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Chementator: Using the sun to keep Australians cool

By Edited by Gerald Ondrey |

CSIRO Energy Technology (Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia; www.csiro.au) is developing a solar-powered air conditioning unit for residential use, using a desiccant-evaporative process to provide cool and dehumidified air. Thermally driven ab- or adsorption chillers are commonly used to provide cooling using heat, but these entail disadvantages: they are expensive, bulky, they produce chilled water instead of air, and they are not ideal for providing dehumidification under Australian summer ambient conditions. Stephen White, a member of the CSIRO team, says that using solar heating for cooling is a new and important research area for Australia. "It addresses a national challenge since air conditioning and space heating are responsible for around 18% of the annual residential greenhouse gas emissions in Australia. Replacing 10% of the existing air conditioners in Australia with a low-energy consumption, solar-powered system could result in CO2 emission reductions of up to 1 million ton/yr of CO2." The CSIRO team has tested the dehumidification performance of a desiccant wheel (300 mm dia.) made of an iron-alumino-phosphate zeolite with an AFI structure and traded under the name of FAM Z-01. Moisture removal capacity of…
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