HVAC energy efficiency company to help reduce power consumption in chillers
HVAC energy efficiency company Optimum Energy will help manage chiller systems and optimize air conditioner chiller performance with its software.
Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) has launched an effort to replace the mechanical compressors in refrigerators and air conditioners with thermoacoustic compressors. Thermoacoustic compressors essentially compress or expand gases with high-intensity sound waves. Compressing gases generates heat, while letting the gases expand cools things off. Think of the chill that gets created when a carbon dioxide cartridge is suddenly discharged and the gas is allowed to expand.
Mechanical compressors work on the same principle. Mechanical compressors, however, typically only achieve around 12 % of the theoretical maximum. Thermoacoustic compressors can triple (or more) that efficiency rating because of the inherent properties of sound waves.
Thermoacoustic compressors are employed in labs to turn atmospheric gases like nitrogen into extremely chilly liquids. However, that equipment works best in extreme situations and is not particularly efficient or economical for keeping office buildings at 72 F. PARC's breakthrough lay in devising a thermoacoustic device for ambient temperatures.
The company is currently trying to convince utilities to cover the cost of swapping out existing, inefficient air conditioners in certain regions with their units: Ice Energy's Ice Bear units make the ice at night and therefore curb peak power consumption.
Other companies to track:
• Chromasun , a solar-powered air conditioner company founded by Ausra co-founder Peter Le Lievre
• Calmac , a producer of large-scale ice air conditioners
• Coolerado , a novel system that extracts heat with mist via the Maisotsenko Cycle
• Optimum Energy , software for optimizing air conditioner chiller performance
• Anyone with desiccant coolers (a gel that shifts from solid to vapor to eliminate heat).
Read the full article, with links to more information, here .
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Annual Salary Survey
Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.
There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.
But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.
Read more: 2015 Salary Survey