MIT scientists have created an air conditioner that works without electricity

A study published this week on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology website details the invention of a passive cooling technique that, if adopted by the general public, would reduce the effects of climate change.

Two cooling devices from MIT
Two cooling devices from MIT

The effects of climate change lead us into a real vicious circle. We particularly feel this during this scorching summer. The higher the temperatures, the better the air conditioning sales and the worse the situation. Scientists are well aware of this paradox. A team at MIT has invented a passive cooling system which, without replacing them, will greatly reduce the use of the air conditioner.

Zhengmao Lu, a member of the research team, details their discovery: “This technology takes best features of known technologiessuch as evaporative cooling and radiant cooling. This combination makes it possible to significantly extend the shelf life of foods, even in areas where humidity, which limits the capabilities of conventional evaporative or radiation cooling systems, is high.” This system encapsulated in a thermal insulator with dimensions close to a sun tile reduces room temperature by 9.3°C without electricity.

Air conditioners that work with little water and without electricity

Currently, the invention only allows food to be stored, and could initially be a good addition to refrigerators. According to MIT, it would allow preserve food up to 40% longers in very wet conditions, and three times more, if the weather is very dry. The long-term goal is to adapt the concept to industrial building air conditioning, which consumes the most energy and is the most destructive to the environment. The researchers estimate that their refrigerator, interconnected with the air conditioning systems already installed, will allow the efficiency of the condensers to be increased, while reducing their water consumption.

The invention shares many points in common with solar panels, but however it is not ready to be marketed. So far, the system has only been tested with a four-inch lateral box on the roof of the university. The price of certain components currently prevents their adoption and adaptation to large structures. Professor Zhengmao Lu says: “The airgel in the upper layer is the only material produced by the laboratory. It requires further development in terms of mass production, and it is impossible to predict how long this development will take before this system can be used on a large scale”.

Font : MIT News

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