Willis Carrier developed air conditioning over 100 years ago. Since then, air conditioning has changed the way the world operates. The basic technology of the air conditioner has experienced very little alteration over the last century though. Scientists at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) however have announced a new cooling system that could eventually change the way we cool our homes and businesses.
The new “air conditioner” is called DEVap, short for Desiccant-Enhanced Evaporative. The new system is very efficient; the NREL’s report shows that in Houston, a DEVap air conditioner could save up to 40% on cooling costs compared to a standard air conditioner.
How DEVaps Work
DEVaps use two technologies to work. One is evaporative cooling, where evaporating water with a fan from a wet surface creates cool air. This system is combined with a desiccant (a substance that attracts and holds water molecules) to create dry air. The desiccants used–lithium chloride and calcium chloride–are aqueous, more advanced version of desiccants we’re familiar with. Silica packets, which are found in everything from shoeboxes to vitamins, are well known desiccants.
Why DEVaps Could Save Energy, and the Ozone
The use of evaporative and desiccant technologies combined allows this cooling system to sidestep the need of a condenser unit (the outdoor portion of your air conditioner) that uses the majority of an A/C’s electric draw. This means that, in some parts of the country, DEVap air conditioners could cut energy use by up to 75%. As an added bonus, DEVap contains no chlorofluorocarbons or hydrochlorofluorocarbons (CFCs and HCFCs), which have a bad reputation for harmful ozone depletion.
You can learn more about the CFCs in air conditioning’s refrigerants by reading our blog, EPA’s Warning Highlights the Importance of Working With A Professional HVAC Company.
Why Standard Air is Still King
While this new technology sounds exciting, it is years away from becoming a reality for average households. Currently, the NREL’s hope is to have a cost-effective model of the DEVap available for commercial use in three to five years. Adaptation of this air conditioner for home and small business use could take much longer.
At Richmond’s AC, we’re dedicated to keeping Houston and the surrounding areas of Kay, Bellaire and Spring stay cool with a wide array of options, even if they aren’t quite so high tech. From Energy Star air conditioners to ductless mini-splits, we’re here to help you find an cooling system that will keep your comfortable, fit your budget, and save you money.
Contact Houston’s best A/C repair and installation team today for sales, service, and emergency repairs.