Keeping cool – ‘Bumblebee’ at the Environment Week

Solar site in Jordan

Absorption-based cooling systems in Jordan; Photo: GIZ

An IKI project for absorption-based cooling systems in Jordan was selected by a jury for the Environment Week in Berlin. Over 600 applications were received to take part in the event. The top performers selected from the fields of environmental protection and nature conservation will present their projects on 7 and 8 June 2016 in the park of Bellevue Palace, the official residence of the German Federal President in Berlin.
Absorption-based cooling systems run on solar energy. Two of these innovative systems were installed in Jordan as part of the Jordanian-German project Industrial and Commercial Solar Cooling  and dubbed ‘Bumblebee’. One system is helping keep guest rooms cool in a hotel near the entrance to the Petra UNESCO World Heritage site, while another provides cooling for the German Jordanian University near the capital of Amman. Both systems use flat plate collectors to capture solar heat. A 160 kW absorption chiller provided by the Technische Universität Berlin produces cooled air when outside temperatures are high.

‘The energy-intensive market for cooling continues to grow worldwide,’ says Axel Ulmer from GIZ who heads the project in Jordan. ‘Refrigeration systems run on electricity, so their increased use results in higher power consumption and emissions. But in Jordan they are now using solar energy to provide building cooling that is climate neutral. CO2 emissions are reduced by how the energy is generated and through the use of natural refrigerants.’

Solar system BumblebeeLithium bromide and water are used as refrigerants at both project locations. In addition to cooling buildings in a climate-friendly manner, the systems can also be used as heat pumps. This not only saves on electricity costs for air conditioning but on heating costs in winter too.
The Technische Universität Berlin has refined the systems so that they now meet key requirements for broad-based application: The cooling process is initiated at temperatures of 55°C or higher, instead of 75°C as before. The compact construction and extensive improvements to streamline the system technology have saved 40 per cent in materials. The resulting efficiency is near the theoretical maximum.
The Federal Environment Ministry (BMUB) is supporting the project through its International Climate Initiative (IKI) with EUR 3.7 million in funding. The project is being implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and the Jordanian Ministry of Environment.