Solar Thermal Air Conditioning systems rely on one of the basic laws of physics – if you heat a gas, it will want to expand.
All air conditioning systems use a closed loop cycle for the refrigerant (gas). The compressor (within the condenser) is typically used to pressurise the refrigerant to allow the process to take place. Alternatively, an external heat source (such as a flat plate collector) may be used to capture ambient temperature and impart the heat in to the refrigerant, thus creating pressure within a closed loop of refrigerant. The more heat the refrigerant is exposed to, the less work that the compressor must do to allow the process to occur and therefore more energy efficient.
With this in mind, the Solar Thermal air conditioning system has a flat plate collector installed adjacent to the condenser, which is used to capture heat and impart it in to the refrigerant prior to it passing in to the compressor. To optimise efficiency, the flat plate collector has heat conducting inner coils inside it and a header tank (full of water). Once the refrigerant passes through the flat plate collector, it enters the compressor and the final pressurisation of the system occurs. This process facilitates energy savings of up to 30 – 50%.
Once the room achieves the desired temperature, the condenser will turn off. The refrigerant will continue to cycle until the room temperature deviates too much from the desired temperature. During this process, gradually pressure within the circulating refrigerant will decrease and therefore reduce the ability for the system to maintain the desired temperature. When the pressure drops too low, the compressor will turn back on and appropriately re-pressurise the refrigerant. Contrary to this, due to the flat plate collector within the ICE Solair system, the refrigerant continues to be pressurised from the heat being imparted in to it and therefore the compressor will remain off considerably longer.
The compressor and solar thermal collector are synergistically paired such that the system can operate with a smaller compressor relative to a comparable sized inverter system. As such, the ICE Solair systems consume collectively much less electricity and, in tandem with the solar collector cycle, Solar Thermal air conditioners optimise energy savings and reduce running costs.
We are about to announce a partnership with an Australian supplier for Solar Thermal Air Conditioners.
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