Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Solar Takes on Big Oil in a Big Way - Science

The biggest problem with cooling driven by solar power is the electricity usually goes to run a standard air conditioning unit with a compressor and its huge power needs.  The researchers for solar have now invented a chiller which integrates solar power and uses almost no electricity.  Insofar as air conditioning of any kind is one of the biggest applications for oil-fueled power, this is an exceptional advance.  (Science Daily:  Environmentally friendly, almost electricity-free solar cooling)

It may amuse you to know the research comes from Finland where they probably don't even use air conditioners.

Demand and the need for cooling are growing as the effects of climate change intensify. VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and German company ZAE Bayern have built an emission-free, solar-powered chiller; a pilot system has been tested in Finland and Germany. The potential market is world-wide, particularly in warm countries.

- SD

It's good to see our friends in Bavaria are engaged with this as well.

VTT and German company ZAE Bayern have developed a solar-powered 10 kW chiller. This absorption chiller works in the same way as the gas refrigerators used in Finnish holiday cabins, for example. But in this case, a solar thermal collector is used instead of gas. The method requires electricity for the flow pumps only.  If necessary, the chiller can also serve as a heat pump.

The results of the project showed that -- to be used as a heating pump as well -- an economically viable and competitive, solar-powered absorption chiller would need to be 50 kW or bigger.

- SD

It seems they even have their sights on a full-bore air conditioner and that will get the oil people shaking.  Scaling from where they are now to that shouldn't be so much after how far they have come with solar already.

The chiller was tested as an air-conditioner for Savo-Solar's office during the summer and for heating it during the winter.  Solar collectors on the roof of the building were used to collect the required energy.  If the collectors did not produce enough energy during, say, the winter, or on a cloudy day, a heat pump served as a substitute energy source.  Other possible energy sources would be district heating, biofuel boilers or industrial process heat.

- SD

They're coming on strong for a real use as maybe you have seen some super-expensive devices for chilling cans of beer, etc and maybe that's interesting if you're a richie with not much sense.  However, the scope for the current research is much more than making trinkets for the rich and the ability to chill an office pushes out a major engagement as the energy supplier for it.

They didn't stop there.

Examples of large, megawatt-class absorption chillers based on district heating can already be found in Helsinki and Turku in Finland.

Another practical test was performed using an absorption chiller based on a bio-boiler in ZAE Bayern's laboratory in Munich, Germany. This system can also be supplemented with solar energy.

Learn more at: http://www.vtt.fi/inf/pdf/technology/2017/T287.pdf

- SD

California is actively considering just now the year when they believe they will be ready to cut away from oil-based solutions altogether.  Although Washington assiduously pushes oil, the people are taking research away from it and Washington can talk all it likes but no-one is listening anymore.

It's a fundamental tenet of Anthropology and likely Sociology as well that every advance in human society came on the heels of improved methods of generating power and that goes all the way back to discovering how to make fire.

Meanwhile, my solar-powered hula girl doesn't hula (sob).

Watson:  that's a static image, Dagwood.  Of course it doesn't move.

You may be missing the point this time, Watson.  She doesn't move or I would have used video.

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