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NUS team has developed a water-based AC that cools air without using harmful refrigerants

Even though everyone impatiently waits for summers, many secretly dread it because the electricity bills aren’t pleasing to the eye.

The air conditioners are in dire need of modification as they consume a lot of electricity at the moment. According to Professor Ernest Chua at National University of Singapore (NUS) over 40% of the energy consumption of a building in the tropics goes to air conditioning. In order to improve these statistics, Professor Ernest led a team to explore alternatives. They have successfully come up with a new air conditioning system that run on water. Yes, you read that right!

The all new water-based air conditioner does not rely on compressors or harmful chemical refrigerants, and can cool air down to 18 degrees Celsius (64.4 degrees Fahrenheit). So, how does this air conditioner work? It is pretty simple. The water acts as the coolant and a novel membrane technology extracts moisture out of the humid air.

This air conditioner has many advantages over the conventional system. For starters, the water-based air conditioner uses 40 percent less electricity which means 40 percent reduction in carbon emissions! Similarly, you will not experience any hot air being released from this system as it discharges a less-humid cold air stream. Coming onto the best part, for every liter of water consumed, 15 liters of drinking water can be generated! Now, you might be wondering if this water is fit for drinking – fun fact: the water harvested by the system is five times purer than Singapore’s tap water. Satisfied? Definitely.

While talking about his new product, Chua said, “Our cooling technology can be easily tailored for all types of weather conditions, from humid climate in the tropics to arid climate in the deserts. While it can be used for indoor living and commercial spaces, it can also be easily scaled up to provide air-conditioning for clusters of buildings in an energy-efficient manner.”

Surprisingly, the production cost of the system is economical. Currently, the team is working towards incorporating smart features such as real-time tracking of energy efficiency or ‘pre-programmed thermal settings based on human occupancy’ as they call it. In addition to this, they are also focusing on making the system more user-friendly and developing collaborations with industry partners in order to make this system commercially available!

We hope they achieve their targets before the set deadlines because summers are only a few months away!

References: National University of Singapore, FuturityInhabitat

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