In this paper, a heat driven cooling system that essentially integrated an organic Rankine cycle power plant with a vapour compression cycle refrigerator was investigated, aiming to provide an alternative to absorption refrigeration systems. The organic Rankine cycle (ORC) subsystem recovered energy from the exhaust gases of internal combustion engines to produce mechanical power. Through a transmission unit, the produced mechanical power was directly used to drive the compressor of the vapour compression cycle system to produce a refrigeration effect. Unlike the bulky vapour absorption cooling system, both the ORC power plant and vapour compression refrigerator could be scaled down to a few kilowatts, opening the possibility for developing a small-scale waste heat-driven cooling system that can be widely applied for waste heat recovery from large internal combustion engines of refrigerated ships, lorries, and trains. In this paper, a model was firstly established to simulate the proposed concept, on the basis of which it was optimized to identify the optimum operation condition. The results showed that the proposed concept is very promising for the development of heat-driven cooling systems for recovering waste heat from internal combustion engines’ exhaust gas.
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