Coupling of engine exhaust and fuel cell exhaust with vapour absorption refrigeration/air conditioning systems for transport applications: a review

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Colleges, School and Institutes


Using the residual heat from the engine exhaust and of late from the fuel cell exhaust to drive a refrigeration or air conditioning unit on-board a vehicle has been the interest of many research groups worldwide. Umpteen number of modelling studies and a few prototypes have been built in this area. In this paper, an up to date review of the heat driven absorption refrigeration/ air conditioning systems specifically meant for transport applications is given. This is followed by a discussion on the major challenges involved in implementing such a technology for the transport sector, the ways in which such a technology can be developed further and why using heat driven refrigeration/air conditioning systems could be a game changer in the automotive industry. From the study carried out two things are apparent – there is currently no VARS unit that can readily be used on-board vehicles and linking VARS units with engine exhaust leads to drop in engine efficiency and thus overall vehicle performance. Fuel cells (SOFCs in particular), if used as APUs can reduce the load on the engine and also supply a constant heat load to the VARS and thus be more effective.


Original languageEnglish
Article number100550
Number of pages19
JournalThermal Science and Engineering Progress
Early online date18 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2020


  • Residual heat, Fuel cells, Absorption refrigeration, refrigerated trucks

ASJC Scopus subject areas