Trigeneration systems are closely associated with sorption cooling technology because prime mover waste heat can be recovered to produce cooling. The working pair and cycle type of the sorption cooling system needs to be matched to the waste heat temperature of the prime mover, as well as with the capacity and application of the trigeneration system. A residential trigeneration system with a 4 kWelec internal combustion engine, a 220 gallon (830 L) hot water tank and a 3 kW adsorption chiller powered by 70°C waste heat with separate sensible and latent cooling control strategy is presented in this study. Transient experiments were conducted under 5 day long hot water and space cooling load profiles from a simulated house to evaluate the performance from a practical perspective. The fuel consumption was measured and compared with that of two baseline systems. An analytical criterion was derived and discussed to further evaluate the trigeneration system with different loads under different climates. It was found that the presented residential trigeneration system could save about 30% of fuel consumption compared with conventional off-grid operation mode, but is not more fuel efficient than the conventional on-grid and vapor compression cooling combination.

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