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Novel cooling system does not require electricity

The warmer it gets on earth, the more the demand for air conditioning and similar cooling systems is likely to increase. Even today, this is an enormous stress test for the public power grid in many countries. In many Indian states, power outages occur again and again. There are also regions on earth where the public infrastructure has not yet been developed. However, it can get very warm there too. Researchers at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia have therefore now developed a cooling system that works completely without being connected to the public power grid. Specifically, they make use of the fact that water cools down considerably when certain salts are dissolved in it. Through numerous experiments, they found that this effect is most pronounced with ammonium nitrate. Based on this knowledge, they then constructed a two-part cooling process.

Photo: Veronica Moraru / FOLDER 2021

The cooling effect lasts for more than half a day

In a first step, the salt is gradually dissolved in water. This has already been successfully tested in the laboratory. As a result, the temperature of a metal cup filled with water fell from room temperature to just 3.6 degrees Celsius within twenty minutes. The value then remained below the 15 degrees Celsius mark for more than fifteen hours. The cooling effect lasted more than half a day. As soon as the water has reached room temperature again, the second step of the newly developed cooling process begins. Then concentrated sunlight is used to let the water evaporate. Then only the salt crystals remain on the edge of the beaker. These can be used again later for cooling. So if you like, it’s some form of stored solar energy. This in turn enables a closed system at some point in which hardly any salt has to be added from the outside.

A few questions still need to be clarified for practical use

The entire cooling system works without electrical parts and is therefore comparatively easy to construct. Ammonium nitrate is also a widely used raw material that is already used today, among other things, as a fertilizer. The costs are therefore quite low and easy to calculate. The challenge now is to develop a design that enables the new type of cooling to be used in practice. So far, the tests have only taken place under laboratory conditions. The two steps were also carried out separately from each other. Later on, they would have to follow one another more or less automatically. It would also be conceivable to operate several systems in parallel in order to generate a constant cooling effect. In theory it is also possible to control the amount of salt added to the water to allow some form of cooling control. This would make the construction more complex again.

Via: Inceptive Mind

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