US20180100676A1 - Solar device for autonomous refrigeration by solid-gas sorption - Google Patents

Solar device for autonomous refrigeration by solid-gas sorption Download PDF

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Publication number
US20180100676A1
US20180100676A1 US15/560,115 US201615560115A US2018100676A1 US 20180100676 A1 US20180100676 A1 US 20180100676A1 US 201615560115 A US201615560115 A US 201615560115A US 2018100676 A1 US2018100676 A1 US 2018100676A1
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Prior art keywords
reactor
working fluid
refrigerant
tank
tubular
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US15/560,115
Inventor
Driss Stitou
Sylvain Mauran
Nathalie Mazet
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Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique CNRS
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Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique CNRS
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Priority to FR1552396 priority Critical
Priority to FR1552396A priority patent/FR3034179B1/en
Application filed by Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique CNRS filed Critical Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique CNRS
Priority to PCT/EP2016/056382 priority patent/WO2016151017A1/en
Publication of US20180100676A1 publication Critical patent/US20180100676A1/en
Assigned to CENTRE NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE SCIENTIFIQUE reassignment CENTRE NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE SCIENTIFIQUE ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: STITOU, DRISS, MAURAN, SYLVAIN, MAZET, NATHALIE
Abandoned legal-status Critical Current

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    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F25REFRIGERATION OR COOLING; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS; MANUFACTURE OR STORAGE OF ICE; LIQUEFACTION SOLIDIFICATION OF GASES
    • F25BREFRIGERATION MACHINES, PLANTS OR SYSTEMS; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT-PUMP SYSTEMS
    • F25B27/00Machines, plant, or systems, using particular sources of energy
    • F25B27/002Machines, plant, or systems, using particular sources of energy using solar energy
    • F25B27/007Machines, plant, or systems, using particular sources of energy using solar energy in sorption type systems
    • F24J2/24
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F24HEATING; RANGES; VENTILATING
    • F24SSOLAR HEAT COLLECTORS; SOLAR HEAT SYSTEMS
    • F24S10/00Solar heat collectors using working fluids
    • F24S10/70Solar heat collectors using working fluids the working fluids being conveyed through tubular absorbing conduits
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F25REFRIGERATION OR COOLING; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS; MANUFACTURE OR STORAGE OF ICE; LIQUEFACTION SOLIDIFICATION OF GASES
    • F25BREFRIGERATION MACHINES, PLANTS OR SYSTEMS; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT-PUMP SYSTEMS
    • F25B17/00Sorption machines, plant, or systems, operating intermittently, e.g. absorption or adsorption type
    • F25B17/08Sorption machines, plant, or systems, operating intermittently, e.g. absorption or adsorption type the absorbent or adsorbent being a solid, e.g. salt
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F28HEAT EXCHANGE IN GENERAL
    • F28DHEAT-EXCHANGE APPARATUS, NOT PROVIDED FOR IN ANOTHER SUBCLASS, IN WHICH THE HEAT-EXCHANGE MEDIA DO NOT COME INTO DIRECT CONTACT
    • F28D20/00Heat storage plants or apparatus in general; Regenerative heat-exchange apparatus not covered by groups F28D17/00 or F28D19/00
    • F28D20/003Heat storage plants or apparatus in general; Regenerative heat-exchange apparatus not covered by groups F28D17/00 or F28D19/00 using thermochemical reactions
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y02TECHNOLOGIES OR APPLICATIONS FOR MITIGATION OR ADAPTATION AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE
    • Y02ATECHNOLOGIES FOR ADAPTATION TO CLIMATE CHANGE
    • Y02A30/00Adapting or protecting infrastructure or their operation
    • Y02A30/27Relating to heating, ventilation or air conditioning [HVAC] technologies
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y02TECHNOLOGIES OR APPLICATIONS FOR MITIGATION OR ADAPTATION AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE
    • Y02ATECHNOLOGIES FOR ADAPTATION TO CLIMATE CHANGE
    • Y02A40/00Adaptation technologies in agriculture, forestry, livestock or agroalimentary production
    • Y02A40/90Adaptation technologies in agriculture, forestry, livestock or agroalimentary production in food processing or handling, e.g. food conservation
    • Y02A40/963Off-grid food refrigeration
    • Y02A40/966Powered by renewable energy sources
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y02TECHNOLOGIES OR APPLICATIONS FOR MITIGATION OR ADAPTATION AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE
    • Y02BCLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION TECHNOLOGIES RELATED TO BUILDINGS, e.g. HOUSING, HOUSE APPLIANCES OR RELATED END-USER APPLICATIONS
    • Y02B30/00Energy efficient heating, ventilation or air conditioning [HVAC]
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y02TECHNOLOGIES OR APPLICATIONS FOR MITIGATION OR ADAPTATION AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE
    • Y02BCLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION TECHNOLOGIES RELATED TO BUILDINGS, e.g. HOUSING, HOUSE APPLIANCES OR RELATED END-USER APPLICATIONS
    • Y02B30/00Energy efficient heating, ventilation or air conditioning [HVAC]
    • Y02B30/62Absorption based systems
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y02TECHNOLOGIES OR APPLICATIONS FOR MITIGATION OR ADAPTATION AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE
    • Y02EREDUCTION OF GREENHOUSE GAS [GHG] EMISSIONS, RELATED TO ENERGY GENERATION, TRANSMISSION OR DISTRIBUTION
    • Y02E10/00Energy generation through renewable energy sources
    • Y02E10/40Solar thermal energy, e.g. solar towers
    • Y02E10/44Heat exchange systems
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y02TECHNOLOGIES OR APPLICATIONS FOR MITIGATION OR ADAPTATION AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE
    • Y02EREDUCTION OF GREENHOUSE GAS [GHG] EMISSIONS, RELATED TO ENERGY GENERATION, TRANSMISSION OR DISTRIBUTION
    • Y02E60/00Enabling technologies; Technologies with a potential or indirect contribution to GHG emissions mitigation
    • Y02E60/14Thermal energy storage

Abstract

A device is provided for the autonomous production of refrigeration approximately 40° C. lower than ambient temperature from a low-temperature solar thermal source, the device including: (i) a reactor arranged to cool and/or heat the solid reagent; (ii) a condenser; (iii) a first tank for storing the liquid refrigerant at ambient temperature; (iv) an enclosure arranged to store a phase-change material and also including an evaporator; (v) a second tank for storing the liquid refrigerant at a low temperature; (vi) apparatus for conveying the refrigerant and (vii) apparatus for controlling the flow of the refrigerant.

Description

    TECHNICAL FIELD
  • The present invention relates to a solar device for autonomous refrigeration.
  • The present invention lies in the fields of self-contained solar air conditioning and self-contained solar cooling.
  • STATE OF THE PRIOR ART
  • The use of solar energy for refrigeration is particularly suitable for refrigeration on isolated sites in regions with hot climates and/or that do not have access to the power grid and/or where energy supply is costly.
  • A number of techniques are known that enable the production of refrigeration either concomitant with the availability of day-time solar energy, or out of phase, during the night.
  • The current solutions are mainly based on compressor technologies, which consume large amounts of electricity and use refrigerants with high greenhouse warming potential. For isolated sites, these solutions result, for example, in electricity being produced by generators that use a fuel stored in tanks, or in electricity produced during the day by photovoltaic panels being stored in a fleet of batteries. These solutions require, as appropriate, large amounts of maintenance, frequent replenishment of fuel (weekly to monthly), periodic replacement of the battery fleet (every two to five years), and sophisticated electronic control and command devices (controllers, inverters, etc.).
  • More particularly, a first technique for producing refrigeration during the day consists of converting solar radiation either into electricity via photovoltaic collectors or into work via a thermodynamic engine cycle such as for example an organic Rankine engine cycle, in order then to supply a reverse thermodynamic cycle for refrigeration by expansion (Stirling cycle) or vaporization of a refrigerant (reverse Rankine cycle).
  • A second method consists of directly using solar radiation in thermal form to supply a gas sorption method of the liquid/gas absorption type, which requires the circulation of a binary or saline solution, such as the ammonia/water or water/lithium bromide solutions conventionally used. Such devices are for example described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,207,744 and U.S. Pat. No. 4,184,338.
  • These techniques are however relatively complex and costly to implement and require in particular sophisticated control and command procedures for said refrigeration method, particularly circulation pumps and compressors to circulate the working fluids, and/or require low ambient temperatures (below 35° C.) to refrigerate efficiently. These constraints affect the reliability and robustness of these methods.
  • Another technique is based on methods for the sorption of a gaseous refrigerant by an active solid. These are for example thermochemical methods or adsorption methods. The drawback of such methods lies in the solid nature of the sorbent materials used; they operate discontinuously and lead to intermittent refrigeration, as described for example in U.S. Pat. No. 4,586,345, U.S. Pat. No. 4,993,234 and WO 86/00691.
  • The object of the present invention is to at least overcome a large number of the problems set out above and also to result in other advantages.
  • Another purpose of the invention is to solve at least one of these problems by means of a new refrigeration device.
  • Another purpose of the present invention is autonomous production of refrigeration.
  • Another purpose of the present invention is to reduce the costs of refrigeration.
  • Another purpose of the present invention is to reduce the pollution associated with refrigeration.
  • Another purpose of the present invention is to produce refrigeration more reliably and robustly.
  • Another purpose of the present invention is to reduce the maintenance demands associated with refrigeration.
  • DISCLOSURE OF THE INVENTION
  • At least one of the aforementioned aims is achieved with a device for autonomous refrigeration from a low-temperature solar thermal source between 50° C. and 130° C., said refrigeration being produced with a temperature difference 5° C. to 40° C. lower than the ambient temperature of the outdoor environment and said device implementing a method for the thermochemical sorption of a refrigerant by a solid reagent, said device comprising:
      • a reactor arranged to contain the solid reagent and comprising at least one heat exchanger to cool and/or heat the reactor,
      • a condenser capable of liquefying the gaseous refrigerant coming from the reactor,
      • a first tank for storing the liquid refrigerant produced by the condenser at ambient temperature,
      • an enclosure arranged to store a phase-change material and also comprising an evaporator in direct contact with said phase-change material and capable of evaporating the liquid refrigerant,
      • a second tank for storing the liquid refrigerant at a temperature lower than ambient temperature, and working in conjunction with the first tank on the one hand and the evaporator and the reactor on the other hand,
      • at least one means of conveying the refrigerant arranged to circulate said refrigerant in liquid or gaseous form between the reactor, the first tank, the second tank and the evaporator,
      • at least one means of controlling the flow of the refrigerant acting on the means of conveying the refrigerant, said at least one control means being arranged to regulate the flow of the refrigerant independently as a function of the pressures prevailing in the reactor, the first and second tanks, the condenser and the evaporator.
  • Preferably, the refrigeration produced by the device according to the invention is at a temperature of between −10° C. and 20° C.
  • The device according to the invention and the variants thereof described below make it possible to efficiently achieve both the solar heating of the reactor and the cooling of the condenser during the course of the day, and the cooling of the reactor during the course of the night.
  • The completely autonomous management of the day-time and night-time phases without active control is a promising solution for meeting refrigeration requirements on isolated sites in regions with hot climates that do not have access to the power grid. The device according to the invention also makes it possible to reduce production costs as there is no costly external energy supply. Furthermore, as it does not use any consumables, the maintenance of the device—which is limited to occasional cleaning of the collectors—is greatly reduced and inexpensive.
  • The device according to the invention also makes it possible to reduce the pollution associated with refrigeration as it can use a refrigerant that has no impact on the ozone layer or global warming. Furthermore, the device does not generate greenhouse gases or deplete fossil energy resources as it only uses thermal solar energy, which is a widely available renewable energy. Furthermore, the device according to the invention is completely silent, which is a significant advantage in urban environments or in exceptional and/or protected areas.
  • Finally, the device according to the invention does not have any moving mechanical parts, which thus makes it possible to reduce both the operating sound level and the wear on the components and risk of fluid leaking from dynamic sealing gaskets; the device according to the invention is more reliable.
  • It is also more robust due to its entirely autonomous operation that automatically adjusts to the external insolation and temperature conditions. As it does not have any control/command and/or electronic control components, it has a very long service life; the reactive composites used in the reactors of the device according to the invention have been tested over more than 30,000 cycles (corresponding to approximately 80 years of daily operation) without any loss of performance being observed.
  • By way of non-limitative examples, the refrigerant can be selected from water, ammonia, ethylamine, methylamine or methanol, and the solid reagent can be selected for example from calcium chloride (CaCl2), barium chloride (BaCl2) or strontium chloride (SrCl2). More generally, the device according to the invention preferably uses a refrigerant other than hydrochlorofluorocarbons and chlorofluorocarbons, which deplete the ozone layer and contribute to global warming.
  • The phase-change materials used in the present invention to efficiently store the refrigeration produced by solidifying are preferably organic or inorganic compounds. By way of non-limitative examples, they can for example be water, an aqueous solution or a paraffin.
  • The means for controlling the flow of the refrigerant advantageously make it possible to regulate said flow passively, solely as a function of the pressure differences prevailing between the reactor, the condenser, the evaporator and the first and second tanks during the day-time regeneration and night-time refrigeration phases.
  • Advantageously, the enclosure and/or the second tank can be thermally insulated in order to reduce the energy requirements necessary to maintain the temperature inside and maintain a liquid refrigerant temperature lower than the ambient temperature during the day, thus preventing the temperature of the refrigerant contained in the evaporator from increasing over the course of the day.
  • Preferably, the evaporator can be supplied with liquid refrigerant from the second tank by the difference in density of said refrigerant between the inlet and outlet of said evaporator. This thermosyphon operation makes it possible generate a flow of refrigerant between the second tank and the evaporator without a pump and without an external energy supply, thus enhancing the autonomy of the device according to the invention.
  • Preferably, the reactor can also comprise an isothermal housing arranged to contain the heat exchanger and/or the reactor and capable of reducing the heat losses of said reactor, particularly by conduction. The insulation may be obtained by any known insulating means that withstands the temperature variations to which the reactor is subjected during the course of the night and the day, such as for example glass wool or rock wool.
  • Advantageously, the reactor can be made up of a plurality of tubular elements comprising the solid reagent and connected to each other by said means of conveying the refrigerant in order to make maximum use of the solar radiation and optimise the heating of the reactor. It is advantageous to maximise both the solar absorption area and the orientation of said reactor in relation to the sun. The tubular element configuration thus makes it possible to maximise both the active area of the reactor and the direct incidence of the sun on said reactor.
  • Preferably, the plurality of tubular elements can be coated with a solar-absorbing coating to improve the thermal efficiency of the plurality of tubular elements, said coating being in close contact with the wall of the plurality of tubular elements.
  • By way of non-limitative examples, the coating can be a simple solar paint or a metal film (copper, aluminium, etc.) with good thermal conductivity, placed in thermal contact with the wall of the tubular elements and on which a selective thin layer can be deposited.
  • Advantageously, the solar-absorbing coating can have low infrared emissivity.
  • According to a particular embodiment, the reactor can also comprise at least one covering element transparent to solar radiation, arranged to reduce heat losses and maximise solar collection efficiency, said at least one covering element extending beyond the surface of the reactor exposed to the sun.
  • Optionally, the at least one covering element can also be opaque to infrared radiation in order to enhance the greenhouse effect.
  • Preferably, at least one of the surfaces of the reactor not exposed to the sun can be thermally insulated to reduce heat losses. The insulation may be obtained by any known insulating means, such as for example glass wool or rock wool.
  • According to a particular embodiment, the reactor can also comprise actuation means in order to orient the plurality of tubular elements of the reactor in a plane substantially perpendicular to the direction of the sun and thus present the maximum possible solar-absorbing area, in order to optimise the orientation of the reactor and maximise the solar collection efficiency and the associated heat exchanges.
  • According to a first version of the device according to the invention, the night-time cooling of the reactor is provided by natural circulation of the air in the reactor, thus making it possible to achieve cooling in a totally passive manner.
  • Advantageously for this first version, the reactor can also comprise at least one flap for the ventilation of the plurality of tubular elements, said at least one flap being located at the top and/or bottom of said reactor.
  • Preferably, the at least one ventilation flap can be arranged to seal the reactor when it is in the closed position in order to enhance the heat exchanges inside said reactor.
  • Advantageously, the at least one ventilation flap can also comprise drive means to open/close it.
  • According to a first variant, the drive means can consist of a low-power electric motor.
  • Advantageously, the electric motor can be powered by an electricity production and/or storage device, optionally powered by photovoltaic panels.
  • According to a second variant, the drive means can consist of a rack and pinion device actuated by a compressed air rotary jack connected to a compressed air reserve.
  • Preferably, the compressed air reserve can be refilled by an air compressor powered by photovoltaic panels.
  • According to a third variant, the drive means can consist of a rack and pinion device actuated by a single-acting hydraulic linear jack controlled by a thermostat bulb in thermal contact with an absorbing plate exposed to the sun. This last variant is entirely passive, autonomous in terms of energy and automatically controlled.
  • Preferably, the plurality of tubular elements can also comprise a plurality of circular fins, the base of which is in close thermal contact with the wall of the tubular elements in order to enhance the heat exchanges.
  • Advantageously, the plurality of fins can be covered with a solar-absorbing coating to enhance the heat exchanges.
  • Advantageously, the plurality of tubular elements can be arranged horizontally in order to improve the flow of air around said tubular elements.
  • Preferably, the condenser can be of the finned tube type and cooled, in the day, by natural convection of the air around said finned tubes.
  • According to a second version of the device according to the invention, the night-time cooling of the reactor can be provided by a heat pipe loop operating as a thermosyphon and comprising:
      • a working fluid capable of performing thermodynamic work,
      • a so-called heat pipe evaporator, working in conjunction with the plurality of tubular elements of the reactor and arranged to evaporate the working fluid and absorb the heat released by the reactor,
      • a so-called heat pipe condenser, working in conjunction with the evaporator and the reactor, said condenser being arranged to liquefy the working fluid and perform a heat transfer with the outside air,
      • a working fluid tank arranged to store said liquid working fluid and enable the optimum filling of the at least one tubular element of the reactor with working fluid,
      • a passive autonomous device for controlling the flow of the working fluid in the heat pipe loop comprising:
        • a first working fluid flow control means, located between the working fluid tank and the bottom of the at least one means of conveying the working fluid, said first control means being arranged to control the supply of liquid working fluid to the at least one means of conveying the working fluid,
        • a second working fluid flow control means, located between the outlet of the heat pipe evaporator and the heat pipe condenser, arranged to control the movement of the gaseous working fluid in the at least one means of conveying the working fluid.
  • This second version of the cooling of the device according to the invention thus makes it possible to efficiently achieve both the heating of the reactor during the day and the cooling of firstly the reactor during the night and secondly the gaseous refrigerant flooded condenser in the working fluid tank of the heat pipe loop.
  • Preferably, the working fluid is selected from those fluids that have a boiling temperature at atmospheric pressure of between 0 and 40° C. and that have a pressure of between 1 and 10 bar in the temperature range from 20 to 100° C. By way of non-limitative example, it can be a type C4, C5 or C6 paraffinic hydrocarbon (such as butane, methylpropane, pentane, methylbutane, dimethylpropane, hexane, methylpentane, dimethylbutane, etc.), an HFC type working fluid conventionally used in organic Rankine cycles (R236fa, R236ea, R245fa, R245ca, FC3110, RC318, etc.), an inorganic fluid (ammonia, water), or an alcohol (methanol, ethanol, etc.).
  • Advantageously, the device according to this second embodiment can also comprise a valve for starting the heat pipe loop, arranged to fill said heat pipe loop with working fluid and/or drain it.
  • Preferably, the heat pipe evaporator can comprise at least one means of conveying the working fluid arranged inside the plurality of tubular elements of the reactor and in close thermal contact with the solid reagent, said at least one means of conveying the working fluid associated with each tubular element being connected to each other by manifolds at the top and bottom.
  • Advantageously, the plurality of tubular elements of the reactor can be inclined vertically in order to facilitate the movement of the working fluid by simple gravity.
  • Advantageously, the heat pipe condenser can be made up of at least one finned tube connected to each other by means of conveying the working fluid.
  • Preferably, the at least one finned tube of the condenser can be arranged substantially horizontally at the rear of the reactor, with a slight tilt to enable the gravity flow of the liquefied working fluid to the working fluid tank.
  • Preferably, the working fluid tank can be arranged to maintain a minimum working fluid level in the means of conveying said working fluid of between one third and three quarters of the height of a tubular element of the reactor.
  • The working fluid tank can also be arranged to evaporate the refrigerant and also comprises the refrigerant condenser arranged to liquefy said refrigerant.
  • Advantageously, the device for controlling the working fluid flow in the heat pipe loop can also comprise at least one autonomous control means, arranged to respectively open and close the first and second working fluid flow control means, for example at the start of the night and the start of the day.
  • Preferably, the at least one autonomous control means of the first and second working fluid flow control means can comprise:
      • an absorbing plate capable of absorbing solar radiation and emitting in the infrared, said absorbing plate being arranged to heat by means of day-time solar radiation and cool during the night,
      • a thermostat bulb in thermal contact with the absorbing plate, comprising a fluid capable of expanding under the effect of a temperature variation,
      • a connecting element working in conjunction firstly with the thermostat bulb and secondly with the first and/or second working fluid flow control means, said connecting element being arranged to open or close said working fluid flow control means.
  • According to another embodiment of the invention compatible with each of the previous variants, the device according to the invention can consist of a modular architecture comprising:
      • a plurality of first assemblies each comprising:
        • the reactor made up of a plurality of tubular elements and comprising the heat exchanger,
        • the condenser capable of liquefying the refrigerant,
        • the tank for storing the refrigerant at ambient temperature, the volume of which corresponds to the volume of the plurality of tubular elements of said first assembly,
        • refrigerant flow control means,
      • a second assembly comprising:
        • the enclosure arranged to store a phase-change material and comprising thermal insulation,
        • the second tank for storing the liquid refrigerant at a temperature lower than ambient temperature and comprising thermal insulation,
        • the evaporator for evaporating the refrigerant, located in the enclosure and working in conjunction with the second tank,
        • first means of controlling the flow of refrigerant between the evaporator and the second tank,
        • second means of controlling the flow of refrigerant to ensure the connection between the second assembly and the plurality of first assemblies.
  • This modular arrangement makes it possible to facilitate the implementation and installation of the device.
  • Advantageously, the evaporator can be of the flooded type and comprise at least one tubular element arranged to circulate the refrigerant by thermosyphon with the second tank.
  • Preferably, the second assembly can comprise a tight isolation valve, arranged to fill the device with refrigerant and/or drain it.
  • Preferably, the refrigerant can be ammonia.
  • According to another aspect of the invention, it is proposed that the device according to the invention be used to produce ice.
  • Alternatively, the device according to the invention can also be used to produce water.
  • Advantageously, water can be produced by condensing the water vapour contained in the air on a wall that is kept cold by the device.
  • DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES AND EMBODIMENTS
  • Other advantages and characteristics of the invention will become apparent from the following description and from several embodiments given as non-limitative examples with reference to the attached schematic drawings, in which:
  • FIG. 1 shows a Clausius-Clapeyron diagram of the thermodynamic states of the components of the device according to the invention over the course of the two main phases,
  • FIG. 2 shows a schematic diagram of the thermochemical refrigeration device according to the invention,
  • FIG. 3 shows the day-time phase of the operation of the device according to the invention, consisting of a solar regeneration and energy production phase,
  • FIG. 4 shows the night-time phase of the operation of the device according to the invention, consisting of a refrigeration phase,
  • FIGS. 5a and 5b respectively show side and front diagrams of a reactor comprising the heat exchanger of the device according to the invention in a first embodiment wherein the night-time cooling is provided by natural convection,
  • FIG. 6 shows a particular method of autonomous control of a ventilation flap for the day-time heating and night-time cooling of the reactor according to the invention,
  • FIG. 7 shows a diagram of a reactor comprising the heat exchanger of the device according to the invention in a second embodiment wherein the night-time cooling is provided by a heat pipe loop,
  • FIGS. 8a and 8b respectively show the day-time state and the night-time state of an autonomous control means of the first and second means for controlling the flow of the working fluid in the heat pipe loop,
  • FIGS. 9a, 9b and 9c respectively show front, side and detailed diagrams of a particular embodiment of a reactor comprising the heat exchanger according to the invention and cooled by a heat pipe loop,
  • FIG. 10 shows a particular embodiment of the invention wherein the autonomous refrigeration device has a modular design,
  • FIG. 11 shows a diagram of the refrigeration module of the device according to the invention,
  • FIGS. 12a, 12b and 12c respectively show front, longitudinal cross-sectional and transverse cross-sectional views of an evaporator of the modular device according to the invention.
  • The embodiments which will be described below are in no way limitative; it is possible in particular to imagine variants of the invention comprising only a selection of characteristics described below in isolation from the other characteristics described, if this selection of characteristics is sufficient to confer a technical advantage or to differentiate the invention with respect to the state of the prior art. This selection comprises at least one, preferably functional, characteristic without structural details, or with only a part of the structural details if this part alone is sufficient to confer a technical advantage or to differentiate the invention with respect to the state of the prior art.
  • In particular, all the variants and all the embodiments described can be combined together if there is no objection to this combination from a technical point of view.
  • In the figures, the elements common to several figures retain the same reference.
  • The Refrigeration Method
  • The method for intermittent solar refrigeration described below and the object of the present invention is a thermochemical sorption thermal method the principle of which is based on the combination of a liquid/gas change of state of a refrigerant G and a reversible chemical reaction between a solid reagent and this refrigerant:

  • S 1 +G (Gas) ⇄S 2 Q R and G (Liq) +Q L ⇄G (Gas)
  • In the case of the synthesis reaction of the solid S2 from left to right, the refrigerant gas G reacts with the refrigerant-lean salt reagent S1 to form the refrigerant-rich salt S2. This reaction is exothermic and releases heat of reaction QR. Furthermore, the gas G absorbed by S1 is produced by evaporation of the refrigerant liquid G by absorbing the latent heat QL.
  • In the reverse direction from right to left, the endothermic decomposition reaction of the solid S2 requires the thermal gain QR so that the reagent S2 releases the refrigerant gas G again. It is then condensed by releasing latent heat QL.
  • These processes are implemented in two connected tanks that exchange the refrigerant gas G, thus forming a thermochemical dipole wherein the first tank, made up alternately of the evaporator or the condenser, is the seat of the change of state of the refrigerant G. The second tank is made up of the reactor and contains the solid reagent salt reacting reversibly with the refrigerant G.
  • The physico-chemical processes implemented in such a thermochemical method are monovariant and, with reference to FIG. 1, the thermodynamic equilibria implemented over the course of the two main phases of the method according to the invention can be represented by straight lines in a Clausius-Clapeyron diagram:

  • Ln(P)=f(−1/T)
  • Each of the straight lines shown in FIG. 1 describes the change in temperature T and pressure P at the thermodynamic equilibrium of each element forming the device according to the invention (reactor, condenser, tanks, evaporator) that will be described in the paragraphs below.
  • The step of regeneration of the thermochemical dipole takes place at high pressure Ph imposed either by the reactor heating conditions during decomposition or by the refrigerant condensation conditions. Conversely, the refrigeration step takes place at low pressure Pb imposed by the reactor cooling conditions during synthesis and the refrigeration temperature Tf produced at the evaporator.
  • Description of the Device According to the Invention
  • To implement this thermochemical method with a solar thermal source, the simplest device according to the invention comprises the following elements, listed with reference to FIG. 2:
      • a reactor 202 in which the solid reagent is confined, equipped with at least one heat exchanger 201 for the heating and cooling of the reactor 202 and comprising means 203 of conveying the refrigerant to the condenser 207 or the evaporator 212;
      • a condenser 207 equipped with a first tank 208 storing the condensed liquid refrigerant 217 at ambient temperature;
      • an evaporator 212 supplied for example by thermosyphon, i.e. by the difference in density of the refrigerant between the liquid inlet 218 and the two-phase outlet 219 of said evaporator 212, by means of a second tank 209 that can be thermally insulated from the external environment and contains the liquid refrigerant at the temperature of the refrigeration produced. The evaporator 212 is placed in an enclosure 215 that is also thermally insulated;
      • refrigerant flow control means 204, 205 and 206, such as for example check valves, enabling the autonomous management of the refrigerant flows. The control means 204, 205 on the one hand and 206 on the other hand respectively make it possible to regulate the flow of the refrigerant in gaseous form on the one hand and liquid form on the other hand. If there is a pressure difference upstream and downstream of said control means 204 to 206, then the valves are open. By way of example, for the so-called gaseous valves 204 and 205, a pressure difference of less than 100 mbar can be preferable to ensure, in the day, slightly higher pressure in the reactor 202 relative to the condenser 207, and, at night, slightly lower pressure in the reactor 202 relative to the evaporator 212. Conversely, for the valve 206 installed on the liquid connection between the first 208 and second 209 tanks, a pressure difference corresponding to the difference between the refrigerant condensation pressure and evaporation pressure can preferably be chosen. By way of example, this pressure difference can be in the region of 5 to 10 bar lower.
    Operation of the Device
  • The solar refrigeration device 200 according to the invention thus involves the transformation of a consumable solid reagent arranged in a reactor 202 and operates according to an intrinsically discontinuous method. It comprises two main phases that are described below with reference to FIGS. 3 and 4:
      • a day-time regeneration phase (FIG. 3) during which the reactor 202 is connected to the condenser 207. This phase consists of heating the reactor 202 to a so-called high temperature Th, by means of the incident solar thermal energy, thus making it possible to decompose the charged salt S2 during the day. The refrigerant gas G released by this reaction first condenses in the condenser 207 at ambient temperature To and is then stored in the first tank 208 in liquid, preferably condensed, form;
      • a night-time refrigeration phase (FIG. 4) during which the reactor 202 is connected to the evaporator 212. This phase consists of cooling the reactor 202 to ambient temperature To. The evaporator 212 is the seat of the refrigerating chemical reaction, pumping heat to the environment to be cooled on the one hand and releasing the refrigerant gas G on the other hand. The salt S1 contained in the reactor 202 then reabsorbs the gas G coming from the evaporator 212 by releasing heat of reaction to the environment at ambient temperature To. The refrigeration produced then enables the solidification of a phase-change material 213. By way of non-limitative examples, this can for example be the production of ice or the solidification of a paraffin. The phase-change material 213 thus makes it possible to store the refrigeration produced at night in order to redeliver it on demand throughout the day.
  • The operation of said autonomous solar refrigeration device 200 will now be described in detail over a daily cycle.
  • At the start of the day, the reactor 202 is at a temperature close to the outside ambient temperature To and at a so-called low pressure Pb (point S in FIG. 1). It is then connected to the evaporator 212 (point E in FIG. 1) producing refrigeration at a so-called cold temperature Tf and steam that is absorbed by the reactor 202. As the pressure in the reactor 202 is then slightly lower than the pressure in the tank 209 and the evaporator 212, the pressure difference is slightly greater than the pressure of the valve 205. As day breaks, the reactor 202 is gradually exposed to the sun and its temperature increases: it then starts to desorb the refrigerant gas G by decomposition of the reagent. The pressure in the reactor 202 then increases and the pressure difference between the evaporator 212 and the reactor 202 decreases. When the pressure difference becomes lower than the opening pressure of the check valve 205, it closes and no longer allows this steam to transfer to the reactor 202. The closing of the check valve 205 makes it possible for the pressure in the reactor 202 to increase more quickly (movement from point S to point D of the reactor along the straight line of equilibrium in FIG. 1). The benefit provided by the check valve 205 is that it makes it possible to maintain the cold temperature of the enclosure to be refrigerated by preventing the steam desorbed by the reactor 202 under the action of the exposure of the reactor 202 to the sun from condensing in the evaporator 212 and increasing the temperature thereof again.
  • When the pressure in the reactor 202 becomes slightly higher than the pressure prevailing in the first tank 208 of condensed liquid at ambient temperature To, the valve 204 opens in order to cool and condense the desorbed gas leaving the reactor 202 to the temperature Th in the condenser 207. The condensed gas is then stored throughout the day at the day-time ambient temperature To in the first tank 208 (corresponding to point C in FIG. 1).
  • When, at dusk, the solar radiation is no longer sufficient, the temperature prevailing inside the reactor 202 starts to decrease, then leading to a reduction in the internal pressure of the reactor 202. The pressure differential between the reactor 202 and the condenser 207 decreases and, beyond a certain threshold, then becomes lower than the opening pressure of the valve 204. The valve then closes and isolates the reactor 202, thus preventing it from reabsorbing the steam contained in the first tank 208 at ambient temperature To. The reactor 202 is cooled to ambient temperature To, also leading to a reduction in the internal pressure thereof in accordance with its thermodynamic equilibrium (corresponding to migration from point D to point S in FIG. 1).
  • Depending on the equilibria and thresholds chosen, the refrigeration temperatures Tf produced and the outside ambient temperature To, two different embodiments for the cooling of the reactor 202 are proposed and described in the paragraphs below.
  • As the reactor 202 cools down, the pressure thereof then also becomes lower than the pressure prevailing in the second tank 209. Advantageously, this can be thermally insulated from the outside in order to maintain the liquid refrigerant 218 contained in the tank 209 at a temperature lower than ambient temperature during the day, thus preventing the temperature of the refrigerant contained in the evaporator 212 from increasing over the course of the day. As a result, the pressure prevailing in the thermally insulated second tank 209 is lower than the pressure prevailing in the uninsulated first tank 208. The pressure decrease then enables the valve 205, when a certain pressure difference corresponding to the valve opening threshold is reached, to open, thus permitting the reactor 202 to take in and chemically absorb the gas coming from the second tank 209.
  • The pressure then decreases in the second tank 209 and, when the pressure difference with the first tank 208 of condensed liquid is sufficient, for example in the region of a few bar (typically 1 to 10 bar), the valve 206 opens and supplies the second tank 209 with liquid at the night-time temperature To, until all of the condensed liquid refrigerant contained in the first tank 208 has been decanted into the second tank 209 via the valve 206. As the reactor 202 continues to absorb the steam produced by evaporation of the liquid contained in the second tank 209, the decanted liquid cools until the temperature thereof is lower than the temperature of the refrigerant contained in the evaporator 212 maintained at a higher temperature by the PCM 213.
  • Thereafter, circulation of the refrigerant is triggered naturally, by thermosyphon, using the difference in density of the liquid refrigerant between the evaporator 212 and the second tank 209. The evaporator 212 is then supplied from the bottom 218 with liquid refrigerant that is denser than at its diphasic outlet 219. The refrigerant leaving the evaporator 212 through the diphasic outlet 219 is made up of both a liquid phase and a gaseous phase, which makes it less dense than the solely liquid refrigerant entering the evaporator 212. The steam produced in the evaporator 212 is then sucked into the second tank 209 and absorbed by the reactor 202 via the valve 205. The refrigeration is thus produced in the evaporator 212 throughout the night until sunrise, when the reactor starts to heat up; the refrigeration produced during the night is stored in the phase-change material 213 to be delivered according to the refrigeration requirements during the day.
  • Solar Heating of the Reactor
  • To achieve efficient heating, the heat exchanger 201 of the reactor 202 must have the largest possible solar absorption area. According to a particular embodiment, the optimum orientation is obtained by aligning the heat exchanger 201 with the direction normal to the sun, i.e. for example tilted relative to the ground at an angle preferably corresponding to a latitude close to the latitude of the site for optimum refrigeration production throughout the year.
  • Such a heat exchanger 201, arranged to utilise solar radiation, will now be described with particular reference to FIGS. 5a and 5 b.
  • To utilise solar radiation to maximum effect, and according to a particular embodiment, the heat exchanger 201 is coupled to the reactor 202 and is made up of a set of tubular elements 501 comprising the solid reagent material 502. The tubular elements 501 are distributed—preferably evenly—in an isothermal housing 503, and are connected to each other by means of conveying 504—for example manifolds—and linked to the condenser 207 and/or the evaporator 212.
  • According to a particular embodiment, the tubular elements 501 are covered with a solar-absorbing coating 505, if possible selective, in close contact with the wall of the tubular elements 501. The solar-absorbing coating 505 has high solar absorptivity and, advantageously, low infrared emissivity.
  • A cover that is transparent to solar radiation 506 covering the front surface of the heat exchanger 201 exposed to the sun makes it possible to reduce heat losses by convection. Preferably, it can also reduce radiation losses and enhance the greenhouse effect, by blocking the infrared radiation emitted by reactors heated to a high temperature. Ultimately, the solar collection efficiency is maximized.
  • Advantageously, thermal insulation 507—for example using rock wool or glass wool—can be applied to the rear surface of the heat exchanger 201 in order to reduce heat losses by conduction and/or convection to the external environment.
  • Night-Time Cooling of the Reactor
  • The night-time cooling of the reactor 202 can be achieved according to two embodiments described below, the selection of which depends on the solid reagent 502 used in the reactor 202, the temperature of the refrigeration Tf to be produced and the night-time ambient temperature To:
      • the first embodiment for cooling the reactor consists of natural circulation of air in said reactor 202, by external cooling of the tubular elements 501. This first embodiment can be implemented when the solid reagent 502 makes it possible to obtain a sufficiently large operating temperature difference (typically greater than 20° C.) between the night-time outside air temperature To and the stagnation temperature of the reaction at the pressure imposed by the evaporation of the refrigerant at Tf in the evaporator;
      • the second embodiment for cooling the reactor 202 consists of a heat pipe loop operating as a thermosyphon; it is selected when cooling by natural air circulation cannot be implemented.
  • Each of these two embodiments, together with all of the variants of which they are comprised, are compatible with any one of the embodiments of the invention set out above or below.
  • First Embodiment: Reactor Cooling by Natural Convection
  • FIGS. 5a and 5b respectively show side and front diagrams of a reactor 202 comprising the heat exchanger 201 of the device 200 according to the invention and according to this first embodiment of night-time cooling of said reactor 202 provided by natural air convection.
  • This cooling thus uses the air circulation caused by the stack effect in the reactor 202 by means of opening the ventilation flaps located at the top 509 and bottom 508 of the reactor 202.
  • Advantageously, to improve the heat exchanges and heat removal, the tubular elements 501 are equipped with fins 510, for example circular, the base of which is in close thermal contact with the wall of the tubular elements 501 of the reactor 202.
  • Advantageously, they can be arranged horizontally in order to improve the heat convection coefficient by promoting an air flow substantially perpendicular to the direction of the tubular elements 501 in the reactor 202.
  • Finally, in order to absorb the solar radiation more efficiently, the fins 510 can be covered with a solar-absorbing coating in a similar way to the coating that can cover the tubular elements 501.
  • In this first embodiment for cooling the reactor 202, the reactive gas condenser 207 can be of the finned tube type and placed at the rear or said reactor 202. It is then cooled during the day by natural convection of the air on the finned tubular elements.
  • Each ventilation flap 508, 509 comprises a plate 511 arranged to be airtight on the frame of the reactor 202 during the day, and a rotating rod actuated in particular at daybreak to close said flap 508, 509 and at nightfall to open said flap 508, 509.
  • According to an advantageous variant, the ventilation flap 508, 509 can also comprise drive means 600 arranged to rotate it by means of various devices, controlled for example as a function of the detection of daybreak or nightfall, a temperature increase (thermostat device) or a solar irradiance threshold.
  • Different variants of these drive means 600 are proposed and described in the paragraphs below. They are all compatible with any one of the embodiments of the invention set out above or below.
  • First Variant of the Ventilation Flap Drive
  • The ventilation flap 508, 509 can be driven using a low-power electric motor that is, according to an advantageous variant, supplied by an electric battery recharged by a photovoltaic collector. Typically, the power requirements are sufficiently low and brief for the area of said photovoltaic collector to be less than one square metre.
  • Second Variant of the Ventilation Flap Drive
  • The ventilation flap 508, 509 can also be driven using a rack and pinion device that can for example be actuated by a double-acting compressed air ¼-turn rotary jack. The rotary jack is then connected to a compressed air reserve (typically 6 bar) via a 5/3 or 4/3 monostable spool valve that is actuated over a short period (momentary control lasting approximately ten seconds) as a function of the solar irradiance. The closing of the ventilation flap is actuated when the irradiance is above a first threshold (obtained close to the moment when the sun rises) and the opening of the flap is actuated when the irradiance is below a second threshold (obtained close to the moment when the sun sets). Advantageously, the first closing threshold can be greater than the second opening threshold of said flaps.
  • The compressed air reserve can be refilled periodically by an air compressor powered by photovoltaic panels.
  • Third Variant of the Ventilation Flap Drive
  • The ventilation flap 508, 509 can also be driven using the device 600 described in FIG. 6. It is a rack and pinion device 601/602 actuated by a single-acting hydraulic linear jack 605 ultimately controlled by a thermostat bulb 611 in thermal contact with an absorbing plate 612 exposed to the sun.
  • The thermostat bulb 611 contains a fluid 613 that is sensitive to temperature variations. More particularly, the fluid 613 is capable of vaporizing over a temperature range that is preferably between To and Th and corresponds to a pressure range compatible with the opening and closing of the ventilation flap 508, 509 that it controls. The vaporization of the fluid 613 makes it possible to pressurise the hydraulic liquid 606 contained in the hydraulic linear jack 605 by means of an accumulator 608 containing a deformable bladder 609, working in conjunction with the thermostat bulb 611 and deformed by the fluid 613.
  • The hydraulic liquid 606 pressurized in this way makes it possible to move both the piston 604 of the jack 605 and the rack 601, thus rotating the rod 620 of the ventilation flap 508, 509 by means of the drive pinion 602.
  • A return spring 603 makes it possible to push the hydraulic liquid 606 back towards the accumulator 608 when the pressure in the thermostat bulb 611 decreases following reduced exposure of the solar-absorbing plate 612.
  • The quantity of fluid 613 contained in the thermostat bulb 611 is defined as a function firstly of the volume of the bladder 609 pressurizing the hydraulic liquid 606 of the jack 605, and secondly of the maximum pressure to be reached to actuate the ventilation flap 508, 509, which must also correspond to an intermediate temperature Ti between To and Th and at which there is no more fluid 613 to be vaporized.
  • The device according to this particular embodiment is entirely passive, autonomous and automatically controlled by the intensity of the solar radiation.
  • Second Embodiment: Reactor Cooling by Heat Pipe Loop
  • In this embodiment, the reactor 202 is cooled at night and/or the refrigerant condenser is cooled during the day by a heat pipe loop. It is thus possible to transfer heat, firstly by evaporating a working fluid that has absorbed the heat released by the reactor 202 during the night-time refrigeration production phase or by the condenser 207 during the day-time reactor 202 regeneration phase, and secondly by condensing said working fluid, thus releasing the heat previously absorbed directly to the outside air via the heat pipe condenser 702.
  • During the night, a heat pipe evaporator 701, incorporated into the tubular elements 501, is supplied with liquid working fluid and thus cools the reactor 202 by evaporation of the liquid working fluid. The steam produced in this way condenses at night-time ambient temperature in a heat pipe condenser 702. The working fluid liquefied in this way flows by gravity into the tank 705 by means of the connection via the tubing 707 between said tank 705 and the inlet of the heat pipe condenser 702.
  • During the day, the heat pipe evaporator 701 incorporated into the reactor 202 is inactive due to the closing of two valves 703, 704 placed between the evaporator 701 and the condenser 702 of the heat pipe loop. The first, 703, makes it possible to control the flow of the working fluid through a liquid connection located at the bottom, while the second, 704, makes it possible to control the flow of the working fluid through a gas connection located at the top.
  • Thus, when the reactor 202 is heated by the sun during the regeneration phase, the pressure in the heat pipe evaporator 701, isolated in this way, increases and causes the draining of the working fluid from the bottom of the evaporator 701 in liquid form. It is then stored in a working fluid tank 705 by means of a drain line 709. Preferably, the working fluid tank 705 is arranged to store the liquid working fluid during the draining of the evaporator incorporated into the reactor. The reactor 202 is thus arranged to increase in temperature and perform its regeneration during the day.
  • With reference to FIGS. 7 and 9, the heat pipe loop for cooling the reactor 202 thus comprises:
      • a heat pipe evaporator 701 preferably comprising a tube 701 arranged inside the tubular elements 501 of the reactor 202 and advantageously in close thermal contact with the solid reagent material 502. The tubular elements 501 of a reactor 202, tilted vertically, each comprise an evaporator tube 701 connected by manifolds at the bottom and top;
      • a fluid condenser 702 of the heat pipe loop, preferably comprising a set of finned tubes connected to each other by manifolds and exchanging directly with the outside ambient air. These finned tubes are preferably arranged horizontally at the rear of the reactor 202, advantageously with a slight tilt enabling the condensed working fluid to flow to a condensed liquid working fluid tank 705;
      • a condensed liquid working fluid tank 705 the position of which advantageously enables satisfactory filling of the evaporator tubes 701 of the heat pipe loop with working fluid. According to a particular embodiment, the working fluid is preferably maintained at a minimum liquid working fluid level in the evaporator tubes 701 of between one third and three quarters of the height of the tube 701. According to another embodiment, the liquid working fluid tank 705 also comprises the condenser 207 to condense the reactive gas released during the day by the reactor 202 heated in the sun. The working fluid tank 705 thus acts as an evaporator during the day. The working fluid steam produced by the condensing of the reactive gas is then conveyed to the condenser 702 via the pipe 707;
      • a device for regulating the flow of the working fluid in the heat pipe loop, activated passively at the start and end of the day and comprising:
        • a valve 704 between the liquid outlet 708 of the working fluid tank 705 and the liquid inlet at the bottom of the evaporator tubes 701, thus making it possible to supply them with working fluid throughout the night and prevent them from filling during the day;
        • a valve 703 placed on the steam pipe of the heat pipe loop, between the steam outlet of the evaporator 701—at the top—and the steam inlet of the condenser 702, thus making it possible, at the start of the day, to block the passage of the steam formed in the evaporator tubes 701 and cause a pressure increase therein. This pressure increase makes it possible to flush the working fluid contained in the evaporator tubes 701 more efficiently and drain them by means of a drain pipe 709 that opens into the expansion space of the tank 705. This then enables a faster temperature increase of the reactors 202 at the start of the day and therefore more efficient heating of said reactors 202.
      • a valve 710 for starting the heat pipe loop (evacuation and/or filling with working fluid).
  • According to a particular embodiment, the steam 703 and liquid 704 valves close at the start of the day and open at the start of the night independently due to the action of autonomous control means the operation of which is described with reference to FIGS. 8a and 8 b.
  • The autonomous control means of the valves 703 and 704 consists of a thermostat bulb 801, heated during the day and cooled at night by an absorbing plate 802 that has high solar absorptivity, high infrared emissivity and low thermal mass. The absorbing plate 802 is preferably exposed to the sky to utilise both heating by solar radiation during the day and radiative cooling at night. The thermostat bulb 801 contains a fluid that is arranged, under the action of solar radiation, to increase the pressure in a bellows 803 and move a needle 804 on the seat of the port of the valve 703 or 704, thus closing off the passage of the working fluid. When the pressure drops in the thermostat bulb 801, by radiative cooling at the start of the night, the bellows 803 reduces in volume under the action of a spring 805 the stiffness of which can be adjusted by an adjusting screw 806. The needle 804 rigidly connected to the bellows 803 detaches from the seat of the valve 703 or 704 and then allows the working fluid to flow into the heat pipe loop.
  • Alternative Embodiment of the Device According to the Invention: a Modular Design
  • According to a particular variant of the invention, compatible with any one of the embodiments set out in the paragraphs above, and in order to facilitate the implementation and installation of the device according to the invention, a modular design of the device according to the invention is proposed.
  • With reference to FIGS. 10, 11 and 12, such a modular device comprises at least two easily connectable assemblies:
      • a first assembly 1001 made up of several reactor modules 202, 201 as described above and each comprising the tubular elements 501 exposed to the sun, the condenser 207—preferably of the ammonia type—and the first tank 208 the volume of which corresponds to the capacity of the module, the device for cooling the tubular elements 501 and the condenser 702, and the means making it possible to control the flows of reactive gas over the course of the day (valves 703, 704, 204, 205, solar devices for controlling the ventilation flaps and/or the heat pipe loop 706),
      • a second assembly 1002 incorporating the elements necessary for refrigeration:
        • a cold chamber 215 comprising thermal insulation;
        • a liquid refrigerant tank 209 the volume of which preferably corresponds to the daily refrigeration requirements of the cold chamber 215. This tank comprises thermal insulation 210 in order to limit the thermal gain during the night-time refrigeration phase, and liquid 1003 and steam 1005 connections comprising connecting valves 1004 to the evaporator 212 placed in the cold chamber 215. Connections 1006 and 1007 to the valves 206 and 205 provide the connection to the first assembly 1001;
        • an evaporator 212, preferably of the flooded type, and advantageously supplied with refrigerant by thermosyphon from the second liquid refrigerant tank 209 placed above. The evaporator 212 is made up of tubes that are vertically tilted and supplied with refrigerant from the bottom by a manifold 1008. The steam produced is collected by a second manifold 1009 placed in a higher position than the manifold 1008, so that the steam produced enables the conveyance and natural circulation of the refrigerant in the evaporator 212;
        • a phase-change material 213 that makes it possible to store the refrigeration produced and redeliver it on demand over the course of the following day;
        • a connection equipped with a tight isolation valve 1010 that makes it possible to start the whole device (evacuation and filling with reactive gas).
  • The modularity of such a device makes it possible to connect a plurality of first elements 1001 to at least one second element 1002.
  • Of course, the invention is not limited to the examples which have just been described and numerous adjustments can be made to these examples without exceeding the scope of the invention. In particular, the different characteristics, forms, variants and embodiments of the invention can be combined with one another according to various combinations inasmuch as they are not incompatible or mutually exclusive. In particular all the variants and embodiments described previously can be combined with each other.

Claims (39)

1. An autonomous device for the production of refrigeration from a low-temperature solar thermal source between 50° C. and 130° C., said refrigeration being produced with a temperature difference 5° C. to 40° C. lower than ambient temperature and said device implementing a method for the thermochemical sorption of a refrigerant by a solid reagent, said device comprising:
a reactor arranged to contain the solid reagent and comprising at least one heat exchanger to cool and/or heat said reactor;
a condenser capable of liquefying the gaseous refrigerant coming from the reactor;
a first tank for storing the liquid refrigerant produced by the condenser at ambient temperature;
an enclosure arranged to store a phase-change material and also comprising an evaporator in direct contact with said phase-change material and capable of evaporating the liquid refrigerant;
a second tank for storing the liquid refrigerant at a temperature lower than ambient temperature, connected to the first tank on the one hand and the evaporator and the reactor on the other hand;
at least one means of conveying the refrigerant arranged to circulate said refrigerant in liquid or gaseous form between the reactor, the first tank, the second tank and the evaporator; and
at least one means of controlling the flow of the refrigerant acting on the means of conveying the refrigerant, said at least one control means being arranged to regulate the flow of the refrigerant independently as a function of the pressures prevailing in the reactor, the first and second tanks, the condenser and the evaporator.
2. The device according to claim 1, characterized in that the enclosure and/or the second tank are thermally insulated.
3. The device according to claim 1, characterized in that the evaporator is supplied with liquid refrigerant from the second tank by the difference in the density of said refrigerant between the inlet and outlet of said evaporator.
4. The device according to claim 1, characterized in that the reactor also comprises an isothermal housing arranged to contain the heat exchanger and/or the reactor and capable of reducing the heat losses of said reactor.
5. The device according to claim 1, characterized in that the reactor is made up of a plurality of tubular elements comprising the solid reagent and connected to each other by said means of conveying the refrigerant.
6. The device according to claim 5, characterized in that the plurality of tubular elements is coated with a solar-absorbing coating to improve the thermal efficiency of the plurality of tubular elements, said coating being in close contact with the wall of the plurality of tubular elements.
7. The device according to claim 6, characterized in that the solar-absorbing coating has low infrared emissivity.
8. The device according to claim 5, characterized in that the reactor also comprises at least one covering element transparent to solar radiation, arranged to reduce the heat losses and enhance the solar collection efficiency, said at least one covering element extending beyond the surface of the reactor exposed to the sun.
9. The device according to claim 5, characterized in that at least one of the surfaces of the reactor not exposed to the sun is thermally insulated in order to reduce the heat losses.
10. The device according to claim 5, characterized in that the reactor also comprises actuation means in order to orient the plurality of tubular elements of the reactor in a plane substantially perpendicular to the direction of the sun and thus present the maximum possible solar-absorbing area.
11. The device according to claim 8, characterized in that the night-time cooling of the reactor is provided by natural circulation of the air in the reactor.
12. The device according to claim 11, characterized in that the reactor also comprises at least one flap for the ventilation of the plurality of tubular elements, said at least one flap being located at the top and/or bottom of said reactor.
13. The device according to claim 12, characterized in that the at least one ventilation flap is arranged to seal the reactor when it is in the closed position.
14. The device according to claim 12, characterized in that the at least one ventilation flap also comprises drive means to open and/or close it.
15. The device according to claim 14, characterized in that the drive means consists of a low-power electric motor.
16. The device according to claim 15, characterized in that the electric motor is powered by an electricity production and/or storage device.
17. The device according to claim 14, characterized in that the drive means consists of a rack and pinion device actuated by a compressed air rotary jack connected to a compressed air reserve.
18. The device according to claim 17, characterized in that the compressed air reserve is refilled by an air compressor powered by photovoltaic panels.
19. The device according to claim 14, characterized in that the drive means consists of a rack and pinion device actuated by a single-acting hydraulic linear jack controlled by a thermostat bulb in thermal contact with an absorbing plate exposed to the sun.
20. The device according to claim 11, characterized in that the plurality of tubular elements also comprises a plurality of circular fins the base of which is in close thermal contact with the wall of the tubular elements in order to enhance the heat exchanges.
21. The device according to claim 20, characterized in that the plurality of fins is covered with a solar-absorbing coating to enhance the heat exchanges.
22. The device according to claim 11, characterized in that the plurality of tubular elements is arranged horizontally in order to improve the flow of air around said tubular elements.
23. The device according to claim 11, characterized in that the condenser is of the finned tube exchanger type and cools, during the day, by natural air convection around said finned tubes.
24. The device according to claim 5, characterized in that the night-time cooling of the reactor is provided by a heat pipe loop operating as a thermosyphon and comprising:
a working fluid capable of performing thermodynamic work, said working fluid propagating in the heat pipe loop by means of at least one means of conveying;
a so-called heat pipe evaporator, working in conjunction with the plurality of tubular elements of the reactor and arranged to evaporate the working fluid and absorb the heat released by the reactor;
a so-called heat pipe condenser, working in conjunction with the evaporator and the reactor, said condenser being arranged to liquefy the working fluid and perform a heat transfer with the outside air;
a working fluid tank arranged to store said liquid working fluid and enable the optimum filling of the at least one tubular element of the reactor with working fluid;
a passive, autonomous device for controlling the flow of the working fluid in the heat pipe loop comprising:
a first working fluid flow control means, located between the working fluid tank and the bottom of the at least one means of conveying the working fluid, said first control means being arranged to control the liquid working fluid supply to the at least one means of conveying the working fluid; and
a second working fluid flow control means, located between the outlet of the heat pipe evaporator and the heat pipe condenser, arranged to control the movement of the gaseous working fluid in the at least one means of conveying the working fluid.
25. The device according to claim 24, characterized in that it also comprises a valve for starting the heat pipe loop, arranged to fill said heat pipe loop with working fluid and/or drain it.
26. The device according to claim 24, characterized in that the heat pipe evaporator comprises at least one means of conveying the working fluid arranged inside the plurality of tubular elements of the reactor and in close thermal contact with the solid reagent, said at least one means of conveying the working fluid associated with each tubular element being connected to each other by manifolds at the top and bottom.
27. The device according to claim 24, characterized in that the heat pipe condenser is made up of at least one finned tube connected to each other by means of conveying the working fluid.
28. The device according to claim 27, characterized in that the at least one finned tube of the heat pipe condenser are arranged substantially horizontally at the rear of the reactor, with a slight tilt to enable the gravity flow of the liquefied working fluid to the working fluid tank.
29. The device according to claim 24, characterized in that the working fluid tank is arranged to maintain a minimum working fluid level in the means of conveying said working fluid of between one third and three quarters of the height of a tubular element of the reactor.
30. The device according to claim 24, characterized in that the working fluid tank is arranged to evaporate the working fluid and also comprises the refrigerant condenser arranged to liquefy said refrigerant.
31. The device according to claim 24, characterized in that the device for controlling the flow of working fluid in the heat pipe loop also comprises at least one autonomous control means, arranged to respectively open and close the first and second working fluid flow control means.
32. The device according to claim 31, characterized in that the at least one autonomous control means of the first and second working fluid flow control means comprises:
an absorbing plate capable of absorbing solar radiation and emitting in the infrared, said absorbing plate being arranged to heat by means of day-time solar radiation and cool during the night;
a thermostat bulb in thermal contact with the absorbing plate, comprising a fluid capable of expanding under the effect of a temperature variation; and
a connecting element working in conjunction firstly with the thermostat bulb and secondly with the first and/or second working fluid flow control means, said connecting element being arranged to open or close said working fluid flow control means.
33. The device according to claim 5, characterized in that it consists of a modular architecture made up of:
a plurality of first assemblies each comprising:
the reactor made up of a plurality of tubular elements and comprising the heat exchanger;
the condenser capable of liquefying the refrigerant;
the tank for storing the refrigerant at ambient temperature, the volume of which corresponds to the volume of the plurality of tubular elements of said first assembly;
refrigerant flow control means;
a second assembly comprising:
the enclosure arranged to store a phase-change material and comprising thermal insulation;
the second tank for storing the liquid refrigerant at a temperature lower than ambient temperature and comprising thermal insulation;
the evaporator for evaporating the refrigerant, located in the enclosure and working in conjunction with the second tank;
first means of controlling the flow of refrigerant between the evaporator and the second tank; and
second means of controlling the flow of refrigerant to ensure the connection between the second assembly and the plurality of first assemblies.
34. The device according to claim 33, characterized in that the evaporator is of the flooded type and comprises at least one tubular element arranged to circulate the refrigerant by thermosyphon with the second tank.
35. The device according to claim 33, characterized in that the second assembly comprises a tight isolation valve, arranged to fill the device with refrigerant and/or drain it.
36. The device according to claim 1, characterized in that the refrigerant is ammonia.
37. Use of the device according to claim 1 to produce refrigeration.
38. Use of the device according to claim 1 to produce water.
39. The use of the device according to claim 38, characterized in that water is produced by condensing water vapour contained in the air on a wall kept cold by the device according to claim 1.
US15/560,115 2015-03-23 2016-03-23 Solar device for autonomous refrigeration by solid-gas sorption Abandoned US20180100676A1 (en)

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FR1552396 2015-03-23
FR1552396A FR3034179B1 (en) 2015-03-23 2015-03-23 SOLAR DEVICE FOR AUTONOMOUS COLD PRODUCTION BY SOLID-GAS SORPTION.
PCT/EP2016/056382 WO2016151017A1 (en) 2015-03-23 2016-03-23 Solar device for autonomous production of cold by solid-gas absorption

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US10677369B2 (en) * 2017-08-03 2020-06-09 Fluke Corporation Temperature calibration system comprising a valve in a closed fluidic system

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EP3274639A1 (en) 2018-01-31
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CN107407511A (en) 2017-11-28
CN107407511B (en) 2019-12-10
CA2980400A1 (en) 2016-09-29
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HRP20190555T1 (en) 2019-05-03
JP2018514735A (en) 2018-06-07

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