Refrigeration energy: what it is and what are its uses

Cooling energy is usually used in the form of chilled water at a temperature of 7-12°C. Where is it needed? We can start from the classic air conditioning of working environments, warehouses, offices etc. to industrial processes that require the cooling of specific production machinery up to Data Centers and Control Rooms.
By means of lithium bromide absorption chillers, we can produce the necessary cooling energy using the heat from the exhaust fumes coming out of the turbine, in this way we obtain the combined production of 3 different energies: electrical, thermal and cooling: Trigeneration.
Here’s what to know about the advantages and related procedures thanks to the solutions offered by IBT Group in collaboration with partners Century Corporation and Capstone Green Energy.

The absorption refrigeration unit

Trigeneration, also known as CCHP (Combined Cooling, Heating and Power), also allows the production of cooling energy useful for production processes and/or air conditioning of the rooms.
Century absorption refrigerators produce cooling energy using waste heat energy, but not electricity.
The transformation of waste heat energy into cooling energy takes place by means of the absorption cycle, which takes place in the following heat exchangers:

  • The evaporator: under high vacuum conditions, water boils at very low temperatures (about 3°C) and removes heat from the chilled water, thus creating water vapour at low temperature.
  • The absorber: this low-temperature water vapour then flows into the absorber, into which a highly concentrated aqueous solution of lithium bromide is sprayed; once these two elements have combined, the water vapour precipitates as a dilute solution.
  • The generator: the diluted solution is sent to the generator, where it is heated thanks to the recovered thermal energy. At this point, the steam separates from the solution (which becomes very concentrated) due to the high temperatures, and the solution is finally sent to the absorber.
  • The condenser: Water vapour flows into the condenser, which is cooled by water at room temperature. Here, it is transformed into distilled water which is then sent to the evaporator.

What are the advantages

First of all we are in the field of ENERGY EFFICIENCY. The only use of waste heat, instead of electricity, allows a considerable saving of primary energy and consequently the reduction of CO2 emissions.
Other advantages of the production of cooling energy from trigeneration are the high productivity indexes (2,000 cold kW are obtained with less than 10 electrical kW), the simplicity of management and reduced maintenance. Without neglecting the ecological aspect (it is a 100% safe process for the ozone layer, without CFCs), the low noise emissions and vibrations and the possibility of remote control. Finally, it is characterized by modulability, which guarantees high efficiency even in non-project conditions, by the possibility to adjust the temperature in a simple and immediate way and by the patented anti-crystallization system. All this is possible thanks to the solutions of Century Corporation, a South Korean company leader for over 50 years in the production of absorption refrigerators, electric refrigerators and turnkey HVAC systems for civil, industrial, nuclear and marine sectors and of which IBT Group is exclusive partner for Europe: their systems have a life cycle of over 30 years, thanks to their solid structure, which makes them a certainty for any application needs.

Trigeneration using absorption technology

The trigeneration realized with turbine cogenerators to feed absorption chillers allows to feed air conditioning plants and/or industrial processes in different sectors, from food & beverage to chemical, from pharmaceutical to paper industry for example. To power the turbine, liquid or gaseous fuels, fossil or renewable energy sources can be used.
The Capstone turbines, which operate in a patented “oil free” regime, produce electricity and “clean” heat. The part of the heat that is not used for the customer’s processes, is collected and conveyed in order to activate the absorption cycle of the Century chiller: the result of this trigeneration process is to obtain 3 different forms of clean energy, with a single source of primary energy (significant cost savings) while limiting the tons of CO2 released into the atmosphere.