March 14, 2017

VTT helps create emission-free solar power chiller

Solar collectors on the Savo-Solar office roof cool down the building.
Solar collectors on the Savo-Solar office roof cool down the building.
VTT/Kari Sipilä

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has developed a 10 kW solar-powered chiller as part of a research project together with German company ZAE Bayern, which was successfully piloted at the head office of Finnish project sponsor Savo-Solar.

The absorption chiller works in the same manner as gas refrigerators common in Finnish holiday cabins, with the exception being that solar thermal collectors are used instead of gas as the source of energy.

The chiller can also be used as a heating pump if necessary, although it would have to be at least 50 kW in order to be commercially viable, the research found.

Finnish company Savo-Solar was involved in both the planning phase and practical testing of the pilot system, with the chiller successfully cooling down the Savo-Solar head office over the summer.

The flow pumps are the only components of the chiller that require any electricity, and Savo-Solar and ZAE Bayern now look to develop a commercial cooling product that requires no electricity at all.

The project titled ‘Solar heating and cooling in Northern and Central Europe’, commenced in October 2013 and ended at the turn of the year. It was funded by Savo-Solar, the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation Tekes and the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi).

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