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More affordable cooling

​CEA-Liten recently developed a machine that produces cold and electricity simultaneously from a low-carbon heat source. The new machine uses ten times less energy than today's compressors.

Published on 23 November 2021

​Nearly 17% of the electricity produced worldwide is used to power air conditioning systems. Researchers at CEA-Liten recently developed a machine that combines an absorption-cooling-type system and power turbine to generate cold and electricity simultaneously, using waste heat from industrial processes as an energy source. The innovation is protected by several patents.

Absorption cooling systems differ from conventional systems in that, instead of a mechanical vapor compressor, they use a chemical process based on the ability of certain liquids to absorb and desorb vapor. A pump uses the resulting difference in pressure to run the cooling cycle. Ammonia is used as the refrigerant and water as the carrier fluid in the CEA-Liten demonstrator.

Here, the researchers used numerical models to develop a high-purity ammonia vapor generator that is particularly efficient and compact. Some or all of the vapor produced can be used to run the cooling cycle or the system's integrated turbine to produce electricity. The demonstrator uses industrial waste heat at temperatures ranging from 80 °C to 200 °C as its energy source. Because there is no mechanical compressor, the system uses ten times less energy than conventional systems for the same cooling power.

Photo équipe projet TRICYCLE

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