The efficient operation of a solar cooling system strongly depends on the chiller behaviour under part-load conditions since driving energy and cooling load are never constant. For this reason the performance of a single stage, hot water driven 30 kW H2O/LiBr-absorption chiller employed in a solar cooling system with a field of 350 m2 evacuated tube collectors has been analysed under part-load conditions with both simulations and experiments. A simulation model has been developed for the whole absorption chiller (Type Yazaki WFC-10), where all internal mass and energy balances are solved. The connection to the external heat reservoirs of hot, chilled and cooling water is done by lumped and distributed UA-values for the main heat exchangers. In addition to an analytical evaporator model — which is described in detail — experimental correlations for UA-values have been used for condenser, generator and solution heat exchanger. For the absorber a basic model based on Nusselt theory has been employed. The evaporator model was developed taking into account the distribution of refrigerant on the tube bundle as well as the change in operation from a partially dry to an overflowing evaporator. A linear model is derived to calculate the wetted area. The influence of these effects on cooling capacity and COP is calculated for three different combinations of hot and cooling water temperature. The comparison to experimental data shows a good agreement in the various operational modes of the evaporator. The model is able to predict the transition from partially dry to an overflowing evaporator quite well. The present deviations in the domain with high refrigerant overflow can be attributed to the simple absorber model and the linear wetted area model. Nevertheless the results of this investigation can be used to improve control strategies for new and existing solar cooling systems.

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