Solar air conditioning refers to any air conditioning (cooling) system that uses solar power, which
includes solar air conditioning using desiccants, passive solar cooling, solar thermal cooling and
photovoltaic (PV) solar cooling.


SEA focus on solar thermal application, so our research and development in solar air conditioning using
the solar thermal cooling technologies.
Innovative hot water solar thermal energy collectors are
developed by SEA providing the clean and free energy heat source.


Solar thermal cooling
Active solar cooling uses solar thermal collectors to provide thermal energy to drive thermally driven
chillers (usually adsorption or absorption chillers).  The solar thermal collector, for example, provides
solar thermal heat by concentrating the sun’s energy on a collection tube and heating the recirculated
heat transfer fluid within the system. The generated heat is then used in conjunction with absorption
chillers to provide a renewable source of industrial cooling.

There are multiple alternatives to compressor-based chillers that can reduce energy consumption, with
less noise and vibration. Solar thermal energy can be used to efficiently cool in the summer, and also
heat domestic hot water and buildings in the winter. Single, double or triple iterative absorption cooling
cycles are used in different solar-thermal-cooling system designs. The more cycles, the more efficient
they are.

Efficient absorption chillers require water of at least 190 °F (90 °C). Common, inexpensive flat-plate solar
thermal collectors only produce about 160 °F (70 °C) water.
A pilot project was done using all glass vacuum tube solar collector system for testing solar air
conditioning.  

SEA Groups Ltd.
We harness the power of the sun for our future
Solar . Energy . Application
SEA Groups Ltd.
We harness the power of the sun for our future
Solar . Energy . Application
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Solar air conditioning overview
®
The solar air conditioning pilot project was performed on a 1984 square meter total construction space
building at Shanghai Construction Research Institution. The building occupies 904 square meter land
area with total three floors. The project use solar system providing hot water to fire the adsorption air
conditioning, combined with the liquid desiccant air conditioning to supply the building’s first floor
cooling loads in summer.  

The system provides the air conditioning for the building’s 265m2 first floor space, the design cooling
power was 15kW provided by two 8.5kW adsorption chillers running parallel. Table 1 show the chiller
specification. Use the non-toxic refrigerant as the working medium to meet the environment
requirement.
A pilot project applying solar air conditioning
Unit items
performance
Unit
Cooling Capacity
Chilled water outlet temperature
Chilled water flow
Cooling water inlet temperature
Cooling water flow
Hot water inlet temperature
Hot water flow
Chilled water pressure
Cooling water pressure
Hot water pressure
Hot medium operation quantity
Electricity
8.5
10
1.5
32
5
85
3.6
0.6
0.6
0.6
1.5
2phase-220V-50Hz
kW
°C
t/h
°C
t/h
°C
t/h
Mpa
Mpa
Mpa
t
Table 1: Adsorption air conditioning unit specification
Using heat pipe vacuum tube collectors, the designed solar collecting area for the solar air
conditioning was 150m2, with 40 degree inclination angle placing on the building roof, see the
building picture.
Solar air conditioning unit, working as double-effect unit, composed of two single-effect adsorption
chiller, which has three vacuum chambers: two adsorption/de-adsorption working chambers and one
evaporator working chamber at the bottom. The processes of heating by de-adsorption and cooling
by adsorption is running in term in two working chambers. The energy required for the adsorption
processes is provided by the solar thermal energy.   
Using July 24th, 2005 one day’s data to do the system analysis: the total solar insolation for that day
was 20.36 MJ/m2, the system operating environment temperature was 31.66 °C. Solar system
collects total solar energy was 1184.48 MJ, the solar system total average energy collecting efficiency
was 39.65%. The hot water temperatures provided by the solar system remained stable during the
whole system operation period for the day, which was achieved mainly by the temperature adjustable
function of the hot water storage. The average hot water temperature during the system operating
period was 70.2°C,and it reached the highest temperature 75.6°C at the 13:00pm in the early
afternoon. Air conditioning terminal side using dry fan coils with cooling water average temperature
18.5°C,the average temperature difference between the feeding water and return water was 3.5°C.
The solar air conditioning system run from 9:00am to 17:00pm, the data show that the system
provided total cooling power 15.31kW; relative to heat consumption, the average cooling performance
coefficient COPchill was 0.35; relative to the total solar insolation for the day, the average cooling
performance coefficient COPchill-solar was 0.15.
Collected May, June, July and August four summer months data shown in table 2 the statistics show
that the average daily cooling power was 10.76kW, relative to heat consumption, the average cooling
performance coefficient COPchill was 0.32, and relative to total daily solar insolation, the average
cooling performance coefficient COPchill-solar was0.115. The ratio of dependence on solar
insolation for solar adsorption air conditioning is around 71.3%.
Date
mm/yy
Ta
/°C
I
/MJ/m2
η
/%
Qchill
/kW
COPchill
COPchill
-solar
Thw-in
/°C
Tco-in
/°C
Tchill-in
/°C
05/05
06/05
07/05
08/05
24.93
29.86
33.77
31.89
19.91
17.71
18.96
17.24
31.99
35.64
37.41
38.02
9.57
10.29
11.23
10.77
0.26
0.29
0.36
0.32
0.10
0.11
0.12
0.11
63.73
62.42
65.44
63.80
23.09
24.31
26.68
26.75
16.28
20.12
22.32
21.52
Table 2: Testing statistic data, where:
Date: Testing date, Ta: Average environment temperature, I: Daily solar insolation, η: Average
collecting efficiency, Qchill: Average cooling power, COPchill: Average cooling coefficient, COPchill-
solar: Average cooling coefficient relative to solar insolation, Thw-in: Average hot water
temperature, Tco-in: Average cold water temperature, Tchill-in: Average cooling water temperature
Double-effect adsorption Chiller
Solar air conditioning principle diagram
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