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Greener Air Conditioning

August 12, 2010

A new air conditioning system may use up 90 percent less energy than current models.


Greener air conditioning…I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

A new air conditioning system may use 50 to 90 percent less electricity than today’s best models. It’s called DeVap, short for desiccant-enhanced evaporative air conditioner, and it’s being developed at the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Lab. Senior engineer Eric Kozubal says it uses an indirect form of evaporative cooling, which lowers the actual temperature of the circulated air.

ERIC KOZUBAL (National Renewable Energy Lab):
But as people know, in humid climates like Houston, you also have to dehumidify your space. And that is a form of cooling called latent cooling.

For that, they use a liquid desiccant that dries the air while it’s being cooled. Kozubal says that the idea of combining these forms of cooling isn’t new, but their prototype is the first with potential to be practical and cost-effective. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.