As the demand for cooling increases in Canada, it creates a greater energy demand on the utility grid by placing peak loads during the summer months. As a result, air conditioning in the residential sector is responsible for a disproportionately large and increasing amount of CO2 emissions in Canada. One potential solution is the use of solar thermally driven absorption chillers, however before their widespread use in Canada is possible, extensive testing and optimization of the systems must be conducted to determine their feasibility in the Canadian climate. This paper discusses a full scale experimental test rig that has been recently constructed and commissioned to experimentally evaluate the performance of a commercially available solar absorption chiller with integrated thermal storage. The complete system is described, including the system’s test capabilities, the instrumentation installed, the control system developed, and the calibration and uncertainty analysis completed on each individual sensor and the system as a whole. Additionally, the paper examines the charge cycle of the solar absorption chiller being studied, and compares the results to simulation results obtained from a TRNSYS model of the test apparatus.

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