An Italian company, specialized in research and development activities devoted to the automotive sector, has started the development of an innovative air conditioning system, featured by a very low electric consumption and environmental effect.
Starting from a granted patent, the ambitious project aims to eliminate both the electric compressor and the high pressure HFCs (Hydrofluorocarbons). HFCs are man-made organic compounds frequently used in air conditioning, that give a relevant contribute to global warming,
The Italian company intends to replace the electric compressor with an absorption heat pump, using a water/ammonia binary fluid. Due to their high energy efficiency, absorption heat pumps are increasingly used in industrial refrigeration systems, supermarkets, etc. They change the state of a binary fluid using heat through a reversible process, that allows a single machine to produce hot or cold air.
Important resulting benefits can be obtained:
- a relevant energy saving, since the absorption heat pump consumption can be a very small percentage (even 5% or less) of the traditional compression cycle with the same refrigeration efficiency, thanks to the possibility of using the heat recovered or produced with the fuel present in the vehicle tank;
- the internal volume of trucks, campers and special vehicles can be air-conditioned both while driving and when parking in a silent way;
- noisy and polluting generators can be avoided.
The Italian company aim is not to get a single product, but to develop an applied technology, from which many other useful applications can be derived.
Some advantages for the end users are:
• trucks: heating and cooling autonomy of many days, compared to the current few hours; it means that the driver will be properly rested and more attentive while driving;
• campers: air conditioning without connection to an electric column or a noisy generator, now also banned in free parking areas; it will no longer be mandatory to go in a camping to have a fresh and livable camper;
• boats: currently boats and yachts have huge polluting generators and are very thirsty to have the electricity for air-conditioning; with the new system they can be at least 10 times less powerful with enormous benefits for the environment and management costs;
• hearth-moving vehicles, ambulances, vehicles dedicated to the police will be able to manage the air conditioning without being tied to the ignition of the vehicle's engine.
Further possible applications for silent and low environmental impact air conditioning are:
• temperature-controlled containers, avoiding high consume of electricity;
• refrigerated trucks, without requiring a heat engine always on;
• summer houses in Nordic countries, cabins, shelters, container houses to be used in areas without electricity; the innovative air conditioning system can be feeded with solar thermal panels or solar concentrators, while the burner can also be powered with LPG/methane as a backup system;
• devices for mobile use with a double power supply system: e.g. campers that cool the passengers compartment using the "free" heat of the exhaust gases when is moving and the burner when is stationary.
The Italian company, whose activity is historically connected to motorhomes and caravan manufacturers production, is developing the new technology within a partnership with important research institutes having deep knowledge and competencies in automotive sector. A possible financial source could also be obtained from Horizon Europe calls.
With the aim to carry on the final development and prototyping of the new air conditioning technology, the Italian company is looking for industrial partners, specialized in manufacturing air conditioning systems for campers, trucks and boats.
The proposed collaboration is based on technical cooperation agreement.