As one of the most promising solutions to the reduction of fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, the use of solar energy for building space heating and cooling recently has again aroused researcher’s interest with the growing awareness of the global warming and other environmental problems. Compared to the relatively mature solar heating, solar cooling technology remains at the demonstration and testing stage due to its complicated system characteristics, both in concept and construction. Among many solar cooling technologies, solar absorption technology is the most suitable technology for the solar cooling. The major barriers to widespread deployment of the solar absorption cooling are its high first cost, the lack of guidelines of its design and operation, and the relative low system performance due to the lack of the system integration. The paper provides detailed information of an on-going solar heating and cooling research project conducted at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. The aim of the research is to develop a cost-effective and integrated solar heating and cooling system. The solar thermal system primarily includes a 45kW single effect absorption chiller, evacuated tube solar collectors (ET), and heat storage tanks. The system has been designed based upon scientific principles and engineering fundamentals. It has been analyzed and optimized to achieve the high cost-effectiveness and the high system efficiency through the system performance simulation in Transient Energy System Simulation (TRNSYS) program.

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