The grid is strained during the summer when air conditioners are turned on and electricity demand soars. More effective cooling alternatives will be crucial in reducing the rise in cooling-related energy consumption in a warmer future. This will be especially true for the almost 80% of the world’s population who reside in regions around the equator, where even little temperature changes could pose a serious threat to human life.
More effective cooling systems are possible with development and assistance from industry, according to new study from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) . The invited research study was published in the Accounts of Chemical Research journal.
This is fundamental science at the moment. However, according to Radha Motkuri , PNNL chemical engineer and corresponding author, this might completely alter the industrial landscape.
The cool chemistry Adsorption cooling was one strategy that Motkuri and the research group looked at because it might result in large energy savings. Small amounts of waste heat from a building or industrial facility can be used by these systems to power the reactions between a vapor refrigerant and a solid substance.
According to Motkuri, once we plug in the power for the first time, that’s it. The system then continues to cycle through adsorption, desorption, adsorption, and desorption while using very little electricity.
This stands in stark contrast to traditional cooling systems, which rely on a compressor and demand ongoing energy inputs.
Understanding the intricate chemistry between the system’s vapor refrigerant, referred to as the guest, and solid absorbent material, referred to as the host, is necessary when tuning an adsorption cooling system to obtain the best cooling capacity and energy efficiency. In order to understand how these small adjustments affect the overall system, Motkuri and his team adjusted the pore geometry of the solid sorbent, the speed of chemical interactions , and even the impact of tiny defects in the solid substance. Recently, the team received an invitation to combine their efforts into an effective ensemble that can aid cooling sector innovators in their efforts to meet consumer demand for more energy-efficient solutions.
According to Pete McGrail , a Laboratory fellow and chemical engineer who oversaw PNNL’s adsorption cooling effort for several years, refrigerant-based adsorption cooling resolves the significant cost, efficiency, and reliability issues that have hindered the adoption of current water-based adsorption cooling systems in commercial and residential buildings. The years of research into innovative sorbent-refrigerant pairings that considerably improved adsorption cooling technology are summarized in this journal paper.
ECOLOGICALLY AWARENESS COMPONENTS A push is being made for cooling systems with smaller environmental footprints since cooling-related energy demands are projected to increase to triple by 2050 on a worldwide scale. Along with more energy-efficient systems, this also entails updating refrigerant standards.
In the upcoming years, commonly used hydrofluorocarbon refrigerants will gradually be replaced by more environmentally friendly hydrofluoro-olefins (HFOs). HFO emissions contain substantially less relative heat in the atmosphere than do emissions of hydrofluorocarbon refrigerants because HFOs have a global warming potential close to zero.
Motkuri and his associates did their experiment using the easily accessible, reasonably priced hydrofluorocarbon refrigerant, R-134a, in light of this change. This hydrofluorocarbon refrigerant has a high potential for global warming but behaves chemically similarly to HFOs, making it a good substitute for researching the molecular interactions of future adsorption cooling systems that will use HFOs. The next development in environmentally friendly cooling systems is the incorporation of HFOs in upcoming adsorption cooling studies, say the researchers.
PNNL researchers Peter McGrail, Radha Motkuri, Jian Zheng, and Dushyant Barpaga contributed to the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) 0 in Accounts of Chemical Research. The U.S. Military Sealift Command, the Department of Energy Geothermal Technologies Office, and PNNL’s Laboratory Directed Research and Development program all provided funding for this work.
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) 1 and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) 2
Related Article: Groundbreaking Refrigerant Research Results In Significant Carbon Footprint Reduction
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