Using the sun to cool down those hot days

Driven by the long reaching goals of the Montreal Protocol, drafted in 1987 and since signed by 191 countries, technology continues to achieve success for the ozone reducing accord. The worldwide reduction of CFC pollution has slowed the destruction of the ozone layer. Improvements continue as we head towards target dates of 2030 (2020 for developed nations) to cease the use of HCFCs refrigerants commonly used in the air-conditioning industry.

Scientists from the Universidad Carlos III of Madrid (UC3M) and the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) have harnessed the power of the sun and developed a new air conditioner capable of cooling, without the use of HCFCs.

The environmentally friendly air conditioner uses solar and residual heat to provide the driving force needed to cool water down to comfortable temperatures. Then by using a water-to-air heat exchanger, the air conditioner can cool rooms up to sizes of 120 cubic meters.

Typical residential units utilize a compression technology to produce the necessary cooled water. By using a lithium bromide solution, the team found they could adapt absorption chilling technology for home use. Previously, cost restraints held back the development beyond large industrial uses which have plenty of waste heat to power the units.