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Solar Cooling: Absorption Cycle

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Historically, the use of absorption cycle technology has been ongoing; since around the beginning of the 20th century. Because of its novel design, absorption technology has been circulated around the world for commercial purposes.
Originally, this absorption cooling process was made famous in 1858, in France, by a scientist called Ferdinand Carre. This 20th century discovery was designed in a fairly simplistic manner, which happened to be based on a water and sulfuric acid system. After this basic blueprint had been created, other scientists began to add their own ideas to the original, thereby altering the foundational design, and trailblazing further progress which has yielded today's model of a solar powering absorption cycle.

 Not long after the Carre design was introduced, Baltzar Von Platen and Carl Munters , shared their innovations, or improvements, to Carre's design. Their new model expanded on the water and sulfuric acid system by adding a 3 fluids configuration component, as opposed to just the two. The "Platen-Munters" model was introduced out of the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden, and was special in that it had the unique function of working without a pump. A little over a decade later,  it was introduced to the public and  put on the market for commercial purchase.

 Unlike earlier models, requiring a compressor, the absorption model substitutes this need by replacing it with a liquid pump. In this case, the volume; absorber, functions as a pump in that it transforms the refrigerant by raising the heat temperature, thereby causing the refrigerant vapor to be vacuumed away. This type of absorption process requires the combination of both a refrigerant, as well as an absorbent; preferably in the form of bromide, or ammonia; as the refrigerant, and the absorbent element in water, along with  absorption refrigerator, a suitable combination of refrigerant and absorbent is used                                               

Practically speaking, the design has since taken off and has generally been used most widely for facilitating the cooling aspects for the modern day air conditioner and the home refrigerator. More importantly though, this technology, when combined with that of solar technology, has once again reinvented the way in which absorption cycles work and how their systems can be applied to facilitate the operation of various types working machines and other devices. Environmentally, the absorption model has several benefits. Compared to the vapor compression heat pumps, which have enjoyed wide commercial usage, but have harmful refrigerants, like Freon, or CFCs, that facilitate working fluid, absorption based systems use working fluids, which, by contrast, have been coined as “benign”.


The dynamic power produced by the synergy of products can be explained through thermodynamics, which pertains to the phenomenal relationship among physical elements like temperature, volume and pressure. In the case of absorption systems, we’re dealing with the relationship between fluids whose function is to generate power for the purpose of serving as a power resource, for generators; like those used in cooling, or refrigeration systems in general, depicted in the illustration below.

When used in a cooling system, their actual function is to move the antifreeze ,from point a, to point b, in a repeat cycle whenever it is being used. Essentially, these are the core devices used in air condition and refrigeration units, and generally use an insignificant amount of power, except for in the case of when they are being used as a power source for any type of mechanical device; pump, or motor. Basically, during the course of the absorption cycle, the heat is being transferred from point a; the icebox; where the heat is being generated, to the warmer temperature, which has been coined as “heat sink”. Consider the visual depiction of he closed loop system illustrated below.

In order to understand the magnitude of the above discoveries when synergized with the power or solar technology, it's useful to, first, to consider possibilities of solar power. Fundamentally, the idea behind solar power technology is based on energy storage, and the ability to capture energy for the purpose of later or simultaneous use. The way it is done is by using a method which allows the conversion of direct sunlight into electricity by using a process called photovoltaic, (PV), or by a more concentrated solar power called CSP for short. This latter method involves the process of generating power by way of using the solar energy to boil water, which in turn, has the power to facilitate an infinite number of technological based devices, by serving as  a power  generator resource.  In this process, the heat source can be used to drive engines once the energy is collected and then distributed properly, via compression, expansion, and proportional heat temperatures. The proper calculations result in working fluid, which translates to the conversion of the sun’s power into the end product, namely, functional, working, mechanics.  With that said, solar technology is based on rather simplistic ideas, but the effects, range, and potential power of solar power is epic.

Problems with Solar Technology

Despite the great potential of solar energy, devices, and technology, there are current unresolved issues associated with use of it. One of the most problematic aspects of solar energy is that it is extremely expense to install, that is, in terms of actually living off of the grid. Typically, photovoltaic is used for smaller projects that might include something as minute as serving as a battery resource for a calculator, walkway light, or as cell grids that are used for residential homes, traffic signs, or small businesses. 

Although more progressive governments and government regimes have the financial means to start off one of these solar power ventures, less fortunate families, governments, and less progressive countries do not have the financial capital, and therefore cannot reap the benefits of having an energy resource that translates to independence via financial solvency by means of unlimited energy resources. In order to accomplish such a task, a government with goals of powering technology via, free, solar power would have to actually invest in a solar power plant. To put it in perspective, two of the world’s bigger power plants are located in the U.S., and Spain, two very progressive countries. Nonetheless, the cost can be overcome overtime. Most countries, on the large scale, or families, on the smaller scale, who are interested in long term savings, continue to invest in solar power, they simply do it at a slower pace, one which is proportional to their financial portfolio. 

                  Cost Effective Benefits of Solar Powered Technology

Recently, the United States, as well as other progressive bound countries, has made it common knowledge that, the current  high energy cost, in conjunction with limited financial resources, makes renewable energy sources like solar energy a major contender in the business market. absorption chiller AC units powered by solar technology yield the lowest amount of financial output in so far as powering your cooling system. After all, as long as you have access to the sun, the rest is free, minus the initial investment in solar technology devices. 

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