freundlich and Dubinin-Astakhov models for SWARS and ACRARS respectively. The simulation models are numerically solved by finite difference method with the simulation programs coded in MATLAB. The simulation results are found to be in good agreement with experimental results in both cases. A two-bed Silicagel-water adsorption refrigeration system has been built and it is well known that the refrigeration is produced at the evaporator. If the refrigeration power is not used to cool an external heat load (for example, by allowing the circulation of water through the heat exchanger coil embedded in the evaporator), the evaporator reaches the lowest temperature. This is the no-load condition at which the refrigeration power produced by the system is zero. When the evaporator temperature is higher than this lowest temperature, a finite refrigeration power is produced which increases with increasing evaporator temperature. The above Silicagel-water system reaches the lowest temperature of 5.3°C at no load conditions and produces a refrigeration power of ~ 284 ± 9 W at 18°C, which refers to the average temperature (Tavg) of the flowing water through the heat exchanger coil within the evaporator. An experimental COP of 0.52 has been measured for this system. On the other hand, the simulation model predicts a refrigeration power of 325 W at 18 °C with a COP of 0.55. Using Activated Carbon - R134a pair, a four bed adsorption refrigeration system has been designed and developed. The refrigeration system is designed such that it can be operated in three different configurations and they are: (A) A single bed (i.e. all four beds arranged in parallel), (B) A twin bed, (i.e. the four beds get grouped in two pairs and undergo the opposite processes of the adsorption cycle and (C) Four independent beds each undergoing the different processes of the adsorption cycle. The measured lowest temperatures under no-load conditions are 14.5 °C, 13.3 °C and 11.9 °C for configurations A, B and C respectively as against the predictions of the simulations which are 13.3°C, 12.5 °C & 11.4°C. The experimentally measured refrigeration powers are 430 ± 13 W, 556 ± 17 W and 657 ± 20 W at the Tavg temperature of 28.5 °C for configurations A, B and C respectively. On the other hand, the refrigeration powers predicted by simulation are 450 W, 582 W and 690 W for the respective configurations. The measured COP values are 0.5, 0.65 and 0.70 for configurations A, B and C respectively as against those predicted by simulation which are 0.54, 0.67 and 0.73 respectively. It is observed that the experimental results are reasonably in good agreement with those predicted by the simulations. The highlight of the present work is that the Activated Carbon - R134a Adsorption Refrigeration System produces continuous refrigeration power which can be very useful for practical applications. Efforts are now underway to adopt this refrigeration system for cooling of truck cabins.



Overall conductance of adsorber bed during adsorption process (W/K)


Overall conductance of condenser (W/K)


Overall conductance of evaporator heat exchanger (W/K)


Overall conductance of adsorber bed during desorption process (W/K)


Specific heat of adsorbent (kJ/ kg K)


Specific heat of adsorbent bed heat exchanger (kJ/kg K)


Specific heat of condenser heat exchanger (kJ/kg K)


Specific heat of evaporator heat exchanger (kJ/kg K)


Specific heat of refrigerant (kJ/kg K)


Specific heat of refrigerant vapour (kJ/kg K)


Coefficient of performance


Specific Cooling Power (W/kg of adsorbent)


Pre-exponential constant in the kinetics equation (m2/s)


Activation energy of surface diffusion (kJ/kg)


Latent heat of vaporization of Refrigerant (kJ/kg)


Mass of adsorbent (kg)


Mass of Heat exchanger of adsorbent bed (kg)


Mass of condenser heat exchanger (kg)


Mass of evaporator heat exchanger (kg)


Mass of refrigerant in evaporator (kg)


Total mass of adsorbent used in the refrigerator (kg)

\( \dot{m} \)

Mass flow rate (kg/s)

\( {\dot{m}}_{cads} \)

Mass flow rate of cold water to adsorber bed (kg/s)

\( {\dot{m}}_{hads} \)

Mass flow rate of hot water to adsorber bed (kg/s)

\( {\dot{m}}_{ccon} \)

Mass flow rate of cold water to condenser (kg/s)

\( {\dot{m}}_{ceva} \)

Mass flow rate of chilled water to evaporator (kg/s)


Pressure (Pa)


Saturation vapour pressure of refrigerant in evaporator (Pa)


Saturation vapour pressure of refrigerant in Adsorbent (Pa)


Cycle average cooling power (W)


Cycle average heating input (W)


Isosteric heat of adsorption (kJ /kg)


Uptake of adsorbent at a given time (kg/kg of adsorbent)


Coefficient in RHS of D-A equation (kg/kg of adsorbent)


Adsorption uptake (kg/kg of adsorbent)


Desorption quantity (kg/kg of adsorbent)


Equilibrium uptake (kg/kg of adsorbent)

\( {q}_{ac}^{\ast } \)

Equilibrium uptake (kg/kg of activated carbon)

\( {q}_{sg}^{\ast } \)

Equilibrium uptake (kg/kg of silica gel)


Concentration (kg of adsorbate /kg of adsorbent)


Universal gas constant (kJ/kg K)


Average radius of Silica gel (m)


Temperature (K)


Cold water inlet temperature to adsorber bed (°C)


Cold water outlet temperature from adsorber bed (°C)


Hot water inlet temperature to adsorber bed (°C)


Hot water outlet temperature from adsorber bed (°C)


Temperature of condenser (°C)


Temperature of cold water inlet to condenser (°C)


Temperature of cold water outlet from condenser (°C)


Temperature of evaporator (°C)


Temperature of chilled water inlet to evaporator (°C)


Temperature of chilled water outlet from evaporator (°C)


Refrigerant Temperature (°C)


Adsorbent Temperature (°C)


Average Temperature of flowing water through evaporator (°C)


Inlet Temperature of flowing water through evaporator (°C)


Outlet Temperature of flowing water through evaporator (°C)


Cycle time (s)


Time (s)


Coefficient A in Freundlich Equation


Coefficient B in Freundlich Equation


Coefficient of D-A equation


Power coefficient in RHS of D-A equation


Constant of expansion of A(Tads) as power series


First order coefficient of expansion of A(Tads) (K−1)


Second order coefficient of expansion of A(Tads) (K−2)


Third order coefficient of expansion of A(Tads) (K−3)


Constant of expansion of B(Tads) as power series


First order coefficient of expansion of B(Tads) (K−1)


Second order coefficient of expansion of B(Tads) (K−2)


Third order coefficient of expansion of B(Tads) (K−3)


Overall mass transfer coefficient during adsorption (s-1)


Overall mass transfer coefficient during desorption (s-1)

Nomenclatures of symbols used in Annexures


Mass of water (kg)


Time (s)

\( \dot{m} \)

Mass flow rate (kg/s)


Temperature (K)


Temperature difference (K)


Uncertainty in measurement of mass of cooling water (kg)

\( {W}_{\dot{m}} \)

Uncertainty in measurement of mass flow rate (kg/s)


Uncertainty in measurement of cooling power (W)


Uncertainty in measurement of time (s)


Uncertainty in measurement of temperature difference (K)


Latent heat of vaporization of water at temperature T (kJ/kg)


Fraction of water vaporized (kg/kg of original quantity)


Pressure (Pa)


Vapour pressure corresponding temperature T1


Vapour pressure corresponding temperature T2


Average Temperature of flowing water through evaporator (°C)


Inlet Temperature of flowing water through evaporator (°C)


Outlet Temperature of flowing water through evaporator (°C)



The authors wish to acknowledge the financial support from Ingersoll Rand, Bangalore for carrying out research work in the area of adsorption refrigeration. They are also thankful to CCT staff for their valuable helps in the fabrication of the experimental setup.


  1. 1.
    Dieng AO, Wang RZ (2001) Literature review on solar adsorption technologies for ice-making and air conditioning purposes and recent developments in solar technology. Renew Sust Energ Rev 5:313–342CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Meunier F (1993) Solid sorption: an alternative to CFC's. Heat Recovery Syst CHP 13:289–295CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Srinivasan K (2006) Activated carbon-based adsorption systems – thermodynamics, heat, and mass transfer aspects of gas storage and refrigeration, in 18th National and 7th ISHMT-ASME Heat Transfer Conference, Guwahati, India, (Paper No. K-14)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Wang R, Wang L, Wu J (2014) Adsorption refrigeration technology- theory and application. Wiley. Singapore Pte. LtdGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Liu YL, Wang RZ, Xia ZZ (2005) Experimental performance of a silica gel–water adsorption chiller. Appl Therm Eng 25:359–375CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Boelman EC, Saha BB, Kashiwagi T (1995) Experimental investigation of a silica gel/water adsorption refrigeration cycle the influence of operating conditions on cooling output and COP. ASHRAE Trans Res 101(2):358–366Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Pan QW, Wang RZ, Wang LW, Liu D (2016) Design and experimental study of a Silica gel/Water adsorption chiller with modular adsorbers. Int J RefrigGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Mitra S, Kumar P, Srinivasan K, Dutta P (2015) Performance evaluation of a two stage silica gel+water adsorption based cooling cum desalination system. Int J Refrig 58:186–198CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Sakoda A, Suzuki M (1984) Fundamental study on solar powered adsorption cooling system. J Chem Eng Jpn 17:52–57CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Passos EF, Escobedo JF (1989) Simulation of an intermittent adsorptive solar cooling system. Sol Energy 42:103–111CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Anyanwu EE, Ezekwe CI (2003) Design, construction and test run of a solid adsorption solar refrigerator using activated carbon/methanol, as adsorbent/adsorbate pair. Energy Convers Manag 44:2879–2892CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Khattab NM (2006) Simulation and optimization of a novel solar-powered adsorption refrigeration module. Sol Energy 80:823–833CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Hassan HZ, Mohamad AA, Bennacer R (2011) Simulation of an adsorption solar cooling system. Energy 36:530–537CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Qasem NAA, El-Shaarawi MAI (2015) Thermal analysis and modelling study of an activated carbon solar adsorption icemaker: Dhahran case study. Energy Convers Manag 100:310–323CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Saha BB, Boelman EC, Kashiwagi T (1995) Computer simulation of a silica gel/water adsorption refrigeration cycle the influence of operating conditions on cooling output and COP. ASHRAE Trans Res 101(2):348–357Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Chua HT, Ng KC, Malek A, Kashiwagi T, Akisawa A, Saha BB (1999) Modelling the performance of two-bed, silica gel/water adsorption chillers. Int J Refrig 22:194–204CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Chua HT, Ng KC, Wang W, Yap C, Wang XL (2004) Transient modelling of a two-bed silica gel–water adsorption chiller. Int J Heat Mass Transf 47:659–669CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Wang DC, Wu JY, Xia ZZ, Zhai H, Wang RZ, Dou WD (2005) Study of a novel silica gel–water adsorption chiller. Part II. Experimental study. Int J Refrig 28:1084–1091CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Yang P (2009) Heat and mass transfer in adsorbent bed with consideration of non-equilibrium adsorption. Appl Therm Eng 3198–3203Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Lu ZS, Wang RZ, Xia ZZ, Wu QB, Sun YM, Chen ZY (2011) An analysis of the performance of a novel solar silica gel/water adsorption air conditioning. Appl Therm Eng 31:3636–3642CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Rezk ARM, Al-Dadah RK (2012) Physical and operating conditions effects on silica gel/water adsorption chiller performance. Appl Energy 89:142–149CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Niazmand H, Talebian H, Mahdavikhah M (2012) Bed geometrical specifications effects on the performance of silica/water adsorption chillers. Int J Refrig 35:2261–2274CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Wang X, Chua HT (2007) Two bed silica gel/water adsorption chillers: an effectual lumped parameter model. Int J Refrig 30:1417–1426CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Wang LW, Wu JY, Wang RZ, Xu YX, Wang SG, Li XR (2003) Study of the performance of activated carbon–methanol adsorption systems concerning heat and mass transfer. Appl Therm Eng 23:1605–1617CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Zhao Y, Hu E, Blazewicz A (2012) Dynamic modelling of an activated carbon–methanol adsorption refrigeration tube with considerations of interfacial convection and transient pressure process. Appl Energy 95:276–284CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Gordeeva L, Aristov Y (2014) Dynamic study of methanol adsorption on activated carbon ACM-35.4 for enhancing the specific cooling power of adsorptive chillers. Appl Energy 117:127–133CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Ramji HR, Leo SL, Abdullah MO (2014) Parametric study and simulation of a heat-driven adsorber for air conditioning system employing activated carbon–methanol working pair. Appl Energy 113:324–333CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Hamamoto Y, Alam KCA, Saha BB, Koyama S, Akisawa A, Kashiwagi T (2006) Study on adsorption refrigeration cycle utilizing activated carbon fibres. Part 2. Cycle performance evaluation. Int J Refrig 29:315–327CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Tso CY, Chao CYH, Fu SC (2012) Performance analysis of a waste heat driven activated carbon based composite adsorbent – water adsorption chiller using simulation model. Int J Heat Mass Transf 55:7596–7610CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Askalany AA, Salem M, Ismail IM, Ali AHH, Morsy MG (2012) Experimental study on adsorption - desorption characteristics of granular activated carbon/R134a pair. Int J Refrig 35:494–498CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Shmroukh AN, Ali AHH, Abel-Rahman AK (2013) Experimental study on adsorption capacity of activated carbon pairs with different refrigerants. Int J Chem Mol Nucl Mater Metall Eng 7:11Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Attalla M, Sadek S (2014) Experimental investigation of granular activated carbon/R-134a pair for adsorption cooling system applications. J Power Energy Eng 2:11–20CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Yang P (2009) Mathematics model for heat and mass transfer on an adsorption bed. Heat Transfer Asian Res 38(8)Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Yang P (2010) Thermodynamic analysis and performance study for adsorption refrigeration cycle driven by a fuel cell electric vehicle waste heat. Heat Transfer Asian Res 39(7)Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Kasthurirengan S (2017) Final technical report – development of adsorption refrigeration systems – collaborative project with Ingersoll Rand, BangaloreGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Nicol J, Bohm HV (1960) Continuous refrigeration between 4.2 K and to 1K. Adv Cryog Eng 5:332Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ingersoll Rand Technologies & Services Pvt. LtdBengaluruIndia
  2. 2.Manipal Institute of Technology, MAHEManipalIndia
  3. 3.Vidyavardhaka College of EngineeringMysuruIndia
  4. 4.Centre for Cryogenic TechnologyIndian Institute of ScienceBengaluruIndia

Personalised recommendations