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Applied Thermal Engineering 26 (2006) 18661875 www.elsevier.

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Optimal design study of cylindrical nned reactor for solar adsorption cooling machine working with activated carbonammonia pair
A. Al Mers a, A. Azzabakh b, A. Mimet
a

b,*

, H. El Kalkha

Energetic and Fluid Mechanics Laboratory, Moulay Ismail University, Ecole Nationale Superieure dArt et Metiers (ENSAM-MEKNES) ` P.O. Box 4024, Meknes, Morocco b Energetic Fluid Mechanics and Materials Sciences Laboratory, Abdelmalek Essaadi University, Faculty of Sciences, P.O. Box 2121, B.P. 2121 Mhannech II, Tetouan 93002, Morocco Received 9 November 2004; accepted 28 January 2006 Available online 20 March 2006

Abstract This paper presents a model describing the heat and mass transfer in cylindrical nned reactor of solar adsorption refrigerator. Giving the meteorological data as boundary conditions on the reactor; the model computes the solar coecient of performance (COPs). The validity of the model has been tested by using experimental results. An analysis of the sensitivity of the COPs versus the geometrical parameters of the reactor (radius of the reactor, ns thickness and ns number) is mad. Then the model is applied to optimize the solar reactor. The COPs is used as an optimization criterion. The geometrical parameters where the COPs of the machine reach a maximum have been calculated. 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Solar refrigeration; Adsorption; Thermodynamic optimization; Activated carbon; Ammonia; Heat and mass transfer

1. Introduction Solid adsorption cooling machines constitute very attractive solutions using heat source of industrial heat waste at medium temperature and to use renewable energy source such as solar energy [13]. The adsorption cooling machine consists essentially of an evaporator, a condenser and a reactor containing a solid adsorbent. The development of the technology of adsorption cooling machines can be carried out by experimental studies and by mathematical modelization [4]. This last method allows to save time and money because it is more supple to use for simulate the variation of dierent parameters. This article focuses on performances analysis and optimization of solar reactor of adsorption cooling machine working with activated carbonammonia pair. The study

Corresponding author. Tel.: +212 39 97 24 23; fax: +212 39 99 45 00. E-mail address: mimet@fst.ac.ma (A. Mimet).

is limited to the case of cycle with simple eect, when the machine consists essentially of an evaporator, a condenser and a solar reactor containing a reactive medium. Other cycles with height performance has been studies by several authors [5] such as cycles with vapour recovery process (also called mass recovery process) [5,6] and cycles with heat recovery process [7,8]. The application of these advanced adsorption cycles concern mainly the system using a continuous heat source, the application in the eld of solar energy is dicult, because of the intermittent character of solar energy when the machine necessitates other components, the size and the economic cost become prohibitive. Cycles with simple eect is more easy to use in the eld of solar energy. But suer from low power density because of poor heat transfer through the adsorbent bed, the thermal ux from the absorbent surface of the collector is limited by two resistances: The rst is the contact thermal resistance at the interface between the metal wall and the adsorbent (1/hw), the second into the adsorbent, is

1359-4311/$ - see front matter 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.applthermaleng.2006.01.021

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Nomenclature AL ap COPs c ef G Hcv hw hg ha ma max ~ _ m Nf P PS R2 r S T Tam parameter of Wilson model absorption coecient solar coecient of performance specic heat n thickness global solar irradiance (w/m2), convection heat transfer coecient between the collector and the ambiance coecient of heat transfer at the interface between the metal and the solid bed enthalpy of the gas enthalpy of the adsorbate maximal adsorbed mass mass ow number of ns pressure pressure of saturation tube radius radius contour surface temperature ambient temperature t u V ~ v a c D ~ r DHads e q ke km l r uv time internal energy control volume gas velocity volume fraction of the adsorbed phase activity coecient of the vapour phase Laplacian gradient operator heat of sorption porosity of the activated carbon density equivalent thermal conductivity of the solid bed conductivity of metal emissivity of the absorbent surface StefanBoltzman constant fugacity coecients of the vapour phase

Subscripts a adsorbed phase g gas s solid m metal

dependent on the equivalent thermal conductivity of the solid bed (ke). These limitations of heat transfer engender an important gradient of temperature in the bed and a large dierence of temperature between the metal wall and the adsorbent bed, because the heat ux diuse badly inside the bed, it results the creasing of the heat losses of the reactor towards the ambience, that are directly linked to wall temperature (the dierence of temperature between the wall and the ambiance becomes important). Then, the improvement of the machine performances is conditioned by the quality of heat transfer in the reactor. To achieve this goal two ways can be adopted: Improvement of the properties of heat transfer of the solid adsorbent, by using for example a consolidated composite adsorbents [9], these adsorbents are obtained from the powders of the solid adsorbent mixed with other materials which have a large thermal conductivity [10,11]. Improvement of the contact surface between the external metallic wall of the reactor and the solid adsorbent by using internal ns [12]. This way can be carried out from an analysis resulting from the mathematical modelization of the process and an optimization based on the optimal control techniques. This last solution is adopted in this work. We analyse the optimization problem of a cylindrical nned reactor according to its geometrical conguration. This analysis

is carried out by taking into account the thermals constraints related to the system and the constraints related to the use of the solar energy. The solar reactor studied in this work is represented in Fig. 1; it is constituted of a transparent cover, a lateral and rear insulation and a steel adsorber containing the activated carbon. The adsorber is constituted of a cylindrical nned tubes, the grain of activated carbon are distributed between ns that are radially disposed. The modelization of the solar reactor presented in this work take into account the heat and mass transfers phenomena. The reactive bed is characterized by an equivalent thermal conductivity and assumed to be at chemical and thermodynamical equilibrium. The bed pressure is assumed to be uniform. The model behaviour is controlled by heat, mass and sorption equilibrium equations. 2. Adsorption refrigeration cycle principle The adsorptive cycle is intermittent. The adsorber containing the adsorbent is alternatively connected with a condenser and with an evaporator. The cycle is a succession of two periods: a period of heating/desorption/ condensation followed by a period of cooling/adsorption/evaporation. For solar adsorptive cycle, the rst period consists of regeneration of the adsorbent by solar energy (during the day), the second period occurs nightly when the adsorber is cooled by free convection and by radiation (heat exchange between the adsorber and the atmosphere).

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Fig. 1. Sketch of the solar reactor studied.

3. Activated carbonammonia pair Many dierent pairs have been evaluated by various authors. In this work, activated carbon (BPL)ammonia pair was selected. Indeed, in adsorption cycle the prime requirement of the refrigerant is a high latent heat per unit volume. The best refrigerants available on this basis alone are water, ammonia, and methanol. Whilst it is possible to boil water at temperatures below 0 C in laboratory scale equipment, there are likely to be problems in doing this in a machine working under the natural conditions, and so water has been excluded as refrigerant for temperatures lower than 0 C. The choice between methanol and ammonia is not so clear cut, several authors shown that the adsorptive properties of activated carbon with methanol gives higher COPs than ammonia with carbon adsorbents. However, The pressure of methanol is far from ideal, being too low, that require to put the machine in depression. This problem can be avoided by using ammonia. The isotherm characteristics of activated carbon (BPL)ammonia was compiled and presented by Mimet [13]. Three models PmaT are tested: Brunauer, Emmet and Teller (BET) model based on the theory of Langmuir [14], the DubininRadushkevich (DR) model [15] and the Wilson model based on the solutions theory [16]. A best description of the isotherm is obtained by using The Wilson model [13,16]; the error that results is about (8%). The (BET) model yields an error of (9%) and (DR) (12%). On this basis, The Wilson model have been used in this study. The relationship giving the amount ma of adsorbed gas on a mass unit of microporous solid is given by Ln c LnX K1 1 X   K2 K1 1 X 1 X K2 X X K1 1 X

  ma AL12 ; K1 ma max exp X ma max T   1 AL2 exp K2 ma max T

with:

and

where ma max is the maximal adsorbed mass, AL1 and AL2 are the parameters of the model. c is the activity coecient of the vapour phase, it is obtained from the relation: P uv T ; P X cT ; P ; X P S uv T ; P S S 2

where uv(T, P) and uv T ; P S are the fugacity coecients of S the vapour phase, respectively, at T and P and at the saturation. PS is the pressure of saturation at temperature T. 4. Modeling In the reactive bed three phases are present (Fig. 2): a solid phase constituted by carbon grains (s), adsorbed

mout
solid (S) gas (g)

adsorbate (a)

m in
Fig. 2. Control volume representing the reactive porous medium.

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phase of ammonia (a) and gaseous phase (g). Under the action of solar radiation, the mixture of activated carbonammonia has a transitory behaviour; the properties are dependent on the time and localisation. The principle of heat and mass transfer inside the porous bed can be described as follows: when the metallic wall temperature is modied, an inhomogeneity of temperature appears, that induces by adsorption/desorption process a mass transfer and consequently a gradient of concentration of adsorbed ammonia. Because of the exothermic character of adsorption phenomena, this mass transfer aects the mechanism of heat transfer in the medium. For the modelization of heat and mass transfer in the reactive bed, the following assumptions have been adopted: The porous medium is treated as an equivalent medium: the three phases (solid (s), adsorbed phase (a) and gas (g)) are considered at an equivalent temperature T. Then, the conduction heat transfer in the medium can be characterized by an equivalent thermal conductivity (ke); pressure drop is neglected; heat transfer is supposed two-dimensional; resistance to mass transfer in micropores, macropores and interstitial spaces is neglected. For short cycle times (cycle with high power density), The resistance to mass diusion has a signicant eect on the distribution of concentration of adsorbed ammonia, then when the refrigerant is a slow diusing adsorbate, the application of the equilibrium model (without mass transfer limitations) will result in an overestimation of the performance of the machine. On the other hand, for long cycle times, as the case of solar refrigeration cycle (cycle with low power density), this limitation of mass transfer can be ignored, because the intraparticle mass transfer is assumed to be suciently rapid so that no concentration gradient exists in adsorbent particles [8]. The gaseous and solid phases are thermodynamically in equilibrium. The adsorbed amount is simply related to the gas pressure and the adsorbent temperature. The model of heat and mass transfer in the reactive bed is obtained by application of energy and mass conservation laws. 5. Energy conservation To obtain the heat transfer equation in the reactive medium, we use the rst thermodynamic principle applied from the control volume V (Fig. 2). Z Z Z Z Z Z Z du ~ d~ ~ s _ dV ke rT s hmd~ 3 V dt S S where u is the internal energy, h the enthalpy of the gas, T ~ _ the temperature, m the mass ow of the gas and S is the contour surface of the control volume V.

~ _ If ~ is the velocity of the gas we have: m q~ Then by v v. using the divergence theorem, Eq. (3) becomes: du ke DT hdivq~ q~rh v v~ dt 4

The internal energy u may be expressed as a function of internal energy of solid, adsorbent and gaseous phases: u 1 eqs us e aqg ug aqa ua 5

where qi is the density of the phase i (i = s, g, a), a the volume fraction of the adsorbed phase, e the porosity of the activated carbon, ma the adsorbed mass (kg/kg carbon) and DHads the heat of sorption (kJ/kg). Hysteresis phenomena caused by the capillary condensation during the adsorption/desorption process is negligible. Therefore in this study, if DHads is the heat of sorption (kJ/ kg), we assume that the relation hg(T) = ha(T) + DHads is veried at all time. 6. Mass conservation The dierence between the gaseous mass entering in a control volume and the gaseous mass outgoing, is equal to the mass in gaseous or adsorbed form accumulated in the same control volume. The mass conservation can be expressed as o ~ _ e aqg aqa div m 0 ot 7. General heat and mass transfer equation By using the relations du = c dT and hg = ug + p/qg, combination of Eqs. (4)(6) yields after simplications:
1

qs cs 1 e e aqg cg aqa ca
4 3

oT ~~ _ cg mrT ot
5 6

o p oma p oma ke DT e aqg qapp DH ads qapp ot qg ot qa ot 7 where ci is the specic heat of the phase i (i = a, g, s), qapp the adsorbent apparent volume mass, ke the equivalent thermal conductivity of the medium and D is the Laplace operator. The six terms of Eq. (7) represents, respectively: (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) gas, adsorbate and solid heating; energy transmitted by convection; energy transmitted by conduction; gas elastic energy; adsorbate elastic energy; adsorption energy.

For simplifying the model, the convective term (2) can be neglected while comparing with the term due to the heat

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pipe eect (6). This scan be justied as follows: If we consider for example an elementary in one-dimensional case an elementary control volume DV = Dx Dy Dz where ~ ~ _ m is parallel to rT . In this control volume the terms (2) _ Dx and (6) can be written, respectively: cg m DT Dx Dy Dz and _ DH ads qapp oma Dx Dy Dz. The mass ow m crossing the section ot S = Dy Dz is always of the same order of magnitude than that of the variation of adsorbed mass qapp oma Dx Dy Dz in ot this control volume. DH ads qapp oma Dx Dy Dz. ot Therefore, for comparing between the term (2) and the term (6), it is enough to compare cgDT and the isosteric heat of adsorption DHads. If we suppose that the variation of temperature in the control volume is of order DT = 2 C (as a maximum value)[13], the isosteric heat of adsorption is of order 1600 kJ/kg, it is noted that DHads P cgDT. Therefore, the term of convection can be ignored in the calculation. The heat transfer on the metal (wall and ns) is expressed by the equation: qm cm oT m km DT m ot 8

where 1/hw is the contact thermal resistance between metal and the porous medium. 2. When r = R1 we have: oT 0. or 9. The mathematical modelization of a at-plate collector The mathematical model describing the properties of a at-plate collector sketched in Fig. 1 has to be as simple as possible. On the other hand, no essential properties of the collector should be neglected beforehand. A reasonable compromise between the two opposite requirements is found by a two-node model representing the absorbent surface and the solid adsorbent, the heat losses through the insulation is ignored. Applying heat balances in a suitable way, the following dierential equation can be derived. oT 2 km ap Gt H cv T am T lrT 4 T 4 am or rR2 p 9 where G(t) is the solar global irradiance (w/m2), ap and l are the absorption coecient and the emissivity of the absorbent surface, the StefanBoltzman constant and Hcv the convection heat transfer coecient between the collector and the ambiance supposed at temperature Tam. 10. Resolution The resolution of Eqs. (7) and (8), taking into account the initial and the boundary conditions is carried out by means of the implicit nite dierence method. 11. Validation of the model The validity of the model has been tested with a cylindrical reactor constructed for this purpose (Fig. 3). This reactor consists of a double stainless steel envelope heated by

where Tm is metal temperature, qm, cm, and km are the density, the specic heat and the conductivity of the metal. 8. Boundary conditions Eqs. (7) and (8) are completed by the following boundary conditions: 1. Continuity of heat ux at the interface between the porous medium and metal: If T1 and T2 are, respectively, the temperatures of the metal and the porous medium at the interface, we have: hw T 2 T 1 ke rT 1 hw T 1 T 2 km rT 2 (at the interface on the porous medium) (at the interface on the metal)

Oil out Heat exchanger

Tubular reactor

53 mm

Solid adsorbent 25 cm

Oil in

Fig. 3. Sketch of the experimental cylindrical reactor.

A. Al Mers et al. / Applied Thermal Engineering 26 (2006) 18661875 Table 1 Respective thermocouples positions in the cylinder Ti ri (cm) zi (cm) T1 1 18 T2 1.5 12 T3 2.65 12

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thermal oil emanating from a thermostat. The temperature thermostat is ranged between 20 and 250 C. The reactor contains 274 g of the activated carbon in a volume of 548 cm3. Six thermocouples were installed in the adsorber along the axial and radial directions to measure the temperature in dierent positions. This experimental reactor is not equipped with ns. Then the heat transfer is only considered in radial direction. By using this experimental device, the model is tested only in one-dimensional case. The reactor is heated at isosteric phase (closed reactor). By using the measured temperature of the internal wall of the reactor as boundary condition in our model, the numerical resolution allows to obtain the computed temperatures Ti at positions ri of thermocouples numbers 1, 2 and 3 (Table 1). The coecients ke and hw used here was evaluated in the previous work by Aghbalou et al. [17] (ke = 0.32 W/m C, hw = 33.65 W/m2 C). We have compared the experimental results and the computed ones (Fig. 4), the relative deviation between experience and model obtained is less than 1.5%. Then the validity of the model in one dimensional case is proven. For testing the two-dimensional case of heat and mass transfer (nned reactor) we have used the experimental results mentioned in Ref. [12]. The experimental device rep-

Fig. 5. Sketch of experimental nned reactor using activated carbon methanol pair [12]: Ti represents the positions of thermocouples; T1T4 = 5 mm, T1T6 = 45 mm.

resents a rectangular reactor using activated carbonmethanol pair (Fig. 5). The reactor is heated, respectively, at isosteric phase (closed reactor) and at constant pressure with P = 120 mbars (open reactor or desorption phase). The model is adopted easily to the geometry of this reactor. The wall temperature T1 is used as boundary condition in our model. The results are presented in Fig. 6. A good agreement between experiments and computed results is obtained. 12. The optimal design of the cylindrical nned reactor Physically, the existence of an optimal design of the reactor is explained by the existence of a compromise between the various terms of the heat balance on the reactor, these terms are: sensible heat (of metal, carbon and refrigerant), heat losses of the rector towards environment

75 70 65 60 55 T (C) 50 45 40 35 30 25 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 time (min) 40 45 50 55 60

wall temperature

T3 T2 T1

model (temperature at position Ti)

experience (thermocouple T1)


experience (thermocouple T2) experience (thermocouple T3)

Fig. 4. Comparison between experience and model: case of cylindrical adsorber without ns using activated carbon/ammonia pair.

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closed reactor phase open reactor phase 140

80
120 computed temperature

70

T4 experience T6 experience

wall temperature
100

60

Computed pressure measured pressure

50

80

P (mbar)

T (C)

Pressure
60

40

30
40

20
20

10

0 0.0

12.5

25.0

37.5

50.0

62.5

75.0

87.5

100.0

112.5

times (min)
Fig. 6. Comparison between experience and model: case of rectangular nned reactor using activated carbon/methanol pair: ke = 0.20 W/m C, hw = 16 W/m2 C [12].

and the energy of phase change (gaseous phase M adsorbed phase). These dierent quantities depend on the geometrical conguration of the reactor, characterized by the following parameters: number of ns (Nf), n thickness (ef) and the tube radius (R2) (Fig. 1). The procedure of optimization consists in seeking the geometrical conguration of the reactor, which carries out the extremum of an optimality criterion. So the problem consists in nding the optimal triplet (N 0 ; e0 ; R0 , making as possible to better an aim. f 2 ai Here, the solar coecient of performance (COPs) can be used as an optimization criterion. In our simulation, we use the solar data measured in Tetouan (Morocco) for a clear type day of July 1991, the total solar energy during the day is about 26,000 kJ/m2. The solar collector studied is normal simple-glazed. The dierent parameters used in our simulation are summarized in Table 2. By using the solar data, the model computes the
Table 2 Dierent parameters used in the simulation procedure G Hcv ap ke hw DHads Te Tc T0 Tam Global irradiance of the solar ux Heat losses coecient of the solar reactor Absorption coecient of the solar collector Equivalent conductivity of the adsorbent Heat transfer coecient between the metal and the adsorbent Latent heat of adsorption Evaporating temperature Condensing temperature initial temperature Ambient temperature 26,000 kJ/m2/day 4 W/m2 K 0.8 0.32 W/m K 33.65 W/m2 K 1600 kJ/kg 273 K 300 K 298 K 300 K

desorbed mass at the condenser. The COPs is dened as the ratio of the necessary heat to evaporate the desorbed mass over the overall solar irradiation. To be able to highlight, in a clear way, the sensitivity of the machine performances versus the geometrical parameters of the reactor, we present the isovalues of COPs on the diagram (efR2) (Figs. 79). The analysis of these diagrams makes it possible to note that:

Fig. 7. Isovalues of solar COP on the diagram (radius tub, ns thickness): case of reactor with three ns.

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Fig. 8. Isovalues of solar COP on the diagram (radius tub, ns thickness): case of a reactor with ve ns.

Fig. 9. Isovalues of solar COP on the diagram (radius tub, ns thickness): case of a reactor with eight ns.

Exists an optimal design of the reactor. For a given number of ns the optimum obtained is single. This can facilitate the choice of the optimization algorithm. When the number of ns increases, the optimum moves towards the area where the ns thickness is lower and the tube radius is larger. However, the increase of the optimal radius becomes increasingly delicate when the number of ns increases. The performances of the machine are less sensitive to the variation of the ns thickness. Indeed, when the n thickness varies, there is compensation of two opposites eects which are: the sensible heat, and the quantity of energy transmitted through the ns; these two quantity increase at the same time when the ns thickness increases. The optimal thickness is that which carries out the compromise between these two eects.

13. Evaluation of optimal dimensions of the reactor For each number of ns, the optimum must verify the equation: dCOPse0 ; R0 f 2 oCOPs 0 0 ef ; R2 def oef oCOPs 0 0 ef ; R2 dR2 0 oR2

10

we obtain: oCOPs 0 0 ef ; R2 0 and oef oCOPs 0 0 ef ; R2 0 oR2

Here, the COPs is not given by simple and explicit expression, the introduction of approximation and discretization

Initialisation of ef and R2

Nf = 1,., Nf max

News values of e f and R2

Calculation of the cycle and the COPs

No

Maximization of COPs ? Yes Nf = Nfmax ? Yes END No

Fig. 10. Flow chart for the optimization process.

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70

12

Optimal Dimensions: Fin Thickness and Tube Radius (mm)

60

11

50
Tube radius

10
COPs x 100

40

Fin thickness x 10 COPs

30

20

10 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Number of fins

Fig. 11. Optimal dimensions (ns thickness, tube radius) and the corresponding COPs versus the ns number.

methods is necessary. The principal steps of the optimization procedure are summarized in Fig. 10. 14. Results and discussion Fig. 11 presents, according to the number of ns, a maximum COPs and the corresponding optimal geometrical parameters (ef, R2). These results correspond to the same conditions summarized in Table 2. We thus note the increase of a maximum COPs when the number of ns increases. However, it seems that the passage from a reactor without ns to a reactor with 56 ns presents a very signicant increasing in the performances: the COPs increases from 0.072 for a reactor without ns to 0.105 for a reactor with six ns, this corresponds to a prot of more than 45%. The same gure highlights an asymptote for the optimal radius and for the maximal COPs, which correspond to the maximum performances that can be obtained by this type of reactor (COPs = 0.112). This result is very interesting, because it shows that only the variation of low number of ns (from 1 to 6) modies notably the performances of the machine, and that from a certain value, the modication of the ns number in the reactor does not have any more consequence on the performances of the machine.

The analysis of dierent terms of energy balances on the reactor (sensible heat, losses towards the external medium, latent heat of phase change) shows that the increase of the ns number implies the decreasing of the heat losses towards environment and then the increasing of heat transfer inside the reactor. On the other hand, the calculation shows that the heat losses towards environment are most dominant: for an adsorber without ns, they represent approximately 61% of incident energy in the heating phase, and 54% for an adsorber with 10 ns. However, the greatest part of energy absorbed by the collector is used only to increase the temperature of the reactor (sensible heat): for an adsorber with ve ns, the sensible heat represents approximately 61% of energy absorbed by the reactor. 15. Conclusion A model giving the thermodynamic performances of a cylindrical nned reactor of adsorption refrigerator using activated carbonammonia pair was established. The model has been validated by using experimental results. We have study the sensitivity of the machine performances versus the geometrical conguration of the reactor. So the model is applied to optimize the cylindrical nned reactor. The optimization results are resumed in the following table:

Fins number Fins thickness (mm) Tube radius (mm) COPs (%)

0 42.5 7.21

1 2.25 48.0 8.07

2 2.11 52.0 8.87

3 1.98 56.0 9.48

4 1.84 59.0 9.97

5 1.75 61.1 10.3

6 1.67 62.6 10.6

7 1.57 63.0 10.9

8 1.50 63.5 11.1

9 1.40 64.4 11.2

10 1.30 64.8 11.2

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This results demonstrates that for an optimized reactor, the rising of the ns number permits to reduce signicantly the heat losses of the reactor towards the ambiance. Therefore, The optimization results show that the use of an optimized reactor, when the number of ns varies between 5 and 6 permits to amplify the solar COP of the machine of about 45%. References

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[10]

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