Researchers claim more efficient heating and cooling system

A new air conditioning and heating system has the potential to turn carbon from an environmental villain to a hero according to the researchers behind the scheme.

Technicians from the University of Warwick have created what they claim to be an entirely new adsorption system, which will also for more effective, smaller and more energy efficient cooling and heating systems.

Announced today (November 11) the system they’ve devised, and filed a patent on, is a new arrangement that distributes thin (typically 0.7mm thick) sheets of metal throughout the active carbon in the heat exchanger.

Each of these sheets contains more than a hundred tiny water channels (typically 0.3mm in diameter) designed to make the heat transfer much more efficient.

This has enabled the Warwick team to create adsorption based equipment that is up to 20 times smaller than was previously possible.

The researchers expect that their new adsorption technology can create domestic heat pumps that will produce a 30% or more reduction in domestic fuel bills (and CO2 emissions) compared to even the best condensing boiler.

He university’s lead researcher on the new technology, professor Bob Critoph, said: “Carbon is usually typecast as a villain in terms of the environment but our research has devised a novel way to miniaturise a technology that will make carbon a key material in some extremely green heating products for our homes and in air conditioning equipment for our cars.

“Most domestic heating and automotive air conditioning requires a lot of energy, domestic space heating and hot water account for 25% of energy consumption in the UK.

“Across the European Union, vehicle air conditioning uses about 5% of the vehicle fuel consumed annually, and within the UK it is responsible for over 2m tonnes of CO2 emissions.”

Luke Walsh

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