Cooling with solar energy
Did you know that you could use the heat from the sun for cooling processes? According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), energy demand for space cooling keeps growing; in fact, it has tripled since 1990, according to the latest studies. Moreover, the IEA expects global cooling demand to double by 2040.
Today, absorption chillers and heat pump technologies are well-proven to provide efficient cooling solutions. At Industrial Solar, we offer optimized cooling solutions, including absorption chillers, heat pumps, and thermal storage, to reduce energy costs.
How do absorption chillers work?
Absorption chillers are thermal machines that have 4 main components: evaporator, absorber, generator, and condenser. In each step, the refrigerant changes phase and is conducted to the next step. The heat needed to regenerate the refrigerant in the generator can be produced by Fresnel solar collectors or another solar thermal technology. The evaporator performs cold production where the refrigerant at low pressure absorbs heat from the environment to be cooled. The principle is similar to a conventional cooler system, but instead of using a compressor, it uses a heating source at the generator/absorber side to drive the refrigeration cycle.
In conventional systems, natural gas or coal is burnt to drive the thermal process. However, a solar cooling system is designed to use the heat generated from solar thermal collectors. Depending on the required temperatures, the most common methods are a cooling cycle with a water/lithium bromide solution (H2O/Li-Br) that can reach close to 0ºC; and a cooling cycle with an ammonia/water solution (NH3 /H2O) that can generate temperatures below 0ºC.
Combining steam demand and cooling needs can make attractive business cases for solar cooling applications. In most cases, the LiBr- H20 solution is preferred since it has a higher coefficient of performance and requires lower generator temperatures. Combined with renewable solutions, absorption chillers can generate renewable cooling down to -20 °C when using ammonia-water cycles powered by our Fresnel collectors.
Cooling without emissions with Heat Pumps
Heat pumps work like a two-way air conditioner: they use electricity and a refrigerant fluid to transfer heat from one space to another. As thermal energy is extracted from a source, the source’s temperature is reduced. For instance, if a room is used as the source, thermal energy will be removed, making this space cooler. A heat pump operates according to this principle in cooling mode.
Heat pumps can be used in various industries and provide thermal energy more than 3 times the amount of electricity they use, which can come from photovoltaic systems, for example. Also, their capacities range from hundreds of kW to several MW. Heat pumps are highly efficient, and when widely adopted, they are expected to impact the carbon emissions generated by industries and buildings significantly. Instead of using fossil fuels to generate heat, a renewable energy source can be used to transfer and upgrade the thermal energy collected from the cooling side. In industrial applications, heat pumps have an extensive field for deployment to reduce costs and increase efficiency.
Which industries and applications need cooling solutions?
It is estimated that more upcoming regulations will require renewable energy sources to heat and cool buildings and processes, making it essential to use efficient systems to cool down. For instance, absorption chillers for air conditioning of large buildings already have a significant market share in countries such as Japan and the USA.
Industrial cooling solutions have become even more evident in recent years. We have seen that the pharmaceutical industry, for example, needs scalable and easy-to-integrate solutions to keep vaccines and other medicine at a specific temperature.
Keeping storage spaces cool is necessary to protect heat-sensitive goods for many manufacturers. Food and beverage industries, especially breweries and wineries, can also significantly benefit from solar cooling and heat pumps, where the demand for cooler temperatures is relatively consistent. Additionally, exploiting synergies between industrial heating and cooling systems can provide a framework for reaching the decarbonization objectives.
We bring German engineering know-how and our commitment to decarbonizing the industry together so that we can find the best possible tailor-made and optimized solutions for you. You’ll receive the following services and more!
Solar cooling solutions have significant benefits for all industries, ranging from wineries to large industrial operations. Industrial Solar’s solutions help you reduce costs and emissions. We help you decarbonize your business and become more energy independent through efficient and optimized solutions.