Adsorption is a heat driven cooling process. It uses an adsorption medium such as activated carbon together with a refrigerant to achieve a cooling effect. It uses a chemical rather than a mechanical compressor and is driven by heat rather than mechanical work. The operation of adsorption heat pumps and refrigerators is based on the ability of porous solids (the adsorbent) to adsorb vapour (the adsorbate or refrigerant) when at low temperature and to desorb it when heated. Although the heating and cooling provided by a single generator is discontinuous, it can be made continuous by operating two or more generators out of phase.
What is adsorption refrigeration?
Refrigeration, air conditioning and heat
- Solar or biomass powered
- refrigeration & air conditioning
Vehicle (mobile) air conditioning from
waste engine heat
- Domestic gas fired heat pumps
Has the potential to reduce the
environmental impact of cooling:
- Heat powered cycles can make use
of renewables or waste heat as well
as conventional fuels to reduce CO2
- Refrigerants used are natural working
fluids with low GWP/ODP
Research work is focused on improving performance in
these two main areas:The basic adsorption cycle has low efficiency,
- however, recovery of heat between adsorbent
beds can give good performance
- Low thermal conductivity of available adsorbent
materials can lead to large sized equipment but
innovative heat exchanger design can overcome
How far is it from the market?
Sorption Energy is a spin-out company intended to bring
the latest machines to market. This is timely competition
for the likes of Vaillant and Viessmann who plan to launch
gas fired heat pumps in spring/summer 2010.
Who is leading this research in the UK?
University of Warwick, Sustainable Energy Engineering
and Design research group led by Bob Critoph