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Modelling and testing the performance of a commercial ammonia/water absorption chiller using Aspen-Plus platform

Mansouri, Rami, Boukholda, Ismail, Bourouis, Mahmoud, Bellagi, Ahmed
Energy 2015 v.93 pp. 2374-2383
absorption, ammonia, computer software, equations, heat exchangers, heat transfer, prediction, simulation models, temperature
A steady-state simulation model of a commercial 3-ton ammonia/water absorption chiller is developed and validated using the flow-sheeting software Aspen-Plus. First an appropriate thermodynamic property model for the ammonia/water fluid mixture is selected. To this purpose nine methods from the software library are pre-selected and tested, but none of the methods predicts the VLE (vapour–liquid equilibrium) with sufficient accuracy. The interaction parameters of these models are then determined by fitting the equations of state (EOS) to VLE data. It is finally found that the Boston–Mathias modified Peng–Robinson EOS with fitted parameters predicts most accurately the VLE for the temperature and pressure ranges encountered in commercial chillers.A simulation model of the machine is then developed. The simulation results are found to be in good agreement with data from literature at a cooling air temperature of 35 ºC. The heat transfer characteristics (UA) of the various heat exchangers of the machine are then determined and the model modified to make it accept these (UA) as input parameters. The comparison of the simulation predictions at cooling air temperatures of 26.7 and 38 ºC with the bibliographical data showed good concordance. The proposed model could be very useful for the analysis and performance prediction of the commercial absorption chiller.