Solar Thermal Cooling: When Will It Heat Up?
With the ever-increasing demand for airconditioners expected to rise dramatically in the next few years, solar thermal cooling could be a plausible, energy-smart solution.
That is if the market would catch on.
Approximately 500 solar cooling installations were completed lastyear — and that’s globally, with the majority being done in Europe. Aclear indication that while the idea has been around for some time, itis still very much a niche market in need of a significant boost. A work in progress, as the saying goes.
David Appleyard, associate editor for RenewableEnergy World International Magazine, recently looked at some of the major players who have designed and created "sorption chillers" with small and medium-scale cooling capacity.
A Few of The Players:
SorTech AG – manufactures and distributes adsorptionchillers for cooling and air-conditioning applications in the small and medium scale performance range up to 75 kW cooling capacity. Suitablefor air-conditioning and cooling of one- or multi-family houses as well as smaller commercial and office buildings, the machines use water asrefrigerant.
SolarNext AG – The firm offers its SolarNext chilliiTechnology and chillii System Controller for the optimized heatmanagement of modern heating systems as well as services such as themeasuring and evaluation of ab- and adsorption chiller systems of up to 105 kW of cooling capacity.
YazakiCorporation - Today, well over 100,000 of thecompany’s units are in operation worldwide, with more than 2000installations in the EU alone. The installations offer capacities from17.5 kW to up to 700 kW for such diverse projects as offices, hotels,hospitals and industrial facilities.
AILResearch Inc. – AIL’s solar specific SOA Series –the end product of a seven year, US$5 million initiative funded by the Department ofEnergy’s SBIR program and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory –uses patented low-flow technology and, in addition, requires loweractivation temperatures than absorption chillers or solid desiccantsystems, the company says.
With the technology available, the question then becomes, why isn’tit catching on? High costs? Problematic installations? Lack of a usefulacronym (STC doesn’t ring the same as AC does)? Perhaps all of theabove.
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