Waste-heat recovery from a vapor-absorption refrigeration system for a desalination plant

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13 Scopus citations


The waste-heat of vapor-absorption refrigeration (VAR) cycles could efficiently power humidification-dehumidification (HDH) desalination systems for freshwater production. The integrated systems reported in the literature relied on water-heated HDH cycles, in which the waste-heat of VAR systems heats the HDH saline water before entering the humidifier. This paper assesses the coupling of an air-heated HDH system with a double-effect (DE) VAR system by circulating the HDH air to cool the absorber and condenser of the DE-VAR system and concurrently driving the HDH system. In addition to less corrosive issues compared to water-heated HDH systems, the proposed air-heated HDH based system can produce higher freshwater and achieve better performance. Under the investigated conditions, the proposed system produces water amounts of about 2100.0 L/h and a cooling effect of 104.0 tons of refrigeration, with a gained output ratio (GOR) of 4.7, coefficient of performance (COP) of 1.2, energy utilization factor (EUF) of 5.9, water cost of 2.5 $/m3, and cooling effect cost of 0.0037 $/kWh. In addition, the suggested integrated system outperforms the standalone air-heated HDH system in terms of water production, GOR, EUF, and water cost reduction by a factor of 2.3, 2.4, 3.0, and 2.4 times, respectively. Compared to a standalone DE-VAR system, the integrated system shows less cooling capacity by about 10.0% but with a significant reduction in the cooling cost by 3.8 times and improved EUF by 4.2 times. Additionally, the present system shows excellent economic feasibility under different salinities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number117199
JournalApplied Thermal Engineering
StatePublished - Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd


  • Air-heated humidification-dehumidification
  • Cooling effect
  • Coupling
  • Double-effect absorption refrigeration
  • Freshwater

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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