Solar – Air Conditioning

Dr. Stephen White

Energy For Buildings Manager at CSIRO

About Speaker

Dr White has over 20 years research experience in energy end use efficiency and electricity industry demand side management. He is a world authority on solar air-conditioning. He also has extensive experience in the application of research to both government energy efficiency policy instruments and technology commercialization. He has won a number of prizes, and serves on a range of national and international expert advisory committees. Examples include:

  1. Chairman of the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC) Sustainable Housing Task Group.
  2. Advisory Board member for the International Journal of Refrigeration.
  3. Advisory Board member United Kingdom“Interdisciplinary Centre for Storage, Transformation and Upgrading of Thermal Energy” (i-STUTE).
  4. Associate Director and Fellow, Australian Institute of Refrigeration Air-conditioning and Heating.
  5. Member of the Expert Advisory Panel, Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).
  6. Member of NSW Climate Change Fund Ministerial Advisory Committee (2007-2009).
  7.  Member of the Expert Reference Group for the “National Building Energy Standard Setting, Assessment and Rating Framework”, 2010.

Talk Abstract

Dr. White introduced the topic of solar based air conditioning system explaining the functionality,advantages, disadvantages, economic and technological feasibility and competence with otherconventional cooling systems. Solar air conditioning can be approached in 2 ways either using the electricity generated by conventional solar PV cells and running the system or using the thermal energy from solar collectors and utilising the same in the cooling cycle. The electricity generated can also be used to only run a DC compressor integrated to the conventional vapour compression cooling system which is the most common cycle in air conditioners. Apart from them, the cooling cycles involving direct heat energy are single, double and multi effect adsorption chillers or desiccant cooling systems which have a demand of low to medium temperature heat that can be effectively produced by conventional solar collectors and hybrid PVT collectors. The system becomes more economical when it is clubbed along with solar hot water systems. The air-conditioning demand is highest during the daytime and gradually decreases during the evening which follows the heat energy availability from the sun thereby making solar based air conditioning system highly effective and feasible to it as a base load. They are indeed hybridised with auxiliary coolers and vapour compression cooling systems. Dr White and his team are extensively working on the desiccant based solar air-conditioning system, where they utilise solar heat of 60-80 0 C to effectively dehumidify the desiccant material and have shown promising simulation results in terms of functionality and economics. He concluded his talk explaining some of the drawbacks and challenges in the technology.

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