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International Journal of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering

Abstract

Vapour Absorption Refrigeration Systems (VARS) are thermally activated cooling systems which can be run using waste process heat or solar energy. VARS are environment friendly and operates silently. This study attempts to convert a commercially available VARS into a standalone, portable solar-operated unit. Temperatures at the entry and exit of Generator, Rectifier, Condenser, Evaporator and Absorber in a commercially available VARS refrigeratorwere first obtained. The refrigerator is then retrofitted with a heating jacket. A hot fluid is passed through the jacket to replace the electric heating in the conventional refrigerator. The fluid is heated using a parabolic trough solar collector. Laboratory simulation of the collector was conducted using an immersion heating coil and data were recorded using commercial software LabVIEW 2010. Although temperatures obtained by the retrofitted system were equivalent to those produced by the electric heating, the time taken to attain the respective temperatures was too long to be technically viable. Sufficient wattage was also generated by the solar collector for attaining these temperatures. The heat flux generated by the present setup was not sufficient to activate the internal thermosiphon used to circulate the refrigerant and hence there was no cooling effect.Thus the use of a solar heating system on a VARS with a thermosiphon unit may not be a technically viable proposition to make it a standalone system.

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