Design, construction and testing of an air-cycle refrigeration system for road transport

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52 Citations (Scopus)


The environmental attractions of air-cycle refrigeration are considerable. Following a thermodynamic design analysis, an air-cycle demonstrator plant was constructed within the restricted physical envelope of an existing Thermo King SL200 trailer refrigeration unit. This unique plant operated satisfactorily, delivering sustainable cooling for refrigerated trailers using a completely natural and safe working fluid. The full load capacity of the air-cycle unit at -20 °C was 7,8 kW, 8% greater than the equivalent vapour-cycle unit, but the fuel consumption of the air-cycle plant was excessively high. However, at part load operation the disparity in fuel consumption dropped from approximately 200% to around 80%. The components used in the air-cycle demonstrator were not optimised and considerable potential exists for efficiency improvements, possibly to the point where the air-cycle system could rival the efficiency of the standard vapour-cycle system at part-load operation, which represents the biggest proportion of operating time for most units.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)503-510
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Refrigeration
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Mechanical Engineering


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