A tech startup called “Be Power Tech” is developing a solution that could impact building owners with commercial AC units by offering better quality AC at a more affordable price.
The proposal: an AC unit that runs on natural gas and produces electricity that supplies energy to your building.
It’s no secret that keeping commercial buildings cool is an expensive endeavor, so an AC that runs on affordable natural gas AND produces electricity would be a very marketable product for commercial building owners.
How Can Energy Efficient AC Create Electricity?
The work of Be Power Tech is particularly astonishing in how it combines modern technology and reuses the chemical energy within an HVAC unit. Here’s how it works:
Conventional AC units cool buildings by compressing liquid refrigerant and evaporating it into an AC system. Most of your AC electricity costs come from this process, which occurs in the large compressors you hear outside your home or office.
Be Power Tech’s AC unit foregoes using liquid refrigerant and instead creates cool air by evaporating water that is absorbed from hot air inside the building. Evaporative cooling is not a new technology, but combining evaporative cooling technology with a desiccant (a drying agent that removes moisture) is. Before, evaporative cooling units could only be used in areas with low humidity. But by combining evaporative cooling with a desiccant, regions that experience high humidity can now harness the power of HVAC units that use this energy saving process.
So how does it produce electricity? Be Power Tech’s natural gas fuel cell creates enough electricity to power the energy efficient HVAC system and provide extra power to other parts of your building. During the process of creating electricity from natural gas, two byproducts are created: electricity and heat. Even the heat is used to help run the system.
When using a desiccant, to maintain moisture levels in the air you need to get rid of the excess water. The heat from Be Power Tech’s natural gas fuel cell is used to dry out the moisture absorbed by the system’s desiccant. This allows the desiccant to be reused.
Energy Savings Today
Although Be Power Tech’s HVAC unit is not yet on the market, there are plenty of ways to increase energy savings in your building right now. Contact your local commercial HVAC contractors to get an assessment on how you can save more with your AC.
For more AC energy savings tips, check out our article: 5 Energy Upgrades That Can Save You Money.