Recovery Act - Efficient Solar Power Air Conditioning Using a High-Efficiency Absorption Cycle and Novel Mid-Temperature Solar Collector

Period of Performance: 01/01/2010 - 12/31/2010


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Rocky Research
1598 Foothill Dr
Boulder City, NV 89006
Principal Investigator
Firm POC


The proposed project is for the development of a low cost, high efficiency solar cooling system. The system makes use of novel low cost mid temperature solar collectors in conjunction with a unique solar driven continuously variable speed absorption chiller to provide cost effective air conditioning. The approach used in this effort is to prove the potential viability of critical components and control strategies for the operation of the solar driven chiller via design, fabrication and testing under Phase I of the project. Under Phase II, a full scale integrated system will be developed and tested. This development will address issues of design, component manufacturing, controls integration and performance optimization as well as economic viability. Under Phase I, the design, fabrication and testing of two different viable solar generator components for the chiller with co-firing capabilities was successfully completed. A novel low cost parabolic solar collector for medium temperature operation with tracking capability was developed and tested. Preliminary control strategies for the system were identified. An economic evaluation of the system was performed that showed attractive return on investment potential for the system in two locations studied. Under Phase II, the solar generator will be integrated into an air cooled continuously variable speed chiller with controls modified to include solar cooling and co-firing options. This chiller will undergo detailed performance testing. A full scale solar collector bank will be assembled and the chiller will be tested in conjunction with the solar collectors and an integrated control system. System costs will be detailed and system tests will be conducted over a period sufficient to determine economic viability. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: The proposed system will be suitable for commercial, light commercial and residential air conditioning applications providing reduced energy costs and excellent return on investment. Peak power demand reduction will benefit commercial users and utilities. Reductions in the combustion of fossil fuels, saving of fuel resources and decreased CO2 generation will accrue. Good, high paying jobs for assembly, installation, marketing and sales of the product will be generated.