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Research overview

Low Energy Heating and Cooling

The Adsorption Cycle

Adsorption cycles are employed in heat pumps and refrigerators that are driven by heat (low grade energy) rather than work (higher grade energy, for example electricity).They are of interest in applications such as the provision of cooling from waste heat and solar air conditioning.

How it works

Gases may be adsorbed onto solid materials such as active carbons or zeolites in significant concentrations. This concentration increases with pressure and decreases with temperature. By alternately heating and cooling the solid a refrigerant gas can be driven out at high pressure and drawn back at low pressure. This heat driven operation replaces the compressor in a conventional system.


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Research issues

This research will find economic solutions to the heat and mass transfer problems in the solid adsorbent that limit performance. New configurations are being developed that improve thermal efficiency and widen the applications of adsorption systems. The ultimate aim of this research is to reduce the primary energy use and CO2 emissions associated with heating and cooling.


The research team at the University of Warwick is an international leader in adsorption cycles


The technology lends itself to the following specific research areas:

Heat pumping from fossil fuel combustion

Air conditioning from waste heat

Refrigeration from solar thermal energy

Refrigeration from waste heat and biomass combustion