Let’s Cool Down to Power Up!

Sustainability Problem: Energy

According to the EIA, the world will see a 48% increase in energy consumption by 2040!  Our reliance on fossil fuels must be mitigated by introducing different and cleaner for of energy.  Even though, the growth rate is higher among renewables, most of the energy market share (3 quarters) is still compromised of dirty energy.  We must take advantage of all sound forms of renewable energy to reduce our GHG footprint and ensure a more promising & stable future.

Sustainability Technology: Be Cool Air-conditioning Unit That Generates Electricity

Be Power Tech, a start-up company in Florida, has developed a unique piece of technology which not only does the job of a traditional air-conditioner, but also doubles as an electricity generator.  It runs on natural gas which helps reduce reliance on the centralized power grid especially during peak usage.  And to boot, it can also be used as a heating unit eliminating the need for a boiler.

This air-conditioning system eliminates the use of a conventional compressor and instead opts for an “innovative desiccant-enhanced evaporative cooler”.  Which means that the system uses water evaporation and not a refrigerant to achieve colder temperatures within buildings.  The hot dry air is cooled by the water and returned as cold and humid air.

Of course, since evaporative cooling requires that the outside air be hot and dry, areas with high humidity are effectively ruled out as potential markets.  To avoid this drawback, the system uses a desiccant (a substance that induces or sustains dryness) to suck water out of the air before it begins its cooling process.

Next step is removal of the water to dry out the desiccant. This is accomplished by taking the waste heat generated by a natural gas fuel cell which evaporates the water and in doing so it strips electrons from the hydrocarbon gas converting them into electricity.  What can’t be converted, is expelled as heat; however, the technology converts 50% of the incoming chemical energy into electricity which can be used to power the building.

Because this technology is easy to install, building owners are likely be more open to its adoption.  Less energy usage, lower costs for natural gas, and leveraging the electricity benefits from this technology are huge monetary and high efficiency initiatives for building owners.

“EIA projects 48% increase in world energy consumption by 2040.”. EIA – Today in Energy, 5/12/2016, https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=26212
“The Air Conditioner That Makes Electricity”, Scientific American, 7/19/2016   https://archive.epa.gov/epawaste/nonhaz/municipal/web/html/

Stakeholders:

  • Building Owners looking for cost-effective solutions as energy prices increase
  • Cities wanting to meet their low-energy goals
  • Individual consumers who are environmentally and financially conscious of their household energy consumption

Technology Implementation & Distribution:

Reach out to building owners to not only demonstrate the technology, but also provide an ROI which further depicts the cost benefit of installing and running this system versus the traditional one.

Engage with city officials to showcase the potential for this innovation on both an environmental and financial scale.  Additionally, seek their support to push out this product to building owners within the city boundaries.

Ensure that the company can meet implementation demands in a seamless fashion and keep up communication with clients.  Feedback communication is imperative especially when involving the implementation of electrical energy from a secondary source.

By: Bhoomi Shah, UNI: brs2147

 

Comment on “A Building Itself Can Be a Power Plant by Waste Generated Tech” by LY242

Exquisite idea, as I’m in love with any closed-loop system.  On a more practical viewpoint, a significant amount of energy, transportation, and costs are saved when waste is taken care of at site.  Cities like NY, which are looking to meet their 2030 green goals are likely to bite at this theoretically efficient technology.

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