There is often a need for both water desalination and cooling (refrigeration/air-conditioning). The cooling can be used to significantly raise system efficiency by compressor inlet cooling in a dual-purpose power-generation and desalination system using gas turbines, or simply to supply refrigeration or air conditioning beside fresh water. Motivated by the good synergetic potential of energy/exergy utilization through the combination of the LiBr-H2O refrigeration unit, LiBr-H2O heat pump, and low-temperature multi-effect evaporation desalter, two combined refrigeration and water systems, ARHP-MEE (Absorption Refrigeration Heat Pump and Multi-Effect Evaporation desalter) system and ARHP-AHP-MEE (Absorption Refrigeration Heat Pump + Absorption Heat Pump + Multi-Effect Evaporation desalter) system, driven by low-grade heat were configured, modeled and analyzed in detail in the paper. Typically, driving steam with saturation pressure of 0.15–0.35 MPa and correspondingly saturation temperature of 111.4–138.9°C is applicable to run the systems. The main results are: (1) the combined systems have good synergy, with an energy saving rate of 42% in a case study of ARHP-MEE; (2) the refrigeration-heat cogenerated ARHP subsystem is the main reason for the synergy, where the coefficient of performance is around 1.6 and exergy efficiency above 60% when driven by 0.25 MPa saturated steam; (3) at the cost of a more complex configuration, the ARHP-AHP-MEE system has the ability of varying its outputs in very wide range, offering good flexibility on design and operation; (4) the ARHP-MEE system is predicted to have good economics, and its outputs can be varied in a wide range but not independently because their ratio remains almost constant. A parametric analysis was also performed for the ARHP-MEE, further improving the understanding of the system performance.

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