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Renewable Energy 25 (2002) 569–583 www.elsevier.com/locate/renene Economical comparison between a solar- powered vapour

Renewable Energy 25 (2002) 569–583

Renewable Energy 25 (2002) 569–583 www.elsevier.com/locate/renene Economical comparison between a solar- powered vapour

www.elsevier.com/locate/renene

Economical comparison between a solar- powered vapour absorption air-conditioning system and a vapour compression system in the Middle East

A. Elsafty, A.J. Al-Daini *

School of Engineering, Coventry University, Coventry CV1 5FB, UK

Received 12 September 2000; accepted 5 February 2001

Abstract

This paper presents an analysis of the general cost associated with single- and double-effect vapour absorption and vapour compression air-conditioning systems. The cost analysis covers the initial costs and the operating costs of each of the three systems. The vapour absorption system considered in this paper is based on water as the refrigerant and lithium bromide solution as the absorbent. The analysis is undertaken to help select an air-conditioning system that fulfils a 250 TOR cooling load of a five-floor student hospital in Alexandria, Egypt. The typical meteorological year database for Alexandria was used to estimate the cooling load for the building. The analysis is based on two different methods, the present worth value (PWC) and the equivalent annual cost (EAC), for initial and operating costs of each system. The selection depends on which system requires the minimum life-cycle cost (LCC) and can per- form the intended function for its life span. The analysis also considers the interrelationship between economic and thermodynamic aspects, such as the dependence of operating cost on the surrounding climatic conditions. The method used and the results from this study offer useful guidelines for researchers and decision-makers when selecting an air-conditioning sys- tem. The results show that the double-effect vapour absorption system is the preferred option for its minimum present worth value as well as the equivalent annual cost. 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Economics of solar cooling; Vapour absorption air conditioning; Water–lithium bromide; Alex- andria, Egypt

* Corresponding author. Tel.: +44-2476-888276; fax: +44-2476-8838272.

E-mail address: a.al-daini@coventry.ac.uk

(A.J. Al-Daini).

0960-1481/02/$ - see front matter 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved. PII: S 09 60 - 1481(01)00078-7

570 A. Elsafty, A.J. Al-Daini / Renewable Energy 25 (2002) 569–583

Nomenclature

A

annual cost ($/year)

COP

coefcient of performance

E

electric energy consumption (kWh)

EA

equivalent annual value ($/year)

EAC

equivalent annual cost ($/year)

EC

unit cost of electric energy ($/kWh)

F

future worth value ($)

HVAC

heating, ventilating and air conditioning

i

annual interest rate

I

initial cost ($)

LCC

life-cycle cost

M

maintenance cost ($)

N

economic life span of a system (years)

N m

number of days per month

O

operating cost ($)

P

present cost ($)

PWC

present worth cost ($)

Q

cooling load (kW)

T

time (h)

TOR

ton of refrigeration

VAS

vapour absorption system

VCS

vapour compression system

Subscripts

C

initial cost ($)

j

at month j of the year

k

at hour k of the day for subsystem k

m

monthly

o

operating

Re

replacement of VCS

Superscripts

j

at month j of the year

k

subsystem k

m

monthly

n

number of days per month

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571

1. Introduction

Solar air conditioning potentially offers an elegant model of a clean, sustainable technology, which is consistent with the international commitment to sustainable development. Egypt, as well as most of the other Middle East countries, enjoys an abundance of solar radiation, and therefore systems utilizing solar energy are actively being developed. Air-conditioning systems are currently being used only in the highest income homes and luxurious places due to their high capital and running costs. Because of the hot and humid summer climate in Egypt, the energy demand for air conditioning is quite extensive. Air conditioning, according to conservative estimates, represents 32% of the electrical energy consumed by the domestic sector [1]. The rapid increase in non-industrial electricity consumption (2180.7 GWh in 1973 to 48,925 GWh in 1997) (Fig. 1) is due to rural electrication and the presence of many buildings heated in the winter and air-conditioned in the summer using electricity. Egypt is one of the richest countries in the world in solar energy potential [2]. It has a unique location; most of the Egyptian lands receive a considerable annual average of solar radiation ranging from 5.6 kWh/m 2 /day at the north coast to 8.4 kWh/m 2 /day at Aswan in the south of Egypt. The maximum amount of radiation is available in JuneJuly, and the minimum in DecemberJanuary. Vapour absorption air-conditioning systems outperform those based on vapour compression due to the low operating costs when they are used with a solar heat sour- ce. The main objective of this study is to compare three types of air-conditioning system (vapour compression, single-effect and double-effect solar vapour absorption air conditioning) to choose the optimum system to realize a hospitals requirements. The hospital requires cooling and heating capacities of 1150 and 495 kW, respect- ively, with a fresh air rate of 7600 m 3 /h, and humidier capacity of 390 kg/h. The prediction of the systems operational cost has taken into account the weather con- ditions of Alexandria City on the Mediterranean coast of Egypt (Figs. 2 and 3).

2. Theoretical analysis

The rst step in the selection of an air-conditioning system is a complete and accurate evaluation of all factors contributing to the cooling and heating loads of the building.

contributing to the cooling and heating loads of the building. Fig. 1. Power consumption in Egypt

Fig. 1.

Power consumption in Egypt during the year 1996/97.

572 A. Elsafty, A.J. Al-Daini / Renewable Energy 25 (2002) 569583

A.J. Al-Daini / Renewable Energy 25 (2002) 569 – 583 Fig. 2. Hourly outdoor temperature distribution

Fig. 2.

Hourly outdoor temperature distribution in Alexandria for August and January.

distribution in Alexandria for August and January. Fig. 3. Monthly climatic data distribution for Alexandria. A

Fig. 3.

Monthly climatic data distribution for Alexandria.

A theoretical analysis was carried out for the cooling and heating loads for the hospital building to full the requirements of the public health authority. The spaces required to be conditioned in the hospital are the operating theatres, the intensive care units, ofces, rooms, archives, nursing rooms, laboratories, waiting areas, storage rooms, radiographic and uoroscopic spaces, sterilizing rooms and service areas. The basic differences between air conditioning for a hospital, and for any other building, are that in hospitals a wide variety of environmental conditions are required in various departments. The temperature control should be on an individual room basis. Additionally, there are specic requirements for ventilation and ltration to dilute and remove contamination. For example, the operating theatre requires a tem- perature of about 18 to 22°C, with the relative humidity held to a range between 50 and 60%, and a high percentage of outside air when the theatre is in use [3]. To achieve the clean conditions needed, the supply air must be ltered through high- efciency lters to remove contamination in the form of odour, air-borne micro- organisms and viruses. In addition, higher airow rate is needed. The emergency department is the most highly contaminated area, due to the soiled condition of many patients on arrival and the relatively large number of persons accompanying them.

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Laboratories require high rates of exhaust and make-up air. Nursing rooms do not require high airow rates but about 55% RH and a temperature of 24 to 26°C. Ofces, public areas, cafeterias, shops and other support areas have requirements similar to other comfort zones [4]. The space load components considered during the cooling season, from March to November, are the solar radiation through transparent surfaces, heat transmission through exterior walls and roofs, heat conduction through interior partitions, ceilings and oors, heat dissipation of occupants, and heat gain due to lighting, motors and any other appliances, in addition to the heat gain due to ventilation and inltration. During the heating season from November until March the heat losses through walls and windows, ventilation air and inltration are the load components that are con- sidered in estimating the heating load. The space load is then classied into sensible and latent heat for the proper selec- tion of cooling and heating equipment.

3. Building survey

Orientation: Alexandria, Egypt. Latitude 31°31 N and longitude 29°55 E. The building consists of ve oors. Ceiling height for all oors is 3.1 m. Construction material: the ceilings and oors are built using concrete. Walls are built from bricks, with air gaps. Doors are made from wood. A single layer of glass is used for all windows. The hospital building is detached.

Fig. 4 represents the plan of the rst oor of the hospital.

4. Heating and cooling loads for the hospital

A cooling (heating) load may be dened as the rate at which heat must be removed

from (added to) the space by the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system to maintain the space conditions at a constant desired value at any given time of interest [5].

A computer software package has been used that is capable of calculating the

psychometric properties needed in evaluating heat loads in buildings based on equa- tions published in the ASHRAE Handbook [6,7]. These calculated data were then used to compute the heating and/or cooling loads on an hourly basis. The cooling and heating loads are affected by the orientation of the space, the indoor conditions and the number of air changes per hour for each space of the hospital, as men- tioned previously. Tables 1 and 2 show the peak and hourly cooling loads for the month of August for the hospital.

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A.J. Al-Daini / Renewable Energy 25 (2002) 569 – 583 5. Costs Fig. 4. The plan

5. Costs

Fig. 4.

The plan of the rst oor of the hospital.

An initial estimate of the costs must be computed in order to determine the econ- omic feasibility of any project. There are two main methods to compare the cost of any two or more systems. The rst one is the First Cost Comparison. It reects only the initial price, installed and ready to operate, and ignores such factors as expected life, ease of maintenance and even, to some extent, efciency. Typically, rst cost is used in buildings built for speculation or short-term investment. The second is the Life-Cycle Cost (LCC), which includes all cost factors (rst cost, operating cost, maintenance, replacement and estimated energy use) and can be used to evaluate the total cost of the system over the complete life of the system. This study presents a life-cycle cost analysis using detailed load proles and con- struction costs to evaluate the economic feasibility of the three systems. The costs presented in this study produce a very good estimate of the capital costs and operating costs. Eq. (1) shows that the total cost of any system consists of three main variables, namely the initial cost, the operating cost and nally the mainte- nance cost:

Total cost f(Initial costs Operating costs Maintenance costs) (1)

k

12

k

(1 i m ) (12j)

k 1

k 1

I k

j 1

k

O

m

j,k

k 1

M

k .

capacity (kg/h)

153.37

171.63

Humidier

12

385.96

67.59

67.59

82.79

81.99

86

156.6

170.3

11

capacity (kW)

222.0

143.7

Heating

101.74

429.97

102.67

89.23

89.23

10

110.1

237.0

129.8

capacity (kW)

9

198.92

198.92

1135.96

241.29

253.18

243.65

Cooling

259.6

121.5

8

Total load (kW) Fresh air rate (m 3 /h)

277.8

118.1

7

13,110

13,110

16,426

17,068

16,267

75,981

102.9

294.7

6

97.60

315.7

51.452

72.032

51.452

70.07

70.07

315.71

5

Table 2 Hourly cooling load (kW) during the month of August for the hospital

100.2

280.1

4

Latent load

258.94

120.17

3.676

3.676

7.808

33.46

9.47

8.83

(kW)

3

116.19

225.08

Sensible load

2

64.224

47.776

47.776

282.246

61.24

61.23

Time (h)

(kW)

196.53

126.81

Table 1 Peak loads for the hospital in August

1

Floor number

Second

Fourth

Third

Total

Fifth

First

AM

PM

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576 A. Elsafty, A.J. Al-Daini / Renewable Energy 25 (2002) 569583

The following sections present details of how the various costs are evaluated.

5.1. Initial costs

The initial costs for the single- and double-effect solar vapour absorption systems include the absorption machine, heat rejection equipment, and solar energy collec- tion system. The initial cost of the vapour compression system includes the vapour compression

chiller and the heat rejecting equipment. The physical size of the absorption system

is larger than the size of the vapour compression system; this increase in size requires

a larger building, moving equipment and support systems. This results in a higher

installation cost for the vapour absorption system. The electric supply for a vapour compression system needs to be upgraded by either increasing the electrical capacity of the electric substation or building a new substation. The initial cost therefore should include, in addition to the purchase and instal- lation of the systems, the various subsystems necessary for effective operation. This includes piping, wiring and specic structures. The heat rejection equipment for the application considered in this work is a coo- ling tower. The cooling towers for both of the vapour absorption systems (single- and double-effect) have a centrifugal or propeller type fan. Although the centrifugal fan has a higher capital cost, it has been selected for two practical reasons: the lower level of noise, which is an essential requirement for the hospital, and its lower operating costs compared with the propeller fan. The cooling tower for the vapour absorption system is between 1.5 and 2 times larger than that for a similarly sized vapour compression system. The solar energy collection system plays the most signicant role in the initial cost of the vapour absorption system. The required collector area per kW is 6.6 m 2 . The price of a at-plate solar collector is $170/m 2 [8]. For higher temperature, which will be needed for the double-effect machine, parabolic troughs may have to be used. The cost of these would be higher than for at-plate collectors. However, as a result of the higher temperatures achieved, the surface area required would be smaller which may help to offset the extra cost. The required heat for the generation process and the COP for both single- and double-effect vapour absorption systems have been calculated using a zero-order computer model, based on solving the governing equations for the systems compo- nents and incorporating the chemical and thermodynamic properties of the waterlithium bromide solution. The COP for the single-effect machine varies between 0.65 and 0.8. The COP for the double-effect machine varies from 1.1 to 1.35 [9]. The costs of the auxiliary equipment include the electric pump motors, fan motors, and a water treatment system for the cooling tower. The difference in this cost between the three systems can be assumed to be zero. Table 3 shows the estimated initial costs of the three systems. The table assumes

A. Elsafty, A.J. Al-Daini / Renewable Energy 25 (2002) 569583

Table 3 Initial cost of the three systems

577

 

Single-effect VAS

Double-effect VAS

VCS

Absorption chillers and VCS Machine capacity (TOR) Total cost ($) Lifetime (years) Heat rejection equipment Total cost ($) Lifetime (years) Solar collection system Cost ($) Lifetime (years)

250

171,000

234,000

126,000

16

16

8

56,700

51,300

37,800

16

16

16

1,262,250

721,285

0

16

16

0

that the lifetime for an absorption chiller is double that for a vapour compression machine [7].

5.2. Operating costs

Operating costs, which include the costs of electricity, wages of employees, sup- plies, water and materials, are those incurred by the actual operation of the sys- tem [7]. All new plants may be assumed to be fully automatic. Thus estimation of labour is very rarely relevant. However, for the purpose of comparison between the three systems and taking into account the low labour cost in Egypt, the assumption of zero difference in the operating labour cost for the three systems is made. Electrical operating costs for the vapour absorption systems comprise the heating water pump, condenser water pump, generator water pumps and cooling tower fans:

k

O m (VAS) n m EC E k .

k 1

(2)

With regard to the vapour compression system, the operating costs are dominated by the electricity required to drive the compressor. Additional electricity is used to drive the condenser water pump and the cooling tower fans. The monthly electric operating cost of the vapour compression system is pro- portional to its monthly electric energy consumption [10]:

24

O m (VCS) n m EC

k 1

Q k

COP k

·dt.

(3)

578 A. Elsafty, A.J. Al-Daini / Renewable Energy 25 (2002) 569583

Table 4 shows the estimated annual operating costs for the two absorption systems and the vapour compression system.

5.3. The maintenance costs

The maintenance cost is the nal cost to be estimated for air-conditioning systems. There are various levels of maintenance that may be applied to building HVAC services. The three most common levels are run-to-failure (unsuitable for the hospital), preventive, and nally predictive maintenance. The maintenance cost is difcult to quantify because it depends on a large number of variables such as local labour rates, their experience, the age of the system, length of time of operation, etc. The maintenance cost for the heat rejection subsystem tends to be higher for the VAS due to more rapid scaling; however, this could be offset by the maintenance cost of the VCS because it is a work-operated cycle. Maintenance costs cited in various studies show that the vapour absorption sys- tems maintenance costs range from 0.6 to 1.25 times the maintenance costs of the vapour compression system. Clearly the maintenance cost depends to a large extent on the level of sophisti- cation of the system and the relative ease of access to plant, which is beyond this work.

6. Economic comparison criteria

The selection of an HVAC system requires a specic criterion that can be applied in describing and evaluating the different alternatives. Analysis of overall initial and

Table 4 Annual operating cost (price per kWh=$0.08)

 

Single-effect VAS

Double-effect VAS

VCS

VAS and VCS machines Total use (kWh/year) Annual cost ($) Cooling pump water Cooling water pump motor efciency Total use (kWh/year) Annual cost ($) Cooling tower fans Fan efciency Fan partial use factor Total use (kWh/year) Annual cost ($) Total annual operating cost ($)

27,000

27,000

1,556,181.93

2160

2160

124,494.55

0.68

184,904.8

126,513.84

123,269.89

14,792.39

10,121.11

9861.6

0.6

0.4

147,000

120,000

98,000

11,760

9600

7840

28,712.39

21,881.1

142,196.15

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A.J. Al-Daini / Renewable Energy 25 (2002) 569 – 583 579 Fig. 5. Cash fl ow

Fig. 5.

Cash ow diagram for single- and double-effect VAS (PWC and EAC).

operating costs and comparisons of alternatives require an understanding of the cost, the comfort demands and the environmental impacts of the system. The present worth method is normally used to evaluate and compare the life-cycle costs of HVAC systems [10]. What distinguishes this work is that it utilizes the present worth cost (PWC) in addition to the equivalent annual cost (EAC) to evaluate the cost of the three air-conditioning systems. This is considered important since the EAC method takes into account the differences in the life spans of each subsystem of the cycle.

7. The present worth cost comparison

The present worth value of a cash ow over time is its value today. The present worth comparisons are made only between co-terminated proposals, to ensure equiv- alent outcomes. Co-termination means that the lives of the systems involved end at the same time, which is not the case in this work. When the alternatives have unequal lives, the time horizon for analysis can be set by a common multiple of system lives or by a study period that ends with the disposal of all systems. Consequently, the common-multiple method has been proposed to accommodate the present worth value for the unequal-life systems. Figs. 5 and 6 graphically represent the cash ow diagrams of the decision data of the three HVAC systems to facilitate understanding of the selection problem. The three systems are co-terminated by selecting an analysis period that spans a common multiple of the lives of the three systems. The horizontal line presents the time frame over which cash ow occurs, which is divided into years. The vertical lines present the individual outlays and the receipts, i.e., the initial cost of the system and its subsystems and the annual operating costs. For instance, in the case of this work, the least common multiple is 16 years for the single- and double-effect absorp- tion systems, which means that the vapour compression system with a lifetime of 8 years would be replaced twice during the analysis period.

with a lifetime of 8 years would be replaced twice during the analysis period. Fig. 6.

Fig. 6.

Cash ow diagram for VCS (PWC).

580 A. Elsafty, A.J. Al-Daini / Renewable Energy 25 (2002) 569583

The total present worth value for any analysis is determined by summing the present worth values of all individual items under consideration, both future single payment (i.e., replacement cost) items and series of equal future payments (i.e., annual operating cost). The cost or the value of money is a function of the available interest rate and ination rate [12]. The present value P o of a series of uniform end-of-period payments A o (the annual operating cost) is calculated using Eq. (8). The present worth value of a single pay- ment in the future after period N, P Re (future replacement cost), is calculated using Eq. (9). The uniform series present worth factor and the single payment present worth factor can be expressed as in Eqs. (6) and (7), respectively:

PWC VAS M/CCost Solar collection cost Heat rejection cost (4)

P Operating cost ,

PWC VCS M/CCost P Replacement cost Heat rejection cost P Operating cost ,

P o A o (P/A, i%, N),

P Re F Re (P/F, i%, N),

P o A o (1+i) N 1 i(1+i) N

P Re F Re [1/(1 i) N ].

where M/C cost = machine cost.

,

(5)

(6)

(7)

(8)

(9)

8. Equivalent annual cost comparison

With the equivalent annual method, all the costs occurring over a period are con- verted to an equivalent uniform yearly amount. The EAC comparison method is one of the most convenient methods, particularly for systems that are composed of several subsystems with unequal life spans. This method does not require the assumption of replacement of a system. The EAC for the vapour absorption systems, as well as for the vapour compression system, is the summation of the EAC values for the system and subsystems and the annual operating cost; Eqs. (10) and (11), respectively. The uniform series capital recovery factor as expressed in Eq. (12) is used to determine the amount of each future annuity payment required to dissipate a given present value (initial cost of the system or the subsystem) when the interest rate and number of payments are known, Eq. (13). Fig. 7 represents the cash ow diagram for the VCS, as there is no more assump- tion of system replacement, which is more realistic in this case.

(10)

EAC VAS EA M/Cost EA Heat rejection cost EA Solar collection cost

Annual operating cost,

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A.J. Al-Daini / Renewable Energy 25 (2002) 569 – 583 581 Fig. 7. Cash fl ow

Fig. 7.

Cash ow diagram for VCS (EAC).

EAC VCS EA M/Cost EA Heat rejection cost Annual operating cost,

EA C P C (A/P, i%, N),

EA C P C

N 1 .

N

i(1+i)

(1+i)

9. Global warming impact

(11)

(12)

(13)

Because of the size and initial cost issues, it has been relatively easy to ignore the many subtle advantages of the solar-powered vapour absorption cooling system. Starting with the Montreal Protocol in 1987 and continuing to the Kyoto Treaty in 1997, global warming has become an issue of great interest to the public. Economists in the USA have estimated the cost for reducing the annual carbon emission to be $100 to $200 per ton of carbon [11]. As a result, the vapor absorption system especially the solar-powered version becomes a worthy alternative to the vapour compression system despite its low COP and capital costs.

10. Results and discussion

Analyses of overall initial and operating costs for three air-conditioning systems have been developed in this work. The analysis described two economic techniques for evaluating the systems. Those techniques have been used to examine all of the costs of the three alternatives over the analysis period, in terms of their present worth value and their uniform equivalent annual value. The work also paid special attention to cash ow over the complete life of the project (life-cycle costing). Results of the comparison, presented in Tables 5 and 6, show that keeping the hospital at the designed level of thermal comfort costs less using a double-effect vapour absorption system than using a single-effect vapour absorption system or a vapour compression system. This is due to the higher COP of the double-effect machine resulting in a solar heat collection system with substantially smaller area. The tables show that the cost of the solar panels is the dominant cost. Consequently, it is concluded from this work that the double-effect solar vapour

582

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Table 5 The present worth cost comparison results

 

Single-effect VAS

Double-effect VAS

VCS

Machine cost Heat rejection cost Solar heat collection system cost Initial cost (000 $) Replacement cost RC (000 $) Present worth for RC (000 $) Annual operating cost, AOC (000 $/year) Annual interest rate Life span (years) Present worth cost for the AOC (000 $) Total present worth value (000 $)

171

234

126

56.7

51.3

37.8

1262.25

721.285

0

1489.95

1006.585

163.8

0

0

126

0

0

118.867

28.7

21.88

142.197

0.06

0.06

0.06

16

16

16

290.039

221.116

1437.027

1779.989

1227.701

1600.827

Table 6 The equivalent annual cost comparison results

 
 

Single-effect VAS

Double-effect VAS

VCS

Machine cost Heat rejection cost Solar heat collection system cost EAC for machine cost EAC for heat rejection EAC for solar heat collection EAC for initial cost (000 $/year) Annual operating cost, AOC (000 $/year) Annual interest rate Life span (years) Total equivalent annual cost (000 $)

171

234

126

56.7

51.3

37.8

1262.25

721.285

0

16.920

23.154

20.290

5.6105

5.076

3.7403

124.902

71.372

0

147.4337

99.60

24.03

28.7

21.88

142.197

0.06

0.06

0.06

16

16

8

176.1337

121.483

166.2279

absorption air-conditioning system promises to be a desirable alternative for air- cooling and dehumidication applications in Egypt.

11. Conclusion

An economic analysis was carried out on the three air-conditioning systems. The main ndings are as follows.

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Using the present worth comparison method:

the total cost of the vapour compression system is 11% lower than that of the single-effect vapour absorption system; the total cost of the double-effect vapour absorption system is 45% less than that of the single-effect system; the double-effect system costs 30% less than the vapour compression system. Using the equivalent annual comparison method:

the total cost of the vapour compression system is 6% lower than that of the single-effect vapour absorption system; the total cost of the double-effect vapour absorption system is 45% less than that of the single-effect system; the double-effect system costs 37% less than the vapour compression system.

Although solar vapour absorption cooling systems have some disadvantages based on the size and initial cost, when compared with vapour compression systems for the application in this work, it has been proved that the double-effect solar vapour absorption system has the lower present worth and equivalent annual cost, as men- tioned before. In addition, it is an environmentally friendly system. To sum up, the double-effect solar air-conditioning system is recommended for use in such applications.

References

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