Experimental investigation of absorption in upward and downward flow of NH3-CO2-H2O in a mini-channel heat exchanger

Liang Shi, V. Gudjonsdottir*, C. A. Infante Ferreira

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
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Heat pumps can drastically reduce energy requirements in industry. Operating a compression resorption heat pump with an NH3-CO2-H2O mixture has been identified as a promising option that can have an increased performance compared to only NH3-H2O. In this paper an important process of the heat pump cycle is investigated: The absorption process. A mini-channel heat exchanger with 116 tubes of inside diameter of 0.5 mm is used for this purpose. For the NH3-H2O experiments overall heat transfer coefficients of 2.7–6 kW/(m2K) were reached for mixture mass flows of 0.71–2.5 kg/h. For the NH3-CO2-H2O mixture pumping instabilities limited the operating range which resulted in higher pressures and higher mixture mass flows compared to NH3-H2O. The overall heat transfer coefficients were lower in the case of the added CO2, with the maximum of 3 kW/(m2K) corresponding to a mixture mass flow of 4.2 kg/h. However, an increase in heat transfer of approximately 5% was reached with the added CO2 which is beneficial for heat pump applications. Additionally, limited research has been conducted on absorption in upward versus downward flow and, therefore, these two configurations have also been tested in the mini-channel heat exchanger. Even though the pumping instabilities vanished with absorption in upward flow it was confirmed that absorption in downward flow with the mixture on the tube side is the most beneficial configuration for absorption of ammonia in NH3-CO2-H2O or NH3-H2O in a mini-channel heat exchanger. The performance increased by approximately 10% with absorption in downward flow.

Original languageEnglish
Article number119483
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Heat pumps NH-CO-HO NH-HO absorption mini-channel heat exchanger


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