If Glenn really wanted a solar-powered air conditioner

We should borrow recreational vehicle technology. I grasp the concept of the latent heat of vaporization, though this article on propane-powered RV refrigerators is a bit harder to follow.

What could be so difficult about scaling this hardware up to a size that could air-condition a house? The difficult part is radiating away the heat after the hardware is done with it. That task would be enhanced with a leetle photovoltaic power to drive a fan over the radiator.

Such a system would be about as obtrusive and unsightly as existing A/C units, if the solar collector and radiator can be hidden in roofing and chimneys. This is where engineers earn their pay. There would be greater difficulty selling these units past the esthetics prudes of homeowners' associations, than getting the equipment to work.

It's not as if we'd be dealing with dangerous or exotic materials: ammonia and water and a bit of hydrogen. The hydrogen would have to be replaced periodically, but that's easier, at the scales of the service technician and of the national economy, than powering automobiles with hydrogen.

Durability? Remember, the existing units are mounted on moving vehicles, getting vibrated and going through temperature and humidity cycles. It should be cake to build a unit like this suitable for home use in a climate with a lot of direct sunlight, like Colorado or Wyoming. Then it has the added Gaia-closed-cycle-ness of making more cold air when more is needed. Let's not burn propane to do this.

The domestic water heater can probably be integrated into this equipment too. Waste heat, remember?


Macky said...

wow..this will rock! a pure energy saver..thanks for sharing!

Akatsukami said...

Ammonia is dangerous; there's a reason why it was eighty-sixed in favor of CFCs as a working fluid in refrigeration units.

Is it too dangerous to use? Of course not; there were all those refrigeration units that used it as a working fluid before CFCs were invented. But don't deceive yourself into thinking that the clueless and the controlling won't scream for it to be outlawed the first time someone dies from breathing it.