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Solar Air Conditioning

Solar Air Conditioning

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Published by: Colorado Native Plant Society on Apr 08, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Solar air conditioning
refers to anyair conditioning(cooling) system that usessolar power . This can be done throughpassive solar ,solar thermal energyconversion andphotovoltaicconversion (sun to electricity). The U.S.Energy Independence and Security Actof 2007
created 2008 through2012 funding for a new solar air conditioning research and development program, which shoulddevelop and demonstrate multiple new technology innovations andmass production economies of  scale. Solar air conditioning will play an increasing role inzero energyandenergy-plus buildings  design.
Solar A/C using desiccants
Air can be passed over common, solid desiccants (likesilica gelor zeolite) to draw moisture from the air to allow an efficient evaporative cooling cycle. The desiccant is then regenerated by usingsolar thermal energyto dry it out, in a cost-effective, low-energy-consumption, continuously repeating cycle.
Aphotovoltaicsystem can power a low-energy air circulation fan, and a motor to slowly rotate alarge disk filled with desiccant.Energy recovery ventilationsystems provide a controlled way of ventilating a home while minimizingenergy loss. Air is passed through an "enthalpy wheel" (often usingsilica gel) to reduce the cost of  heating ventilated air in the winter by transferring heat from the warm inside air being exhausted to thefresh (but cold) supply air. In the summer, the inside air cools the warmer incoming supply air toreduce ventilation cooling costs.
This low-energy fan-and-motor ventilation system can be cost-effectively powered byphotovoltaics, with enhanced naturalconvectionexhaust up asolar chimney- the downward incoming air flow would be forced convection (advection).A desiccant likecalcium chloridecan be mixed with water to create an attractive recirculating waterfall,that dehumidifies a room using solar thermal energy to regenerate the liquid, and a PV-powered low-rate water pump
The potential for near-future exploitation of this type of innovative solar-powered desiccant air conditioning technology is great.
Active solar cooling wherein solar thermal collectors provide input energy for a desiccant coolingsystem: A packed column air-liquid contactor has been studied in application to air dehumidificationand regeneration in solar air conditioning with liquiddesiccants. A theoretical model has beendeveloped to predict the performance of the device under various operating conditions. Computer simulations based on the model are presented which indicate the practical range of air to liquid fluxratios and associated changes in air humidity and desiccant concentration. An experimental apparatushas been constructed and experiments performed with monoethylene glycol (MEG) and lithiumbromide as desiccants. MEG experiments have yielded inaccurate results and have pointed out somepractical problems associated with the use of glycols. LiBr experiments show very good agreementwith the theoretical model. Preheating of the air is shown to greatly enhance desiccant regeneration.The packed column yields good results as a dehumidifier/regenerator, provided pressure drop can bereduced with the use of suitable packing.
Passive solar cooling
Main articles:Passive coolingandPassive solar  In this type of cooling solar thermal energy is not used directly to create a cold environment or driveany direct cooling processes. Instead,solar building designaims at slowing the rate of heat transfer into a building in the summer, and improving the removal of unwanted heat. It involves a goodunderstanding of the mechanisms of heat transfer :heat conduction,convective heat transfer , and thermal radiation, the latter primarily from thesun. For example, a sign of poor thermal design is an attic that gets hotter in summer than the peak outsideair temperature. This can be significantly reduced or eliminated with acool roof or agreen roof , which can reduce the roof surface temperature by 70 °F (40 °C) in summer. Aradiant barrier and an air gapbelow the roof will block about 97% of downward radiation from roof cladding heated by the sun.Passive solar cooling is much easier to achieve in new construction than by adapting existing buildings.There are many design specifics involved in passive solar cooling. It is a primary element of designingazero energy buildingin a hot climate.
Solar Closed Loop Absorption & Adsorption Cooling
Main article:Absorption heat pumpThe following are common technologies in use for solar thermal closed loop air conditioning.
Absorption: NH3/H2O or Ammonia/Water 
Absorption: Water/Lithium Bromide
Absorption: Water/Lithium Chloride
Adsorption: Water/Silica Gel or Water/Zeolite
Adsorption: Methanol/Activated Carbon
Active solar cooling usessolar thermal collectorsto provide thermal energy to drive thermally drivenchillers (usually adsorption or absorption chillers).
TheSopogyconcentrating solar thermal collector,for example, provides solar thermal heat by concentrating the sun’s energy on a collection tube and
heating the recirculated heat transfer fluid within the system.
The generated heat is then used inconjunction with absorption chillers to provide a renewable source of industrial cooling.
There are multiple alternatives to compressor-based chillers that can reduce energy consumption, withlessnoiseandvibration.Solar thermal energycan be used to efficiently cool in the summer, and also heat domestic hot water and buildings in the winter. Single, double or triple iterative absorption coolingcycles are used in different solar-thermal-cooling system designs. The more cycles, the more efficientthey are.Efficient absorption chillers require water of at least 190 °F (88 °C). Common, inexpensive flat-platesolar thermal collectorsonly produce about 160 °F (71 °C) water. In large scale installations there areseveral projects successful both technical and economical in operation world wide including e.g. on theheadquarters of Caixa Geral de Depósitosin Lisbon with 1579m² solar collectors and 545 kW coolingpower or on the Olympic Sailing Village in Qingdao/China. In 2011 the most powerful plant atSingapore's new constructedUnited World Collegewill be commissioned (1500 kW).These projects have shown that flat plate solar collectors specially developed for temperatures over 200°F (featuring double glazing, increased backside insulation, etc.) can be effective and cost efficient.
Evacuated-tube solar panels can be used as well. Concentrating solar collectors required for absorptionchillers are less effective in hot humid, cloudy environments, especially where the overnight lowtemperature and relative humidity are uncomfortably high. Where water can be heated well above190 °F (88 °C), it can be stored and used when the sun is not shining.The Audubon Environmental Center in Los Angeles has an example solar air conditioning installation.
TheSouthern California GasCo. (The Gas Company), and its sister utility,San Diego Gas & Electric(SDG&E), are also testing the practicality of solar thermal cooling systems at their EnergyResource Center (ERC) in Downey, California. Solar Collectors fromSopogyandHelioDynamicswere installed on the rooftop at the ERC and are producing cooling for the building’s air conditioningsystem.
In the late 19th century, the most commonphase change refrigerantmaterial for absorption cooling was a solution of ammoniaand water. Today, the combination of lithiumandbromideis also in common use. One end of the system of expansion/condensation pipes is heated, and the other end gets coldenough to make ice. Originally, natural gas was used as a heat source in the late 19th century. Today,propaneis used in recreational vehicle absorption chiller refrigerators. Innovative hot water solar thermal energy collectors can also be used as the modern "free energy" heat source.For 150 years, absorption chillers have been used to make ice (before the electric light bulb wasinvented).
This ice can be stored and used as an "ice battery" for cooling when the sun is not shining,as it was in the 1995 Hotel New Otani in Tokyo Japan.
Mathematical models are available in thepublic domain for ice-based thermal energy storage performance calculations.
The ISAAC Solar Icemaker is an intermittent solar ammonia-water absorption cycle. The ISAAC usesaparabolic trough solar collector and a compact and efficient design to produce ice with no fuel or  electric input, and with no moving parts.
Makers include SOLID
for commercial installations andClimateWell,
 Fagor -Rotartica,Sopogy,SorTechandDaikinmostly for residential systems.

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